NEW YORK (September 4, 2013) – INSIDE THE NFL kicks off its season six premiere with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Namath and Jim Kelly as special guest analysts tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. Namath and Kelly join host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to cover the league’s hottest topics going into the season opening game tomorrow night.
Plus, CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco sits down for an in-depth discussion on the NFL concussion settlement and the fall-out from his controversial article on the topic.
Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week. New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.
INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.
INSIDE THE NFL is produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films. The executive producers are Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports, Ross Ketover and Pat Kelleher of NFL Films. Pete Radovich Jr., the Emmy Award-winning Creative Director for CBS Sports, serves as coordinating producer.
Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:
On the NFL Concussion Settlement…
PRISCO: Here is the thing. I am glad the guys that need the money are getting it. I just don’t think you can prove that the NFL was at fault here. If you look at everything, the big body of work, how many guys had concussions in grade school, high school, all the way up through college? And how do you prove that the NFL is the reason that they are having the problems that they do? That was why I wrote the column.
NAMATH: The NFL is responsible, to a major extent, because whenever you get guys hit in the head, especially in the last 10 years… When I was playing we didn’t know from concussions. We knew smelling salts and that was it. No one talked concussions. But in the last 10 years these guys knew the pain to the head was problematic. And some of these doctors on the sidelines are more concerned, maybe, with pleasing the coach and getting the guy back on the field right away. I know that. I believe that. And I know that. I think that there is a problem in the NFL. I think that they are getting away with something with this settlement. I think it should be for much more. And it’s not actually been agreed on yet by Judge (Anita) Brody. She has got to approve the thing.
SIMMS: The NFL did the right thing because, yeah, they might not have known 30 years ago. They didn’t. I think they didn’t know. But as we learn, you’ve got to do the right thing and, unfortunately, maybe it is not enough money. Some people think it is not enough. I don’t know all that yet. We’ll see how it works out. But fortunately they were able to financially help people because there are a lot of ex-players, you think about practice. The hitting in practice was worse than the games. When I played with the Giants we scrimmaged basically every day. The linebackers, the linemen, were always hitting. I’m glad at least they have the money to rectify some of these situations.
COLLINSWORTH: I’ll tell you, the NFL has to be celebrating this settlement because this effectively sort of makes this whole thing go away. This was the one issue, if anything could have killed the golden goose, it is this issue. The thing I am concerned about is that we don’t attack this issue the way that we would if this case had gone forward. If there were a lot of discovery. If there were witnesses that had to take the stand. I think we would have gotten a much greater understanding of the concussion issue at the end of this. Now the NFL can kind of say, ‘Okay, we’re good now. Let’s move forward.’
PRISCO: You mean the smoking gun. The smoking gun being, did they know and hide information that these concussions down the road could cause problems? And if the smoking gun is there, then it is dangerous for the game and the game might go away.
COLLINSWORTH: And there were documents written under the byline of the National Football League and there are doctors, that when you read them in light today, sort of like reading the smoking cases back in the day, you go, ‘This is the dumbest thing I have ever read in my life.’ And yet that was what was sort of the understanding that they were talking to players about. I think this is a huge win for the NFL.
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