Hockey players are always praised for their toughness and hockey’s the only sport where the referees literally sit and watch guys fist fight. In any other sport the referees at least attempt to break up a fight, but not in hockey.
Could you imagine if NFL referees allowed players to have fist fights? Just imagine a defensive tackle squaring up against an offensive tackle while everyone on the field sat back and watched. People would die. On the other hand, hockey players usually walk away from their fights and shortly return to the ice.
The dangers of playing football outweigh the dangers of playing hockey.
Hockey players are considered the toughest athletes, but the average hockey career is two years longer than the average NFL career and it’s not rare for NHL players to play into their 40s.
Taking it to the next level: The fighting in the predominantly white sport of hockey is part of what makes hockey players widely regarded as tough. Would people feel the same way in a more diverse sport like football? I personally doubt it.