By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Oct 22, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I like watching football, but  it's far from my favorite sport. There's the groundwork. Now, on to the guts of this blog.

American football really has it all. It's fast, full of destruction, precision and, at any moment, you know someone is liable to get whacked, flattened and downright leveled. Ah, football. Many games are more like video games or movies, aren't they? Huge guys, in full armor, going all out in search of a win.

What's got football on this basketball boy's mind today?

Malcolm Gladwell, author of "Blink" and "The Tipping Point," is the one who has me thinking. Gladwell has written one of the year's best pieces of sports journalism. His New Yorker piece called, "Offensive Play. How different are dog fighting and football?," is as good as it gets in his profession. It's thought provoking, honest and entertaining. Give it a read.

Here's an exerpt:

"In 2000 and 2001, four drivers in NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series were killed in crashes, including the legendary Dale Earnhardt. In response, NASCAR mandated stronger seats, better seat belts and harnesses, and ignition kill switches, and completed the installation of expensive new barriers on the walls of its racetracks, which can absorb the force of a crash much better than concrete. The result is that, in the past eight years, no one has died in NASCAR's three national racing series. Stock-car fans are sometimes caricatured as bloodthirsty, eagerly awaiting the next spectacular crash. But there is little blood these days in NASCAR crashes. Last year, at Texas Motor Speedway, Michael McDowell hit an oil slick, slammed head first into the wall at a hundred and eighty miles per hour, flipped over and over, leaving much of his car in pieces on the track, and, when the vehicle finally came to a stop, crawled out of the wreckage and walked away. He raced again the next day. So what is football? Is it dog fighting or is it stock-car racing?"

I never played the game at any thing above a flag football level, but even so I'm certain that even with all the precautions taken to protect players that I wouldn't want my son or frankly your son to play the game. Call me a wuss or risk averse, but I'm simply doing the concussion and brain damage math. Again, read the piece, do some research on concussions and on post-playing-days life for football players and you, too, might be a bit scared.

I'm not bashing football.  Again, I'm a fan. But, I am wondering if the sport may need to pay more attention to safety.

But, as Gladwell concludes in his 10-page piece, "There is nothing else to be done, not so long as fans stand and cheer. We are in love with football players, with their courage and grit, and nothing else -- neither considerations of science nor those of morality -- can compete with the destructive power of that love."

Is football too violent? Use the Talkback feature to react.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.