Is there an Aaron Rodgers “concussion-gate” controversy brewing?
Contrary to popular belief, we’re not doctors here at The A.V. Club, so we have no way of knowing what really happened to Aaron Rodgers after Julius Peppers of the Bears brained him with his helmet in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game. We’re inclined to take Rodgers at his word that he’s okay, a point reiterated today by Peter King in Sports Illustrated, who credits No. 12’s special helmet for preventing the quarterback’s third concussion this season. Still, not everyone is convinced, including Shawn Doherty of Madison’s The Capital Times, who says there’s a “conspiracy of silence” about Rodgers’ condition:
After all the attention paid to concussions in the NFL this season, after all the recent Congressional testimony about long-term brain damage football players can get from the sport, and after all the drama over Rodgers suffering two concussions and getting pulled out of one game and missing the next last fall, why haven’t there been more questions about what most of us saw Sunday, even if some of us don’t want to admit it?
I’m talking about how Rodgers looked and acted right after Bears defensive end Julius Peppers’ illegal helmet-to-helmet whack to his head. Rodgers was woozy and wobbling about with dazed eyes. If you didn’t notice he was wobbling, surely you noticed his football was wobbling. His magic was gone for the rest of the game. He couldn’t even hit the mark with a couple of short passes.
Rodgers certainly didn’t seem like himself after the game, but it’s possible to be a little woozy without having a concussion. Still, for a league (and fan base) supposedly concerned about the health of its players, perhaps it would’ve been safer to take Rodgers out. Of course, not having 300-pound men slam into each other for three hours would probably be the safest option of all. A safety discussion about an inherently unsafe game presents a slippery slope that our culture isn’t ready to deal with now, with the Super Bowl upon us, and all of these snacks ready to be eaten.