The Pittsburgh Steelers had been eliminated from the 2014 National Football League Playoffs and within minutes afterwards, safety Mike Mitchell announced that he’d played most of the season with a torn groin.
Yes, I just reached for my crotch in pain as well…
Yesterday morning, news out of Denver was that Peyton Manning had played the last month of the season with a torn quad muscle.
Injuries in the NFL are as mysterious as aliens and Bigfoot himself. Tom Brady was once on the injury report every week for what seemed like a full decade. Whether or not anything was actually wrong with him is unknown but highly doubtful since amazingly he played in all of those games.
It’s always interesting to hear players suddenly start talking about injuries they’ve been fighting through because 99 times out of 100 the general public doesn’t know anything about the injuries until the season has ended and ended with a loss.
In Mitchell’s case, the overwhelming response from the Steelers’ faithful was one of total doubt. Mitchell was supposed to be the team’s free agent gem when they signed him in the offseason to replace Ryan Clark who had worn out his welcome in the Steel City.
As it turns out, Mitchell wasn’t any better. His poor tackling and even worse positioning on the field left Steelers’ fans seriously questioning how this guy could even warrant a starting job. When the injury announcement was made, the collective “ya sure” from the fans was as loud as a football stadium on the opening kickoff.
Mitchell is however, small potatoes when compared to Manning. In both cases, I have no doubts that these men were probably hobbled by injury. When you play a full season of professional football it’s rare to find any player that is 100% healthy.
That said, I have a hard time buying Manning’s injury. A torn muscle, especially one on the top of your thigh is crippling regardless of how often you get shot up.
Did Manning have a strained quad? That I can buy just like I can buy that Aaron Rodgers has a strained calf. But a torn quad? C’mon!
What the Denver Broncos medical folks are not telling is whether this was a grade one, two or three tear. Both one and two will allow for some participation in normal daily activities but playing in the NFL is not “normal daily activity.”
The grade three tear results in total immobility so it’s safe to assume this was not a “torn quadriceps.” What would also be nice to know is whether this was just a tear, where the fibers of the muscle come apart or a full tear where the fibers tear in half.
We’ll never find out the exact diagnosis of Manning but it’s safe to say he certainly had some discomfort in his quad. For a quarterback, the only thing more important than his arm is his legs which he uses to drive the ball down-field.
It was obvious to even the novice among us that Manning was struggling to get the ball down-field Sunday. He had little zip on the ball and his accuracy was as poor as we’ve ever seen it.
I don’t believe Manning or Mitchell set out to have excuses for their poor performances but we as fans and viewers have to take these injuries with a grain of salt because more often than not, they aren’t as bad as we are told they are.