Remember early steroid casualty Lyle Alzado? No? I’m not surprised. Everybody from formerly compliant Texas Rangers owner, George W. Bush, on down has their panties in a bunch over steroids in baseball. Meanwhile, the NFL locomotive storms through the universe unscathed and unquestioned and it’s a farce of epic proportions.
When the Chicago Bears won the 1985 Super Bowl, William Perry was something of a phenomenon due to his flabby 300 pound figure. Twenty years later tons of players in the NFL are over 300, but they aren’t playfully chubby like the Fridge they are cut like American Gladiators.
The downside of steroids in baseball has been the destruction of its beloved statistics and records. Baseball lovers, myself included, treat the Baseball Encyclopedia like a bible and the steroid era has blown apart the record books like a bottle of diet Coke filled with Mentos. You used to be able to compare players of different eras fairly well with statistical analysis, until Barry Bonds. Every single player had a career curve that was relatively the same with a peak period followed by a smooth drop off with age. Bonds destroyed that by becoming Superman once he turned 38.
Hey, I understand the disappointment from the effect that steroids have had on baseball, it’s killed a lot of the romance and innocence of the game, but in football people are going to start to die and nobody seems to care.
Simply put, everyone in football is on steroids. Each year bigger and bigger bodies fly into each other with more mass and force, and because it’s entertaining no one seems to care. Football was already a vicious game pre-steroids. Earl Campbell and Dick Butkis can barely walk, and they are the rule not the exception. Now, the sport is little more than a drug fueled cage match.
So compare the two. Baseball players are having longer careers and breaking records. Football players fueled with steroid rage are filling up jails and hospital beds. Quite simply, the human body wasn’t meant to collide at the speeds and masses of the modern NFL and we’ll be seeing the impact on these players in the near future.
Michael Vick is currently in jail for participating in dog fighting. Meanwhile, we all cheer for the human version every Sunday and no one says a word.