Football is violent. It’s part of the allure of the game. A fast paced, highly charged game of gladiator chess where the players put their bodies through hell for the enjoyment of us all. It’s inevitable that these athletes will suffer injuries throughout the course of a grueling season. Every year, fans and players alike must deal with these injuries. The pain of injury and the hard work that goes into recovering from those injuries is something that fans can’t even imagine, but that doesn’t mean we don’t suffer too.
Some years are worse than others as far as injuries and 2017 has turned out to be one of, if not the most, gruesome for player injuries in the NFL on record. Players have been robbed of the opportunity to pursue their livelihood and fans have been robbed of the big plays and quality football that these players produce. These big injuries have flipped the league on it’s head and some of the most electrifying players in the NFL have been left on the sidelines. They have come early and often and left heads around the league spinning in an attempt to keep up as the body count rises. Let’s look at some of the big injuries this year.
The insurmountable losses
Embed from Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers has once again proved himself to be the most valuable player in the NFL. Yet this year it wasn’t his actions on the field that proved that already accepted fact of life, but his (potentially) season ending collarbone injury. The subtraction of Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers changes the team in a way that can’t even begin to be described. Brett Hundley has shown some growth in his weeks as a starter in place of Rodgers, but unlike the discount double dick, Hundley, cannot single-handily mask the holes in the Packers roster. Because of that, the Packers, who still hold a winning record at this point of the season, are doomed.
When the Houston Texans selected former Clemson standout and National Championship winning quarterback, Deshaun Watson, with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, I thought it was a very nice pick for a franchise that has never, in its existence, had a true star under center. Little did I (or anyone else) know that Watson would hit the ground running in such a fashion. Watson appeared in 7 games for the Texans and completed 61.8% of his passes for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also ran the ball for another 269 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Texans were finally legit and and had found their QB of the future. Then a torn ACL in practice cut the legs out from under his rookie season and along with losses of JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus, the Texans are looking at another lost season.
David Johnson and Carson Palmer
When David Johnson went down with a broken wrist early in the Arizona Cardinals opening game loss to the Detroit Lions, it was clear that the Cardinals had a long road ahead of them. Johnson is among the best young running backs in football and an invaluable part of the Cardinals offensive attack, but luckily for the Cardinals they still had an offensive mastermind of a coach and an injury to your starting running back can be overcome. When Carson Palmer went down with a broken bone in his non-throwing arm during the 33-0 loss to the LA Rams in London, it was clear that the Cardinals had careened off that long road and gone over a cliff. Without the two best offensive players and the likes of Drew Stanton throwing the ball, it is a sad reality that Bruce Arians final year as head coach of the team will be a wasted one.
Ouch, that hurts
Odell Beckham Jr
Embed from Getty Images
With Eli Manning still throwing the ball this offense was never going to light the world on fire. Manning is well past his prime and no wide receiver, even one of the same caliber as Beckham was going to change that. But OBJ went down with a season ending ankle injury in week 5 everyone knew the Giants were screwed. The G-Men are now 1-8 and destined for a top pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and perhaps a new head coach. OBJ can’t come back soon enough.
Ryan Tannehill leaves a whole lot to be desired as the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins but he is still a starting level quarterback and the best one in Miami by a longshot. When he was lost for the season before it even began, the team got desperate and went out and signed Jay Cutler out of the broadcast booth. He has since been about as good as one would expect. Cutler has helped lead the team to a 4-5 record and Dolphins fans are eagerly awaiting any and all news on Ryan Tannehill rehab from ACL surgery.
Dalvin Cook and Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford was brought in last year after Teddy Bridgewater’s very serious knee injury, and he has played pretty well. But he hasn’t been able to stay on the field and Case Keenum has performed admirably in his absence. Now, more than a year later, Bridgewater’s return seems somewhat immenent and Bradford’s inability to stay on the field isn’t all that much of a concern. Much more of a concern is the injury to rookie running back, Dalvin Cook. Before he tore his ACL in the game against the Lions he was having a monster year. Luckily the Vikings defense is good enough keep them competing for the NFC North title.
Embed from Getty Images
The Chicago Bears passing game has been desperate for competent pass catchers all season. The Mike Glennon experiment failed miserably and now they have rookie Mitchel Trubisky throwing the ball. One of Trubisky’s only decent targets was tight end Zach Miller but then a gruesome injury ended his season and almost caused him to lose his leg entirely. The Bears offense is now all but doomed this season but the real tragedy is that Miller’s career may well be over. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Well, that’s unfortunate
Dont’a Hightower and Julian Edelmen
It’s the Patriots. They’ll survive.
Embed from Getty Images
The Browns were never going to do anything this season and at this point they are in the running for an 0-16 record, but you never want to see a future hall of fame player go down with a serious injury. Especailly when he’s been so loyal to that city and been such an iron man. Prior to this tricep injury, Thomas had played a NFL-record 10,363 consecutive snaps, while playing through torn ligaments for a time and starting 167 straight games. Good on the Browns for giving him an extension even after the injury and making him the highest paid offensive linemen in the league.
Eric Berry is, and should be, a fan favorite around the NFL. Even with Raiders fans. You can’t help but love this guy’s story and his courage as he beat cancer and came back to the NFL to regain his spot among the best safeties in pro football. That made it even more of a bummer when he ruptured his achilles tendon in week 1. He’s just 28-years-old so there’s no reason he can’t make a full recovery, but the Chiefs defense sure has missed him while he’s been gone.
It’s a long season, and we are only at week 11. There’s no telling how many more injuries will come before the Super Bowl. No doubt there will be some, but there has certainly already been enough to hold us all over until next here. Here’s to hoping that all of our favorite teams can make it through the rest of the year unscathed.