OPENING HIT: The talk across football now is concussions and within all of that is the idea of the NFL putting neurologists on every sideline for every game. It's a brilliant idea but is it actually feasible?
It probably is but would still be a huge logistical and philosophical undertaking. Let's take opening weekend as an example.
There were 16 games opening weekend (there would obviously be less as byes worked into the schedule as the season progressed). You could have one neurologist per stadium. Or if the league really wanted to cover all of its players they could have one on each sideline.
There are thousands of brain docs so the numbers would be easy to do. They might cost $25,000 a year plus administrative and travel expenses, an expert said, or possibly more -- a small amount for a $9 billion league.
Those are the easy parts. The biggest problem will be incorporating a neurologist's philosophy with that of a professional football team. If the league does this football will be all in. I mean, all in. It would drastically change the sport.
That's because a sideline brain specialist wouldn't care about politcs or if a team was in a playoff push. They would be truly indepedent and remove suspected cases from the game. Period. Then, in working with another indepedent specialist, could keep players out for days or weeks.
These doctors, in many ways, would instantly become some of the most powerful people in football. They could alter seasons, careers -- everything. And they wouldn't give a damn what fans or players think of them. They would approach it with a cold reality with only player safety in mind.
Of course, that would be a great thing. It would keep players safer but I think one reason the league and union have been moving on that front cautiously is because they know the potential outcome. Independent specialists could drastically alter the sport.
Having them is the right thing to do but any assumption it would be easy is a wrong one.