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Chris Richardson
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Chris Richardson

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From all reports, the life of an NFL coach is one of long hours, as these weary, "leaders of men" look for any competitive advantage they can gain. You'd be fooling if you think such that search doesn't include controlling the message about the health of their team, and/or specific players. Just ask Eric Mangini and the New York Jets, who were just fined $125,000 because of their lack of information concerning Brett Favre's bicep.

Had the organization been more forthcoming about Favre, they would've avoided punishment, but at what cost? Who benefits from extensive injury information? Opposing teams and those that set the gambling lines. Fans, expect those that bet or play fantasy football, gain no benefit from learning Player X's ankle might be more severely sprained than it first looked. Granted, it might impact the level of support -- a fan might temper their expectation if they know their star player is ailing -- but that's not why this information is kept under lock and key. In fact, if it weren't for the NFL's rules concerning player injuries, it's doubtful coaches would reveal anything about their teams.

And why should they?

What benefit does it have if your opponent knows that your superstar running back has shoulder injuries? Such information only gives a competitive advantage to opposing coaches. If an organization is protecting their player -- that is, not putting them at risk by falsely representing an injury to keep the player on the field -- I see no problem with being secretive about the kind of information a team reveals.

Of course, Roger Goodell and company do, but that's because such information, or the lack thereof, impacts their bottom line, at least in respect to the gambling industry. Injuries are a part of the NFL game, and in some cases, they make the NFL's story all the more interesting. See Tom Brady and the amount of coverage his injury and subsequent return garnered. Would the NFL have made such a big deal out of Monday's Buffalo/New England game if it didn't feature the return of the Patriots' star quarterback?

From a coaches' perspective, it makes perfect sense for them to be vague concerning injuries. Giving an opponent a sense of uncertainty provides a competitive advantage. Conversely, being forthcoming only benefits opponents and the odds makers.

By Chris Richardson  |  September 18, 2009; 11:03 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre , Medical , New York Jets , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I agree with this. No reason to give away anymore information than is absolutely necessary. Well said

Posted by: kstatle | September 19, 2009 2:41 PM

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