Nick Bouniconti’s Most Impactful Play
Nick Bouniconti always had a big impact on the football field.
As middle linebacker, Bouniconti anchored the defense of the greatest football team in history, the undefeated 1972 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins. Whether sacking a quarterback or tackling a running back short of a first down, Bouniconti always made his presence felt. And for so many fans in our football crazed society, what Bouniconti achieved is considered the highest of all sports pinnacles – Hall of Fame inductee and Super Bowl Champion on the only undefeated team in NFL history.
But for a much of an impact he had on the field, that impact on the game pales in comparison to the impact and importance of his recent comment in an article, which appeared in a January 18 article in CNN.com, regarding youth tackle football. The article quoted several former NFL players who are calling for an end to tackle football for kids ages 13 and under.
“I beg of you, all parents to please don’t let your children play football until high school,” said Bouniconti, 77, who has been diagnosed with dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease. “I made the mistake of starting tackle football at 9 years old. CTE has taken my life away. Youth tackle football is all risk with no reward.”
So while many of his plays on the field could bring a crowd to its feet, his comment is truly deserving of full-throated standing ovation.
Here are some links to the CNN article, as well as several essays I’ve written on the subject of youth tackle football.
“Former NFLers call for end to tackle football for kids” : Published on CNN.com | Jan. 18, 2018
“Why not flag football?” : Published in Philadelphia Inquirer | June 15, 2015