If Packers Were Ponies

Yesterday I pointed out that that several NFL players would have to die each year during games for professional football to be as deadly as Thoroughbred horse racing is for the horses that race.

I underestimated.

Michael asked our local experts – the Green Bay Packers – if they could give us the actual data we needed to turn my estimate into a more accurate comparison. Since they are nicest team in the USA, (as well as the best – Go Pack!) they dug out the exact data that we needed.

Have I mentioned how nice the Packers are?

So – how deadly is professional football compared to Thoroughbred horse racing?

If the National Football League had the same fatality rate for their players during the regular season as racehorses have during races, more than 50 NFL football players would die each year from injuries sustained during games.

More than fifty deaths?

Football would get banned.

The individual Michael spoke to at the Packers office, btw, said that the only game-related player fatality in the NFL that he could personally remember occurred back in 2001, and it didn’t actually occur during a game: a Vikings team member died of heat stroke during a practice.

It’s time for the Thoroughbred racing industry to clean up its act. Provide cash incentives for longevity and soundness. Require synthetic surfaced tracks – which have already cut the fatality rate in half where they’ve been installed. And stop rewarding the genetics of greed.