Worst Football Injuries of All Time
Football is a physical game. Plain and simple. And that is why we love it!
Football is defined by the mountains of humanity that collide with one another each and every Sunday—the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. Of course, we will stand and cheer for a flashy 80-yard touchdown run, but nothing gets us to our feet faster or gets us cheering louder than a jaw-jarring hit. We take pleasure in watching our team dish out pain and punishment, forcing the opposition to not only fight for, but earn every inch of every yard.
We have come to enjoy the hard hitting so much because we have become accustomed to players simply bouncing right back up with a smile on their face, laughing off the pain. But sometimes, unfortunately, some players just do not bounce right back up. In fact, some are left maimed and broken.
In commemoration of these fallen gridiron titans, I have compiled what I think to be some of the worst football injuries of all time. Now, admittedly, there have been plenty of tragic and gruesome injuries throughout the history of football, so to make this list as scientific and objective as possible I had one criterion: “The Cringe Factor”. Basically, if I had to look away or the description of the injury made me move uneasy in my chair it was duly considered. Now without further ado:
4.) Patrick Edwards, Vs Marshall University, 29 October 2008: We have all walked into a coffee table and banged our shin in the process, and we all know how much that hurts. Now replace walked with run, coffee table with steel service cart, and banged with broken, and then you will have an idea of what Edwards, a WR for the University of Houston, experienced. What makes this play and subsequent injury so bad is that it was not a result of a hard hit or a tackle, but absurd circumstances. Really, what were those service carts doing there? Cringe Factor: 8.5/10 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcqVloclNNI)
3.) Willis McGahee, Vs Ohio State University, 2003 Fiesta Bowl, 3 January 2003: Now, this injury is particularly gruesome and was made worse by the fact that up until the injury, the 2002 season was one of legends for McGahee. An undefeated season with the University of Miami where McGahee set single-season school records for: rushing attempts (282), rushing yards (1,753), rushing and total touchdowns (28), points scored (168), 100-yard rushing games (10), and all purpose yards (2,108). In the 4th quarter of this championship game, McGahee had three major ligaments of his left knee destroyed when Ohio State’s Will Allen ploughed though his leg as if it were not even there. And to add insult to this terrible injury, the 11.5 point favorite Hurricanes ended up losing the game in double overtime 31-24. Cringe Factor: 9.0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92ifz2qqtm8)
2.) Joe Theismann, VS NY Giants, 18 November 1985: Often considered by most to be the worst football injury of all time, and it easy to understand why. It ended Theismann’s career, and oh yeah, his leg was broken in half! The words “mangled” and “messy” are often used to describe Theismann’s injury, but the plain facts are this: He suffered a compound fracture of the tibia, which in simple terms means the bone snapped in two, with one end puncturing through Theismann’s skin, and a shattered fibula—basically the bone was turned into an unsolved jig-saw puzzle. Not only that, but the leg did not even heal properly, leaving his right leg shorter than the left. Cringe Factor: 10/10 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH8SZOqc6Pk)
1.) Napoleon McCallum, Vs San Francisco 49ers, 5 September 1994: McCallum is the definition of an All-American. Playing for the U.S. Naval Academy, he set the NCAA record with 7,172 career all-purpose yards, was a two-time consensus All-American and is Navy’s all-time leading rusher with 4,179 yards. Drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1986, McCallum was not able to play fulltime until 1990, due to his 5-year commitment to the U.S. Navy, and would have his already shortened career ended in the Raiders opening game of the ’94 season. During what appears to be an innocent running play, McCallum is tackled and twisted to the ground by 49ers’ linebacker Ken Norton Jr., but in the process McCallum’s left leg literally exploded: His left knee suffered three torn ligaments, a ruptured artery and nerve damage; he tore both the calf and hamstring muscles from the bone, and experienced a complete hyperextension of his left knee. Needless to say, the video is not for the squeamish, but if you do watch it, you will know why its Cringe Factor is off the charts. Cringe Factor: 11/10 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ8yOie0BY8&feature=PlayList&p=2F169B06E12BB27D&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=5)