R & D. The current NFL “Research and Development” budget means “scouting”. That’s it, that’s all.
Until the NFL commits to an actual R & D program into not only the science of brain (and other) injuries, ways to make the game safer in general, and into the development of better equipment, anything they do is lip service.
If the NFL (its collective owners) pledged just 1% of the total annual revenue — which is the typical R&D budget of an oil company (many innovative companies spend 10+% of their revenue on R&D) — that would mean over $130 million…annually. To put that in perspective, helmet maker Riddell’s entire annual revenue stream is about $200 million.
The NFL has the bankroll to make this real, and to put their own skin in the game to spend money on actually trying to solve the problem rather than spending the same amount of money trying to hide it, and has the clout to make sure any company that wants to be “the official equipment provider of the NFL” (even a giant like Easton, who owns Riddell) commits their own piece of the pie to the same R&D program.
First part of solving a problem is identifying it, and acknowledging it exists.
Concussions won’t be eliminated. The process needs to be about reducing the likelihood to its minimum, and minimizing the impact when they occur.