Death of Football: Dueling Tipping Points

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Gregg Doyel of has one of those death-of-football ruminations. Doyel adds nothing new, but he’s writing for, so go read

“What would be the tipping point?” Doyel writes. “I can imagine it.”

A popular player — I’m thinking of a particular guy, but don’t want to name him — gets destroyed by a hit to the head and has to retire, then lives his death right before our eyes. You think it can’t happen? It already has, with Webster and Mackey and more, too many more. And it will happen again.

I can imagine the day when a U.S. politician makes like John McCain in 1996, when McCain took on the UFC, only this time the politician decries football as “human cockfighting.” I can imagine the day when a handful of high schools stop offering football for safety reasons, liability reasons, even lack-of-interest reasons.

I can’t imagine the death of football, no.

But give me another decade or two. Ask me again.

Here’s how I put it in the introduction to my ebook UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero:

As footballers of all ages, and at all levels of informed consent, continue to get maimed and killed for our uninterrupted panem et circenses, the problem with high-minded commentary is that it is all too high-minded. Sure, we don’t know what the concussion tipping point will be. But I, for one, have a vision of what it could be: for example, a three-time champion quarterback murdering his supermodel wife on the 50-yard line at halftime of the Super Bowl – and taking out the intermission song-and-dance act along with her.

Of course, just to ruminate in such a fashion is deemed in extremely poor taste. By contrast, one presumes, the natural ebb and flow of today’s violent sports spectacles combine the visual splendor of Rembrandt, the wit of Molière, and the compositional brilliance of Shostakovich.

Now cue the song “Dueling Banjos” from the movie Deliverance.


Irv Muchnick

UPMC: Concussion Scandal Ground Zero is available on Amazon Kindle at, or as a PDF file by sending $1.49 via PayPal to

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick