RUSH: Paul in Kansas City, Missouri, you’re next. It’s great to have you here. Hello.
COFFMAN: Hey, Rush, my name is Paul Coffman, and actually had the privilege of playing in the NFL for 11 years — from ’78 to ’85 up in Green Bay. I played with your buddy Ken Ruettgers up there —
RUSH: You played with Ruettgers?
RUSH: Ken Ruettgers, folks, number 75, left offensive tackle for the Packers, started the Rush Room in the Packers’ locker room. And I think it was Brett Favre’s third or fourth year with the team, after he’d been traded, but Ruettgers, and a guy named Rich Moran was the right guard. You know him, too. They ran the Rush Room. Ruettgers retired and he started an organization to help retired players make their move into the private world, private sector. Is that right? I haven’t heard from him since long after that, but what —
COFFMAN: I saw him last year. He got inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame last year.
RUSH: That’s awesome. What position did you play, Paul?
COFFMAN: I was a tight end. I played up in Green Bay from ’78 to ’85, played with the Chiefs in ’86 and ’87, finished up with the Vikings in ’88. And, like most people that played the game, I had some concussions, but I’m 59 years old now and doing well. I go to a lot of NFL alumni events, golf tournaments, fundraisers, you know, I see a lot of guys. And I think you’re right. I think a lot of this is overblown. I don’t see that many guys that are really, you know, struggling. I believe there probably are a few from head trauma, but, you know, the percentages are minimal.
RUSH: Well, it’s like any other group of people. A certain percentage are gonna have negative experiences no matter what the activity. It did get overblown and predictably so because of the panic-oriented nature of the media and everybody involved with this. Paul, I have to take a break here and I know you’ve been holding on for a while. Could you hold on for a few more minutes?
COFFMAN: Yes, I’ll hold.
RUSH: I appreciate that. Paul Coffman, former tight end, Green Bay Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings.
RUSH: Let me go back now to Paul Coffman. He’s calling from Kansas City, former tight end for the Green Bay Packers, the Chiefs, and the Minnesota Vikings. And I’m sorry, I appreciate you holding on. I’m sorry I had to interrupt you. You just started getting talking about the fact that you’ve had some concussions but you’re not sure how many, and you were just starting to say, you were gonna make your point about how widespread the problem is you think in the NFL.
COFFMAN: Well, I don’t believe it is that widespread. I think there’s a small percentage that have problems from head trauma in the game, but it just seems like, even with guys getting in trouble in the NFL, it seems like the minority all of a sudden, they’re the ones that are on TV, they’re the ones that the press are writing about. Instead of the other 90% of the guys that are doing community outreach or helping in the community or putting on football camps. The majority of the guys —
RUSH: Yeah, let me stop you there. But that makes perfect sense. That’s how the left operates, Paul. If you have a group of a hundred people, 95 of the people are fine and dandy and everything’s okay, and there’s not a bit of a problem with what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Five people in that group of a hundred are exhibiting symptoms or problems or something, whatever it is, the media, it’s just instinctive, they’re gonna glom on to that five, that group of five, and they’re gonna say the entire group is corrupt and needs to be investigated. The purpose of the organization that these hundred people belong to, because five people in it are suffering, five people in it are not experiencing the benefits the other 95 are, and it’s used — in a sense this is the left’s strategy for empowering minorities, numeric minorities.
COFFMAN: Right. There’s risk and reward to everything. And obviously the reward in the NFL is great, but, you know, there is some risk. You have parents now that are saying, “I’d never let my son play football.” I actually have three sons. My oldest, Chase, just finished his sixth year in the NFL. My son Carson has been playing Arena Football for the last four years, and my youngest son, Cameron, is quarterback —
RUSH: Let me tell you, Arena Football is not for sissies.
COFFMAN: (laughing) That wall plays a whole new perspective in the game.
RUSH: Oh, I’m telling you, Arena Football is — (laughing) that’s its own universe of tough.
COFFMAN: Yeah. And then my youngest son, Cameron, is a quarterback at the University of Wyoming. They’ve had a couple concussions, but, you know, my mom had Alzheimer’s. I feel like if I get Alzheimer’s it’s because she had it, not because I played in the NFL. If we took the risk out of everything we’d have no policemen, we’d have no people in the military, nobody would go snorkeling or skydiving. You know, there’s obviously a little bit of danger getting in your car every day. I mean, we’re not gonna eliminate all the danger from everything we do. Like you talked about living, some people can’t die because they’ve never lived. I think the guy that is born for adventure and is gonna take some risk and sometimes they don’t work out like you want, but a lot of times there’s great reward in pursuing those risks.
