Revisiting the Kansas City Chiefs‘ 45-44 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts was the last thing that KC fans had on their to-do list heading into this week, but after Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles made comments on Tuesday questioning the decision to keep him out of the game following his possible concussion, that’s exactly what they’ve found themselves doing.
Charles stated on KC’s 610 Sports that he felt like he didn’t have a concussion and was trying to get back onto the field, but wasn’t allowed. This revelation has many Kansas City fans upset with the NFL‘s concussion protocol. Do they have a reason to be?
The league’s in-game protocol mandates that a team physician reviews “a six-item checklist outlining findings that necessitate a player’s immediate removal from the game.” Charles’ exit from the game suggests that he failed at least one requirement on the list and exhibited some concussion-like symptoms.
Yes, Charles took a nasty hit, but he appeared to be completely fine when he was running up and down the sideline. It was only when Charles was suddenly and surprisingly led to the locker room that concern began to creep into the minds of Kansas City fans. Charles never returned.
As the NFL’s concussion procedure has become an increasingly hot issue over the past few seasons, the league wasn’t going to take any risks on the biggest stage of the season with a superstar like Charles. Facing a slew of lawsuits and negative publicity, Charles’ exit was inevitable as soon as his head hit the turf.
While Charles’ early departure was questionable, Chiefs supporters shouldn’t keep themselves up at night running over the alternative outcomes had Charles stayed in the game. Ironically, the Chiefs’ offense was as effective as it was all year with him off the field. While Charles presence may have slowed the game’s pace down a bit, the outcome likely would have been the same with or without him.
So enough with the conspiracy theories, Chiefs nation. The NFL is simply finally taking the steps to back up their sentiments that they have players’ best interests in mind. As the physicality of the game continues to increase, expect issues like this to become even more commonplace over the next few years.