I found this very interesting article from Courant.com today which also had some good quotes from Coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick mentions why players such as Tom Brady can be excused from training camp.
“I think Tom’s level and his standard is pretty special,” Belichick said. “I don’t think I would put too many people in Tom’s category. That’s not being disrespectful to anybody, but I think Tom is exceptional.”
Belichick talks about how football used to be when he was younger.
“I can go back to when I was a kid and I went to camp with my dad [a former Navy assistant and scout],” Belichick said. “We went to the Colts’ camp down in Western Maryland. We went to the Dolphins’ camp down in Boca. We went to the Bengals’ camp when Paul Brown was out there. We went to the Browns’ camp at Hiram.”
“The big difference in those camps was the length of them. My first year in the league , we went to training camp July 5. We had six preseason games and we opened Sept. 21. We had three scrimmages with the Redskins. Three scrimmages, six preseason games, we hadn’t played an NFL game yet, and that is longer than any college season that I had been involved in. It was a long haul and the season hadn’t even started yet. Six preseason games, that’s like half a season, but you didn’t have some of the offseason and minicamps and passing camp and things like that that we have now.”
“When we went to training camp at Baltimore, two-a-days, it went from July 5 until the middle of August,” Belichick said. “It was like six weeks of two-a-days. I look at the two-a-days in the league now and it’s like six, seven or eight days. … These guys have no concept of what training camp was 30 years ago.”
“When I was with the Giants, I remember years when we never one time went out in shorts. … Even Friday practice was shoulder pads. … We practiced on the [artificial] turf every single day. Now, teams practice on the turf two or three times and [it’s as if] the players are never going to be able to walk again because of the turf. … We practiced on the turf every single day and won a Super Bowl. So I don’t know. I wish I had a better answer for it, but I don’t. It’s kind of an evolution. It’s a train that I haven’t been able to stop or even redirect.”
I was a little surprised to see this article today, as I was just thinking about how it seems the players are getting bigger and stronger, but more players nowadays miss more games for minor injuries then ever. Maybe we need to go back to the older days when they played almost a half of season worth of games before the season started. Players are getting paid way more then they did 40 years ago, but they play less games, and wear a lot more pads. So why are they missing more an more games due to injury?