nfl injury report

nfl injury report

The Importance of the NFL Injury Report

1. Introduction

The Chargers were fined $20,000 for failing to disclose the wrist injury.

An example of how the findings on the injury report can sway the odds and affect a bettor’s wage can be seen as following: During the 2006 NFL regular season, the Denver Broncos were playing the San Diego Chargers. The game was highly anticipated because it was believed that these two teams would be compete for the AFC West title. During the week prior to the game, the Chargers top defensive player Shawne Merriman was ruled out with an injury. When the injury report came out, it revealed that Merriman had two torn ligaments in his wrist and was to miss six weeks.

The injury report provides a very detailed analysis of the injury listing the specific body part that is affected. If the player will be able to participate in practice and if he could play in a game. If the player is listed as doubtful it means there is a 75% chance that the player will not play, questionable means there is a 50% chance the player will play and probable means the injury will not affect the player’s chance to play in a game.

Having money and resources to bet on professional football often times is too good to be true. A high percentage of the time the average bettor is consistently let down by his/her lack of discipline and willingness to not follow the odds which should be the first step in achieving and sustaining success. More often than not, the casual sports bettor will wager on a favorite team or wager on them because they are a fan. Somewhere in the back of their mind, they are unaware if the team that they just wagered on had a key player just pop up on the injury report. In professional football, the injury report has become a key factor for both the sports bettor and the coaches who are looking for an edge.

2. The Impact of Injuries on NFL Teams

By being required to release an injury report every week, this allows the public to see exactly which player is sitting out, for how long, and why. A report by Matt Chatham of Football Situations indicates, “Injury disclosure on the whole has gone to another level. A team almost has to be secretive to not provide at least some insight into what is going on with player health these days” (Lynch, 2015). With that being said, head coaches and general managers are often more revealing about player injuries because they now understand that the information will get out either way, and it is better for the team to control the flow of information. An example of this is when an MRI exam was done on former Bears QB Jay Cutler, GM Phil Emery insisted that it was just a neck injury and Cutler didn’t have a concussion. Cutler then didn’t play for the rest of the season due to team doctors not clearing him medically and going to another specialist who decided that it was best for Cutler to not return (, 2017). An article by Stephanie L. Martin from the University of South Carolina Law School goes into detail on the importance of this injury reporting while also revealing the potential legal consequences of failing to disclose the full extent of an injury. This is becoming more and more relevant due to retired player lawsuits against the NFL claiming that they were not properly informed enough about the risk of their injuries. High-profile cases such as Mike Webster and Junior Seau have brought more attention to this issue. Webster was able to sue the NFL and won his case, which helped other retired players have a chance at proper compensation from the NFL. This injury reporting is crucial for the NFL.

3. The Role of the NFL Injury Report

The injury report gives specifics when injuries have occurred, the practice participation, and game status. With this information, bettors will be more confident as to which team to place their bet on. Thus, a betting line’s odds can greatly be affected by injury status, a variable to consider when gathering evidence of the power of the injury report.

An example of how an injury can change the whole dynamic of a game and long-term team success is the 2011 Indianapolis Colts. This year’s team has been a major contender in the NFL for the last 10 years, but after key injuries to All-Pro QB Peyton Manning and several defensive players, the Colts have decided to sit Manning and some other key players in order to obtain a higher chance of winning games now by using backup players and ensure success for the organization in the future.

In a study conducted by the American Football Coaches and the HSS, they found that “sports wagering indicates that the injury report has been highly effective in regulating behavior relative to student athletes and their healthcare, as well as the behaviors of those who try to influence the outcome of games.” This quote is a perfect example of the power the injury report has on football games and the people who rely on those games for income. An injury can have a huge impact on the outcome of a game, and if one team has considerably more starting players injured than the other, there is a good chance that the healthier team will win the game. This is something that football coaches understand, and because their job is to win football games, they will likely sit injured players as a healthy backup replacement is the better decision for the game and the long run.

Given that all teams are required to report any injured players or players not practicing or playing in the upcoming game, teams are forced to release the injury report whether they like it or not. This causes honest reporting from teams and, more importantly, major implications on injury reporting in decision making by sports bettors and fantasy sports participants. The injury report is a very powerful tool for bettors who seek information that will give them an edge in placing a bet with the most confidence possible.

4. Controversies Surrounding the NFL Injury Report

The NFL Injury Report, implemented for the 1946 NFL season, is a system that requires all NFL teams to submit a report of their injured players each week. This was proposed by the War-Games committee to “promote fair play and emphasize sportsmanship.” The information obtained from the NFL Injury Report is used by NFL coaches, players, and more importantly, gamblers to trace player injuries and predict player participation during games. It also helps maintain the competitive balance of the league. Since the information provided in the report has remained consistent throughout the years, teams have managed to manipulate the data they submit. This violates the rules of the injury report as stated by the commissioner and is also deemed as dishonest cheating. An interview by with an NFL player supports this thought. “The only part of the report we take seriously is scratching players off other teams. We definitely fudge it when it comes to our own guys.” By doing so, the effect of the original purpose of the report is diminished. Another controversy is the new updates to the 2016 NFL Injury Report rule. “The league now requires clubs to classify players with one of the following designations: ‘questionable’, ‘doubtful’, ‘out’.” This is to provide more accurate game status of the injured player. The Pittsburgh Steelers did not comply with this newly implemented rule. On October 20, 2016, the NFL warned the Steelers that their future violations of the policy will result in more severe punishment. This is because of an occurrence happening a week before when Ben Roethlisberger had knee surgery but was still listed as ‘questionable’ and even ended up coming to play and being declared the starter just before the game started. This rule mainly states that these injured ‘questionable’ or ‘doubtful’ status players must be doubtful to actually play in the game. If teams continue to violate this rule, the integrity and purpose of the Injury Report will be further lessened.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the National Football League’s injury report is of great importance to many different groups of people. Whether it is for the players, the coaches, the owners, the different sports writers, or most importantly the fans, the injury report is a vital part of ensuring the integrity of the game. With the increase in fantasy football and online sports betting, the importance for the injury report will only grow. The NFL will continue to adapt and change the injury report to ensure that it is clear and contains the most accurate information. The injury report’s main function is to ensure that competitive balance is upheld. It is clear that the injury report has been a positive deterrent for coercing teams to abide by rules set forth by the NFL and ensuring that teams are honest in their reporting of player injuries. Coaches will continue to use players’ injury status as a chance to gain a possible advantage on an opponent, but it is clear that the injury report has been the league’s way of ensuring that no team is penalized for the health status of their team. Overall, the injury report has been a tool used in the betterment of the game for all parties involved, and will continue to do so in the future.

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