The Many Views of Troy Aikman

By Noah Davis 

In the latest installment of Slate’s epic playoff discussion – seriously, read the entire thing when you get an hour or so – Steven Fastis takes on Troy Aikman for not doing enough to bring awareness to the concussion issues. As the former Denver Broncos kicker writes:

Aikman’s bogus rationale for his nothing-to-see-here approach was exposed recently by Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who noticed that Aikman, during Fox’s Dec. 26 broadcast of the Packers-Giants game, was quiet on the subject of Aaron Rodgers playing in his first game after concussion No. 2 of the season. Aikman told Wolfley that he shouldn’t be “the poster boy for head injury” because, at age 44, he hasn’t experienced any short-term memory loss. He added that he doesn’t want to talk about concussions on the air because he doesn’t know what a specific player is actually feeling. (Um, Troy, your on-field experience is the only reason you get to “analyze” games.)

Fatsis correctly notes that Aikman, ridiculously, ignores the obvious despite having at least 10 concussions to call his own. Head injuries forced him to retire, yet he won’t discuss them in the broadcast booth.

Which is interesting, because Aikman was one of the cooler heads in the whole Jay Cutler narrative.The Super Bowl-winning quarterback defended the Bears unloved star. Aikman told The New York Times Richard Sandomir, “When I left the booth, I was talking to one of the guys and said, ‘As soon as you say he could have come back and played, you’ll read in the paper the next day that it’s a blown-out knee.”

While the rest of the NFL was ripping Cutler apart for quitting on this team, Aikman offered a smart, opinionated, and ultimately correct, take. If only he could do the same thing with concussions.