Top Seven Worst Injuries in Pro Football
Some of the worst injuries in all of sports occur in professional football. Rugby and hockey are both high contact sports, but other than boxing, it is hard to think of a sport that involves more contact than NFL football. So here is a rather morbid tribute to the worst injuries in NFL history.
Bledsoe Out, Brady In: The most significant injury in the last decade was that of New England Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe who was, going into the 2001 season, entrenched as starter for the Patriots was injured when going off the field at the end of scramble during the second game of the season, a Jets defender pulverized him. The injury was so bad that Bledsoe’s internal bleeding had doctors fearing for his life. Onto the field came the little known Michigan second year quarterback, Tom Brady. The rest is history.
Montana Returns: In the later half of Joe Montana’s career he recovered from a series of injuries, the biggest of which was a back injury he incurred at the beginning of the 1886 season. Many feared that the disc injury and surgery would end Montana’s career (in fact, doctors recommended he give up football). But Montana had other ideas, and went to win two more Super bowls even as the quarterback controversy mounted between him and up—and—comer Steve Young.
Darryl Stingley Paralyzed: Darryl Stingley, the New England Patriots wide receiver, is remembered as one of the first truly serious NFL injuries from the highflying seventies. Stingley was rendered a quadriplegic when he was struck by Raider’s cornerback Jack Tatum in a 1978 game. The blow to the head lead to many of the rule changes we see today including the penalties instituted against “spearing” receivers in vulnerable positions and fines against such now illegal blows. This was not, however, the last spinal cord injury to an NFL player.
Emmitt Smith Plays Through Pain: In the final game of the 1994 Season, Cowboys Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith showed the determination that would give him the most yards at the end of his career, rushing for over 200 yards with a separated shoulder in order to secure the Cowboys a first round bye in the playoffs.
Tim Krumrie’s Super Bowl Injury: Perhaps no injury was seen by more people live than Bengal’s nose tackle Tim Krumrie’s Super Bowl injury. During the 1989 Superbowl the nose tackle’s cleats caught in the turf and resulting broken tibia made Krumrie’s foot flop on the end of his leg like a bag of potatoes. The broadcaster was criticized for replaying the injury repeatedly for a national audience. The Niners went on to win the game on a classic Montana last minute drive.
Rocky Bleier Comes Home: Perhaps the most memorable come back from injury was Rocky Bleier’s return to NFL football after being injured in Vietnam. After his rookie year with the team, the Steelers halfback was drafted, and after being wounded in both legs by shrapnel, rehabilitated himself and contributed to the great Steelers teams of the 70’s. Bleier said he was inspired by a postcard Steelers owner Art Rooney wrote him when he was in the hospital.
LT Ends Theisman’s Career: The most famous of all NFL injuries however was the Monday Night Football injury that made Lawrence Taylor a household name. Lawrence Taylor has been involved in a number of sacks that lead to quarterbacks being put on the Injured Reserve list, but his sack of Joe Theisman is particularly memorable because it ended the Redskins great’s career and because Taylor himself was so distraught by what he had done. After seeing Theisman’s leg snap beneath him, Taylor frantically signaled for the medical staff on both sidelines and then placed his hands on his head in horror and astonishment.