Offensive Line Consultant /Hand Combat and Leverage Specialist / Safe Football
Former Arizona Cardinals player Scott Peters is on a quest developing a nonprofit business that makes football safer for professional and young athletes & Offensive Lineman more successful in defeating blocks with his innovative hand combat and leverage concepts. Scott’s new techniques are sought out by most NFL and Major College Programs, and they teach simple, powerful ways to neutralize blocks.
Safe Football LLC was launched late last year by the 35-year-old Peters, who said he had a history of concussions throughout his professional and college playing days, including one sustained without any helmet contact.
Because there is no helmet that will resolve the injury issue and the safest football involves simply not playing, Peters is out to show the techniques he developed that he believes will make the sport safer by using a combination of mixed martial arts and biomechanics.
“It’s about achieving vertical lift with the hands instead of horizontal contact,” said Peters, who holds a communications bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. “It allows someone smaller to overpower someone larger using tapping and lifting techniques. It takes away their power. You’re operating with perfect alignment and compromising their spine and shoulder movements. It’s as safe as it’s going to get.”
With approximately 3 million youth playing football, and a major push by colleges and the NFL to implement various efforts to reduce concussions, the nonprofit has a ready-made market for its offerings.
The business is a spinoff of Peters’ Fight Ready MMA gym in Scottsdale. The former ASU player set up shop in the Valley and is looking to branch out beyond the fighting skills. “I like to say, ‘Save the brain. Save the game,’” said Peters, who sits on concussion analysis panels. “There are better ways to do things.”
Peters knows the impact of violent collisions in the game. His after-football career began when he woke up from micro-fracture ankle surgery while playing as an offensive lineman with the Carolina Panthers to discover damaged cartilage that would abruptly end his football career.
Peters retired from the NFL in 2006 at age 27 before getting involved with Brazilian jiu-jitsu training. He’s now been practicing and competing for several years and has won two world championships in submission grappling.
His football retirement, however, only lasted a year before the Arizona Cardinals called him. Peters went to Flagstaff for training camp and played well with his new team. He played another two years with the Cardinals, with his final game in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla.
During that return to the sport, Peters began to develop different techniques gleaned from his Brazilian jiu-jitsu experience. The idea is to apply leverage using the body’s proper stance to generate force, essentially using the arms and hands instead of lunging headfirst into the opposing player.
Coaches and various sports groups are trying to make the sport safer without compromising the game. It has made head safety an issue with many former players suing the NFL about their injuries from concussions, he said.
Peters started training players and eventually began the nonprofit as a comprehensive approach to football. Its goal is to teach younger players techniques to avoid head that can cause brain damage so the game can continue and ultimately be even safer.
“I want to get it at every level of football,” Peters said.
Dan Cozzetto, a 36-year coach now at the University of Washington, said Grey Ruegamer, one of the co-owners of the business, recently was hired as a full-time strength coach, working specifically with linemen using the techniques Peters’ taught him. Cozzetto coached both players while at ASU.
Cozzetto’s players use the techniques every day, and so far, there have been no concussions, he said.
“It’s made players more aware of how much their hands can become a weapon,” said Cozzetto, who commutes and still lives in Ahwatukee. “You’ve got to learn how to play with your head up.”
Al Dahlberg, a Brown University professor of medical science who teaches molecular genetics and medical biochemistry, said he’s “delighted” Peters has developed these techniques. As a former high school football player and dad to two former college football players, Dahlberg knows the tough decisions a parent makes on whether to allow their children to play the game.
“It’s a tougher game, and neurologists are saying it’s difficult to know when a player is really ready to come back to the game after getting a concussion,” he said. “These are still relative unknowns. I’m not aware of any successful treatments.”
Through his nonprofit, he’s working with a number of advocacy groups to get the word out and has a long list of endorsements. The goal is to train retired athletes who can then train current players and young athletes. Clinics will begin in March to start teaching younger athletes, and training the trainers is happening now.
“It’ll change their life,” Peters said. “Your brain is your operating system. This system is more effective.”
“I have been training with Scott Peters at Fight Ready during my off-seasons for 3 years now, and my game has changed dramatically. I was an undrafted free agent from a small school, and worked my way into a starting spot thanks to Scott. People can’t figure out how I generate so much leverage effortlessly, and I’m not inclined to share that with them.”
– Active NFL Offensive Lineman
“I am on the board for our local youth football league, and have heard many parents express concern over the safety of football. I also have three boys ages 7,9, and 12 who play football, and as a parent, I have my concerns as well. Our league consulted SAFE FOOTBALL, and the techniques they taught us were incredible. Not only do they eliminate helmet contact in the trenches, but the techniques are far more effective than anything else being taught. have three boys (age 7, 9, and 12), all of which play football. My wife and I were very concerned about the risks of our kids safety and the long term consequences. After working with Scott and SAFE FOOTBALL worked with me and some of the dads in the youth league, we are very comfortable now allowing our kids to play football, and we strongly encourage other parents and leagues to do the same.”
– Father, Youth Football League Board Member
“The techniques Scott developed are the most effective I have ever seen in my 25 years of coaching in this business. It’s very rare to see a new concept emerge that is effective at this stage of the game, but he’s done it. I recommend SAFE FOOTBALL to O Line, D Line, Linebackers.. .Anyone on the field who engages a player on the other side of the ball.”
– Retired NFL Offensive Line Coach