Considerable disagreement still exists over how safe less-man is. Many traditionalists claim that it could produce more injuries than 11-man because less-man features more open-field tackles at top speed. But most coaches who have been involved in less-man insist that it has fewer injuries than conventional football. In particular, less-man has fewer knee injuries, which are the bane of the NFL.
Buddy Gibson, a high school principal in Oakesdale, Wash., and a longtime board member of the state's Interscholastic Activities Association, says, "There's not near the pounding in 8-man that you have in 11-man. I can't remember a serious injury in 8-man in this county in my 27 years here. And we don't seem to have nearly the number of knee operations or any of those types of injuries."
Mark Martin, coach of Midway-Denton, the perennial Kansas 8-man champion, says, "You don't have the big pile-ups, and your running back doesn't get smacked so much when he cuts back."
The injury question aside, numerous colleges around the country should change to 8- or 9-man immediately. Less-man would be perfect for the Ivies, because rarely do fellows without necks attend Ivy League institutions. The Southern Conference, the Big Sky Conference and that one with Central Michigan and Toledo in it are other leagues that should go 8-man. BYU and Stanford could make the transition even more easily, because they have been running 8-man plays for years without knowing it. Then, after the 8- or 9-man national championship game between Yale and Weber State draws a 38.2 rating, the NFL and the College Football Association will be falling over themselves to go less-man.
This widespread reduction of 11-man football to a smaller number base would instantly create the following bounties:
? NFL teams would save millions of dollars in salaries by not having to keep hordes of no-neck players around—as well as the many assistant coaches in charge of the no-necks.
?Colleges could reduce their expensive scholarship quotas, thus saving great sums of money and pleasing academicians.
?The sleazebags who sell steroids to no-necks would see their market cut in half overnight.
?A few NFL quarterbacks would actually retire with two knees apiece.
?Nobody would have to ask around so he could write down the names of unknown offensive guards and tackles, who, by law, are required to play in the Pro Bowl game.