Hines Ward, Super Bowl XL's MVP was still a prime athlete & at the peak of his career ... but his brain no longer functioned at the level necessary to be able to play in the NFL. On an NFL field there are so many eyes that evaluate your every move and it's not just the coaches. People tend to forget that the players like themselves are also evaluating every move that you make. Players try to hide or disguise everything, but one thing is for certain. After that first NFL opening season game, just about every player is trying to conceal the punishment & the nicks acquired along the way.
It is quite easy to conceal a misfiring brain injury, not because you can't see it ... it's because you don't really know what your looking at. It is misdiagnosed. He did something stupid, or his reaction time was just slow enough to give up the edge. It's funny how we equate physical skills to football soundness ... all with misfiring pistons rumbling through those heads. They call it being a step slow but it has nothing to do with any physical trait. Even as a small boy, we would lament, that guy is stupid, never truly understanding the damaged matrix.
Coaches, like teachers, measure everything, and then they point the finger at someone else stating that what you are doing is going to damage that child or that player for life. It's almost comical. Coaches are on top of everything. What do your run in the 40 ... Can you catch the ball ... how quickly can you get in and out of your brakes ... etc? In regard to brain injury, somehow they have no adequate measure ... although they clearly know something is wrong. For some, that players reaction time may be off by 0.1 to 0.2 seconds but how would that coach know if that player is still football sound & ready to play versus being 6 months to 2 years from blowing their brains out. The problem exacerbates itself when befuddled by a unquestioned present physical skill set, compounded by the time investment getting that player into making veteran-like decisions. Quite a dilemma.
Whilst cutting open veins, releasing the vital purple stuff time & again, I always pondered exactly what this franchise would be willing to do to Pierce the Veil. My first thought, of course was, could I live with myself. Imagine having to carry the taint of three cheating Patriots Super Bowl victories or having the burden of carrying the disesteem of the New Orleans Saints Bounty-Gate. Having trekked such a long journey with this franchise ... and it's men ... the most important thing that I learned was it is more important to carry respect & dignity than it is to have a piece of hardware on my proverbial finger. Now the balance has all changed without having to give up either respect, dignity or my soul.
Now don't get me wrong, there is true Berserker Rage & Berserker Fury deeply embedded within this soul ever since the death of my childhood on December 28, 1975. The scent of it, being carried upon the brethren like that 1,000 yard stare ... it is quite easy to see. Each & every year the fury only deepens being perpetually tortured as the Warm Up Horse ... year after painful year. However, there is always one reoccurring theme ... under no circumstance shall respect, pride and the distinguished journey be compromised ... all of which has been carefully passed on to that next generation. These things will always be something that Christian Ponder shall never understand. Every true Viking knows that it can only be answered and fashioned by the gods ... Perseus ... the embodiment that is Joe Webb ... that is pure of heart, mind & soul. There is only one glaring problem with this team ... it is reoccurring ... and it is quite obvious.
Now, it is all within our grasp. It being somewhat analogous to the Super Bowl IV commercial where the Kansas City Chiefs feasted upon Gator Aid, gaining one of many ever so important edges over my beloved Vikings. So, you might be wondering how important is this event. Think back to the statement, "There shall be such a cry throughout the land ,,,", regarding to the slaying of the first born, to get some idea of its magnitude. Imagine having a team with full tanks ... week after week ... all while knowing that it exist nowhere else. Sort of like the arrival of 12th man upon a north wind as the sun set upon the Met. All while the Horned Berserkers chanted ... Odin ... Odin! What manner of men are these? It all comes from just having a sharp eye & much better judgment. Like selecting the very best draft picks year after year without ever hearing the words... Ponder ... Reach ... BUST!
Now just imaging the time investment in just one player. What would this franchise pay to have a player restored within 8 weeks, especially knowing that each and every year we have an off season. Kind of boggles the mind.
The only question is, "Do these players deserve the very best or don't they?"
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 17, 2012