Sports

Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson injuries proof that physical stature means nothing in the NFL


Welcome to Deadspin’s The Sports Nihilist, where all is for naught and we are but accidental jolts of electrified meat stuck to the surface of a rock in an indifferent universe. F*ck you.


Two of the main storylines during the NFL Draft process involved a couple of rookie quarterbacks who now are out a week (or two) with injuries. Scouts wondered if Bryce Young was big enough to play quarterback at the next level, and also marveled at Anthony Richardson’s Adonis-like body. Well, the former Alabama QB and Heisman winner will miss a week or so with a sprained ankle, and the Colts’ first-year starter is sidelined under concussion protocol.

Richardson actually left Indianapolis’ first game late in the final quarter due to knee and ankle soreness — and recklessness. That same fearlessness (naivete?) got him into the endzone twice in Week 2 before the second TD run ended with his head bouncing off the turf-covered concrete, and if you think there is a perfect archetype for NFL quarterback, Richardson is evidence that no amount of physical talent, or rule changes, guarantees a long career.

So if head trauma is this great equalizer, why obsess over stature and an ability to take physical punishment when any QB could go at any point? I would draft Young with the first pick a million times out of a million if given a redo, and if he breaks, there will always be another body to take his spot.

Is it a little nihilistic? Absolutely, but that’s the NFL’s business model. Seven years out of Tua Tagovailoa is better than 15 seasons of Ryan Tannehill. I bet Bill Belichick would trade Mac Jones for Young tomorrow.

Guys like Tom Brady, John Elway, and Patrick Mahomes are anomalies; Jedis walking among us able to navigate small and shifting pockets with human missiles bearing down on them. The rest of the elite guys have a limited amount of tread before eventually getting blindsided by a truck and hauled off on a golf cart.

How many NFL greats at any position were able to go out on their own terms? I’m surprised Jerry Rice can walk upright, to be honest. (Gotta be that Copper Fit.) I mean, if you don’t have a kid or a spouse by 35, you’re technically dead. Procreation is the only purpose, and the more humans there are, the more flesh there is for football.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the Earth has a population crisis on its hands, and the more people we can convince to participate in combat sports, the quicker we can turnover these two tops — metaphorically speaking.

Wouldn’t reservations for death be easier than trying to stave it off? It’s a “You know you only had a day to live” sort of thing, but only you know your expiration date. If someone said you’ve got until 45, I’m playing running back, eating hot wings for breakfast, and mixing in a dash of opioids for good measure. I’m going out early? I’m cramming in as much self-fulfillment as possible.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

I have no clue, but give me some timing, a little moxie, a lot of arm strength, and I’ll give you a beautiful house and a beautiful wife. 

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