The divisional round of the NFL playoffs has once again brought us to the forefront of a very important issue in the game of football; concussions. Lasts Saturday, Lamar Jackson was put into concussion protocol late in the third quarter and was held out of the rest of the game. His team, Baltimore, ultimately lost and was eliminated from the playoffs by the Buffalo Bills.
On Sunday, in the third quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs win over the Cleveland Browns, Patrick Mahomes was also put into concussion protocol. He never returned to the game and his backup, veteran Chad Henne, held the lead, enabling the Chiefs to advance in the playoffs. Now the question is – will Mahomes be cleared to play in this weekend’s AFC Championship game? He likely will by all reports.
Concussions are a continuing talking point for many health reasons and they’ve come under the spotlight again in anticipation of the AFC Conference Championship.
Here are a few takes:
Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk (NBC Sports)
- Ever since the league put concussion protocols in place, team doctors must clear players and doctor unaffiliated with the team must also give them clearance. The league wants to avoid public claims that it’s all about the best chance to win and nothing more. The NFL wants to present a better and more caring face about health considerations for the purposes of sustainability. Florio said: “I don’t want any pressure, I don’t want any expectation. I want the protocol to play itself out. And there will be pressure on the independent neurologists because this is important, to the league, to have Patrick Mahomes on the field this weekend.” Florio wants the NFL to improve its image for protecting players’ health, even if that means a star player might miss this weekend’s huge game.
Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated
- Orr saw this past weekend’s treatment of two star players who were deemed in the concussion protocol as a small stepping stone for the NFL. “The NFL’s approach to injury prevention is far from perfect, but perhaps we might consider this weekend as a significant benchmark in how we police head injuries in the NFL and how we all understand our role in perpetuating the machismo, hero culture that compounded so many of these head injuries in the past.”
Colin Cowherd – The Herd of Fox Sports
- Media members and sports personalities have discussed the possibility of Mahomes being unable to play but Cowherd came up with a preposterous idea that drew some attention this week. “We want Mahomes against Josh Allen, right?” Cowherd said. “That’s reasonable. And I’m sitting here this morning thinking if I’m the NFL, Patrick Mahomes is going through protocol. I find the day Patrick Mahomes can play – that’s when we play, why not?” said Cowherd. I guess Cowherd expects the world to stop and wait, television, fans, advertisers, lodging entities.
Adam Schein of CBS Sports
- Schein on Sunday’s likely quarterback matchup between Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes: “Josh Allen has the mentality for going up against Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City……There is ZERO percent chance Kansas City beats Buffalo with Chad Henne…With Patrick Mahomes,I still think Buffalo is going to win.”
Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News on the coaching matchup Tampa Bay vs. Green Bay
- “Bruce Arians has won lot of games with different teams at age 68. Matt LaFleur, 27 years his junior at 41, has developed his own reputation as one of the game’s sharpest offensive minds and in two years leading Green Bay. He’s done good situational work without any egregious mistakes. Arians’ teams can tend to get undisciplined at times and between him, Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles, they can get too aggressive at the wrong times. Advantage: Packers
CBS NFL analyst and ex- NFLer Bryant McFadden on Patrick Mahomes playing concussed:
- “If Pat Mahomes is cleared to play, trust me, I’ve been concussed a few times in my career, when they say you’re cleared, you’re still not cleared. It’s almost like having that bigger brother in your house and he’s always hitting you in your head when he’s walking by and now you flinch because you think he’s going to hit you, that’s the same affect when you get concussed. Anytime someone’s around you just flinch because you don’t want to go thru the same heals that you went thru when you got concussed.”
Phil Mushnick, New York Post, columnist on Moose Johnston, Fox’ analyst on Rams-Green Bay game:
- “That game was so visually self-evident it didn’t need an analyst, yet Johnston drowned it in talk — several times, to make sure he killed it.”
Sun 1/24, 3:00 PM ET, NFC Championship, FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Westwood One, radio/SiriusXM: Kevin Harlan and Kurt Warner
Sun 1/24, 6:30 PM ET, AFC Championship, CBS, Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Westwood One, radio /SiriusXM: Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli