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'Football as you know it is over'

Is the hard-hitting game of football about to change forever?

The recent murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher along with a study linking head trauma with long-term brain disease are prompting some of the biggest names in broadcasting to forecast an end to the sport.

“I’m telling you right now, football as you know it is over. It’s only a matter of time. It’s finished,” said Rush Limbaugh, the radio host who for a brief time was a football analyst for ESPN.

“You start listening to the people talk about the negatives of the game. It creates aberrant behavior. There’s too much drinking. People are shooting people because of the concussions, it’s altering minds. It’s just becoming too dangerous and we as a society are becoming too bloodthirsty in wanting it. And I’m just telling you, I’m giving you a forecast, not tomorrow, I don’t know when, but it’s over.  That’s the direction that we are trending.”

Veteran NBC sportscaster Bob Costas appeared Monday night on CNN to discuss problems in the National Football League, and was asked if the league is at a breaking point.

“I don’t know if it approaches crisis,” Costas said. “Perhaps it does, but it’s at a crossroads because there’s an issue about the fundamental nature of the game. It’s so popular and so profitable, but it takes a tremendous toll on many of those who play it. Not just body, but as we’re now learning, mind and emotions.

“And it’s a legitimate question to ask whether, for some players at least, the toll that the game takes, brain trauma, medications that they may take, enhance performance or deal with pain, all those things. The culture of the league increases the likelihood of abhorrent behavior. It’s possible.”

Limbaugh reacted to Costas’ remarks by saying, “They’re going to guilt us into taking too much pleasure from watching this bloodshed and these young men destroy themselves. And wait ’til they throw the race angle in there which will happen, too.”

Time Magazine recently reported that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has considered the elimination of  kickoffs during football games to cut down on neck injuries.

That prompted radio host and former “Monday Night Football” analyst Dennis Miller to suggest a complete overhaul of the game.

“I think we should reboot this whole thing,” Miller said on his radio show Monday. “I think American football should be shut down by Congress. And I think they should build a new game so people who, and players too, I’ll be candid with you –I know a few players who think that it’s gotten so crazy and so politically correct and so out of its way and you can’t touch a quarterback, now they’re not happy with it.”

Miller continued, “Come up with a new game where people aren’t constantly thinking, ‘Oh my God. They are just contorting themselves to get around the fact that it is an innately violent game.'”

It’s not just professional football that’s apparently being targeted.

On Sunday, Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham suggested tackle football be banned for all players under the age of 14.

“Because of the way they’re built, players under 14 are sitting ducks when it comes to head trauma,” Abraham wrote.

“Their brains don’t contain as much myelin – the protein that insulates and protects nerve fibers – as adults. While their heads are almost fully grown, their bodies are much smaller and weaker, creating a ‘bobble-head’ effect: Their necks just aren’t strong enough to protect them. Kids also aren’t as well coordinated as adults, and have slower reaction times, so they’re less able to evade hits, or brace themselves.”

Limbaugh says he has seen the same leftist strategy for the past 25 years.

“I know how they accomplish things,” he explained, noting some kind of “fix” is usually offered, no matter the issue.

“The fix is an ever-growing governing body with ever more power to regulate whatever is deemed harmful, dangerous, risky – including capitalism, which is deemed to be the riskiest thing by people. ‘Why, you’re risking everything you’ve got! Why, people risk everything they’ve got investing in this or investing in that. It’s not something that people should be doing. We need people taken care of so that they never lose anything, so no one gets hurt playing football, so they never get hurt in a car, so we don’t destroy the planet with global warming.'”