Football: Rookies in the Line-up

The complex violence of professional football is not easy to learn— even for the most skillful semi-pro fresh from a collegiate football foundry. It usually takes a couple of seasons of practice before new tactics, new formations, new plays become second nature. Rookies quickly discover that long seasoning on the bench is considered a part of their schedule.

Except this year. These autumn Sundays, almost every team is breaking the unwritten rookie rule by gambling on the burly talents of at least one player fresh from the campus. And in almost every...

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