RUSH: Well, all of this is called freedom. And you have in this country, we have the freedom to explore these things personally that we want to do to test ourselves. If you have a talent for something that’s risky, it can be rewarding as you say, and we have the freedom to pursue it in this country. But that’s the battle. The left presumes that people like you, Mr. Coffman, what’s good for you, and you’ve just proven it, you have just said you may have had some concussions and that your sons might have. You need to be protected from yourself, sir.
You cannot be left alone to raise your kids because you put them at risk because you’re in utter denial. This is the way the left would approach you. This is the way the left is approaching society. How dare you put your kids at risk the way you have and you call this radio program and admit it. That’s the way they react to it, sir. And that’s what they’re trying to do all across our culture and all across our society. Do you know this Maroon guy, neurosurgeon, the Steelers, he said that there are more concussions that happen to people who ride bicycles than play in the NFL.
COFFMAN: I believe there are more concussions in soccer, especially Little League soccer —
RUSH: We have established that.
COFFMAN: — than there are in football.
RUSH: No question.
COFFMAN: Even in cheerleading when you’re building the pyramids and they tumble down, you know, there’s risk to life. I mean, whatever you do, and I think our society, excuse the language, but I just call it the pussification of America. We’ve just become weak in our society, that we can’t do anything that would involve some risk or maybe we might fail or we could get hurt. But our country was built on people basically taking risk and sometimes dying for the cause. And I’d hate to see people, I’d hate to see my sons die but, you know, that’s part of life. We take that risk.
RUSH: I could not agree more. That is extraordinarily well said. That is exactly right on the money. But let me ask you a question. You talk about, you acknowledge that there are now parents that don’t want their kids to play. Did I see some player, who was it, some player, some current active player, a star player, said he wouldn’t let his kids play. I’m having a mental block on who it was. But here’s my question, Paul. Can you really blame these people?
All they know is what the media’s telling them, and the media has created an emergency type crisis out of this now. I mean, every parent wants their kid to be safe. That’s job number one. Job number two is hoping that your kid has a better life than you do. If you do nothing, if every news story you read features a player committing suicide or this player getting sick or this player dying 15 or 20 years early or in life expectancy, what do you expect them to do? They’re products of what they’re being told in the media and what they’re seeing.
COFFMAN: What are you gonna let your kids do, then? I mean, whatever they do, if they ride a bike, if they get in a car and go to prom, that’s part of life. You can’t shelter your children from everything. You can’t shelter yourself from everything.
RUSH: Well, but see, there are people who want to for you. If you happen to be insolent like this and if you refuse the compassionate assistance of good people that are trying to help you, then they’re gonna move in and try to protect your kids from you, and they will judge you to be unfit. That’s where this is headed. That already happens in certain circumstances inside the home. Now, I’m just playing devil’s advocate with you. Don’t misunderstand. Those are not my words. I’m just telling you what the left — there are people in this audience having that exact reaction to what you’re saying.
COFFMAN: Yeah. I’m just seeing football give structure and direction to so many kids that didn’t have that. Some people will say, “Well, football promotes violence, you know, these kids become violent because they play football.” Well, these kids are violent before they play football. The football, the coaching, the structure, the teamwork, you know, takes so many of them that might have gone on and done worse things in life than just play football, and all of a sudden it gives them structure, it gives them a concept of team and that there’s something more than themselves out there.
RUSH: That’s always been my point, that the structure, the discipline of the game can actually take kids that are at risk for going off the rails and keep them on the straight and narrow, precisely with the structure and the order and the discipline and the demands that it all be adhered to. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Paul, I appreciate the call. I really do. It’s great to hear from you. Paul Coffman, again, a former tight end for the Green Bay Packers and the Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings, who’s now living in Kansas City weighing in on all of this NFL stuff.
