Steelers-Bengals brutality a reminder life-altering violence is at NFL’s core

The grim carnage of Monday’s game puts a fine point on the NFL’s most inconvenient truth: that violence is an essential feature of the league

The body count included a pair of young men carted off on stretchers and still more knocked out with serious injuries. Some were a result of routine plays that embody football’s existential risks, others were the offspring of more sinister intentions. Who can say, as the medics rush the field before a hushed stadium or from the antiseptic fluorescent buzz of a hospital room, which brand of violence is more concerning? Does it even matter?

One thing’s for certain: the grim tableau of carnage that was Monday night’s divisional grudge match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, beamed in 4K ultra-high-definition to a national audience, comes at the worst possible time for a league beset with problems from all sides.

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