When I was in Cleveland last week, my sister and I agreed that one of the best things about football is the physicality of the game. There’s just nothing quite like the sound of pads colliding, that pop that rings out as a player tries to impose his will on an opponent. No one can dispute that Atari Bigby’s punishing hits on Seattle’s receivers were highlights in the 2007 divisional playoff game. They were thrilling, and we watched them again and again. But reality sinks in when, in extolling the rush that comes with a particularly hard hit, we have to add a caveat: “so long as it’s clean and no one gets hurt.”
There's only been one regular season game, and already, the rolls of players lost for the 2009 season are already filling up. We've been hearing all week that the marquee matchup between the Bears and Steelers is marred by significant injuries to All-Pro S Troy Polamalu (lost for 6 weeks) and LB Brian Urlacher (lost for season). The standard doomsday questions abound: are the Steelers in danger of losing their spot atop the AFC North? (If they are, it's not because of this.) Will this mean the Bears and Jay Cutler will run wild? (Highly unlikely.) With Urlacher out, are the Bears still Super Bowl contenders? (No, Peter King, but they never really were.) Will the Bears' misery ever end? (Oh, I hope not.)
Well, now there's news coming out of San Diego today that Chargers DT Jamal Williams has been placed on injured reserve with a triceps injury. Like the Packers, the Chargers run a 3-4 defensive scheme, and an injury to the big man in the middle is going to put the Chargers in an even tougher spot than they already were going into this week's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."