RUSH: By the way, when we were talking to Paul Coffman, who is the former tight end for the Packers, his name was spelled up on the call screener board, spell things happen automatically, not like he spells his name. When I saw his name spelled properly, I thought, my God, that’s who I was talking to? This guy was huge, folks. Paul Coffman. His son, which he mentioned, was a great player at Mizzou and is now I think at the Tennessee Titans and so forth, but Paul Coffman was, in his day, he was all pro, he was a huge, huge star for the Green Bay Packers for 10 years. His name is spelled C-o-f-f-m-a-n.
I knew the name, but it’s amazing how you react at the way things look. I knew that he was big, the name rang a bell, but when I saw it spelled properly, I was kind of in awe, and I was dazzled at who this guy was. (laughing) He was huge. And as such he’s an experienced veteran. But he said the exactly correct things about this, reasonable things about this.
What’s happened here, I predicted this — and I don’t mean to sound like an “I told you so,” abrasive kind of personality, but it was easy to tell you what was gonna happen. The panic reaction to this concussion news, when you know liberals, you know what was gonna happen, and the media was gonna carry the water for this. And I was just stunned to watch the media actually participate in creating news that was gonna end up destroying, or could destroy, that which they profess to love, the NFL, and that which they cover, which means that which provides them their living.
And like everything else in our panic and crisis-driven society, you take a group of any people, say a hundred people, and if five or 10 people in that group have something very bad happen to ’em, then we start thinking, “Maybe we gotta disband the whole group. This is unacceptable,” and we focus on the five or 10 who are having problems. We extrapolate that it’s eventually gonna happen to all 100, and we started questioning our sanity and why are we doing this to our children? And stuff settles in. And immediately all concept of restraint, common sense, and being reasonable is abandoned.
The panic mentality overwhelms, the crisis mentality overwhelms. And that’s exactly where we are, and that’s why this neurosurgeon at UPMC has spoken up on the NFL Network last night. This CTE business, he just said it. They can’t even prove it. They can’t prove that it has an intrinsic link to people that play the game. They can find damage to the brain in some people who’ve played, just like they’ll find damage to the brain of some people who have fallen off a bicycle.
What happened was every problem a former player experienced was automatically blamed on the game, and it just built, the momentum expanded and grew, and it didn’t take long, and people started looking at football entirely differently. Deadly. The game kills. The game maims. And then parents start saying, “I don’t want my kids to play that game.”
And that’s why the neurosurgeon said, “Wait a minute now, wait a minute, we need to rein this back in. We’ve kind of gone overboard on this.” And just to show you, the league, rather than welcoming that, the league says, “He doesn’t speak for us.” Now, why would the league do that? Why would the league not take advantage of this opportunity to say, “Our game isn’t that deadly. It’s been overdone, it’s been overblown, we’re happy for this injection of common sense.”? Because that would cause another media firestorm about how the league really doesn’t care about the welfare of its players.
And you just see it everywhere. You see deterioration of standards, deterioration of quality, corruption of institutions, all because people are afraid of the media or are afraid of being criticized, or afraid of being sued, you name it. So right before our eyes, when common sense tells us all of this is a vast overreaction, whatever it is, NFL, you name it, we still sit there and watch it all happen, because the alternative is just too tough. The alternative may not even be worth it. I’ll get destroyed. They’ll set me up. They’ll target me. I’ll get sued. Screw it, I’ll just go with the flow and I’ll live off this as long as I can.
And I think that’s an attitude that a lot of people have right now about the NFL. You know how I know I’m right? Because you can hear it now. When you hear people saying, “Well, there’s always gonna be an NFL, don’t worry about that, there’s always gonna be an NFL, but,” well, that means people are already of a mind-set that indicates they are willing to compromise and get rid of certain aspects of the game that may simply be speculation, in terms of dangerous, definitively destructive and so forth. You watch. This is going to keep building, it’s gonna keep happening, and it’s gonna take a while. It’s not gonna end next year.
By the way, it was Mike Ditka who said that he wouldn’t let his kids play football. Mike Ditka. That’s unbelievable to me. If all of this has gotten to Mike Ditka, that means it can get to anybody. Mike Ditka is the personification of NFL tough guy warrior. He’s the personification of what Paul Coffman was talking about here in terms of having the common sense attitude, “Well, life is filled with risks, and it’s also filled with opportunities. We have freedom in this country, and we engage in these opportunities knowing the risks that are there.”
When sustained efforts are made to take the risk — and believe me, that’s one of the main objectives of the left — take the risk out of things, well, it’s not gonna be pretty, mark my words.