Trust me, good people - concussions notwithstanding - an expanded NFL postseason and an 18-game regular season are inexorable. Oh, sure, the players union will balk and some sports columnists will protest, but the league wants it and the fans want it and undeniably it will make more money for more people, and, last time I checked, America was built on the notion of making more money for more people.
Will the quality of play suffer? Likely. Will more players get hurt? Of course. But players are interchangeable parts, and the bottom line is: We want as many Sundays of football that matters, preferably with the biggest stars intact. Even though we'll watch anybody in uniform - see NFL replacement games, 1987 - it is more enjoyable if Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson and Tony Gonzalez are suited up.
But as we approach midseason, players keep getting banged up. Just last week, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (torn ACL), Falcons receiver Julio Jones (foot), Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) and Panthers guard Amini Silatolu (torn ACL) were lost for the season. Michael Vick (hamstring) and Clay Matthews (thumb) were also sidelined.
When the NFL extends its season, the casualties will grow - unless we take measures now.
This is as clear as climate change.
We can deny the science, continue adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and watch the Earth spiral into apocalyptic extremes, which will spoil a lot of weekend plans for a lot of people.
Similarly, we can deny the reality of our most brutal team sport, let the athletes keep smashing each other into physical ruins and watch the NFL wither, which will spoil even more weekend plans for even more people.
We need to protect our resources, both natural and LSU-made.
Fans don't come to the games to see players get hurt. At least I don't think they do; the NFL isn't "Rollerball" - yet. But nobody wants flag football. We accept the violence and probably delight in it.
(Column Intermission: From Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's letter to "Redskins Nation" on the team name: "I respect the opinions of those who disagree." No you don't. "I want them to know that I do hear them." No you don't. "I will continue to listen and learn." No you won't.)
In fact, in a nation that stockpiles weapons, I'm surprised the NFL does not mirror our gun culture and permit limited firearms on the field. Combining the best aspects of pro football and paintball, you could allow one defensive player - logically, the safety - to carry a weapon. Let's say Robert Griffin III streaks down the sideline on a scramble; from across the gridiron, the safety could fire a shot and stop him from reaching the end zone.
Medicine is so advanced these days, the bullet could be removed from Griffin's leg at halftime, and he'd be good to go by the third quarter!
Or, as an alternative, I would arm the quarterback - and the quarterback only - and enact "Stand Your Ground" laws in NFL backfields. Let's see how many sacks J.J. Watt gets when Jay Cutler is packing a Glock 21.
I'm just kidding, folks.
Anyway, I believe Peyton Manning could work 1,000 straight days on an oil rig and sit in an isolation tank for an additional 1,000 hours, then still walk onto an NFL field and, without a single warm-up throw, complete 26 of 32 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns.