GamesGame Changers: How Injuries Shaped the NFL 2023-24 Season

Game Changers: How Injuries Shaped the NFL 2023-24 Season

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


In the NFL, winning the Super Bowl demands top talent, a bit of luck, and staying healthy all season long.

But in 2023-24 season, injuries hit some teams hard, messing up their plans right from the start and even during the season. 

These injuries meant teams had to scramble to find replacements fast, highlighting how crucial it is to stay on track when key players are sidelined. 

While some teams managed to find new players to step up, others struggled to keep up the pace. In this article, we’ll take a look at how injuries shaped the NFL 2023 season.

Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals) 

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

Joe Burrow’s preseason calf injury affected Bengal’s offensive performance early on, and his injury flaring up again made things worse for the team. 

Burrow’s season-ending wrist injury during Week 11 against the Ravens was a major blow, especially considering their promising 4-1 record when he was healthy. 

The loss of key players like safeties Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell in the offseason also contributed to the challenges faced by the Bengals. Joe Burrow’s injury prematurely ended a season that had a rocky start due to his struggles with an injured calf.

Despite a strong comeback in Week 5, where he showcased his dominance against the Arizona Cardinals, his season came to an abrupt end just as the Bengals were gaining momentum with a 5-4 record. 

With Burrow out, backup QB Jake Browning stepped in, who had limited NFL experience, to lead the team through the remainder of the season. Head coach Taylor praised the team’s response to the setback but acknowledged the challenge ahead. 

Burrow’s injury came at a particularly unfortunate time and disrupted the 2023 season. As he focused on rehab, the Bengals strived to move forward into the season without their star quarterback.

Bengal’s Super Bowl hopes were shattered when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and were officially eliminated from the 2023 playoff field contention.

Aaron Rodgers (New York Jets) 

Source: NBC News

Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles injury early in the season certainly had a strong impact on the New York Jets’ trajectory. The Jets got a promising debut with an upset win over the Bills led by Zach Wilson

However, subsequent struggles and losses, particularly against the Cowboys, highlighted the challenges the team faced without Rodgers. 

His injury, just minutes into his Jets career, not only dashed hopes for an immediate impact but also significantly altered the team’s season outlook. 

Despite this setback, the Jets decided to activate Rodgers from injured reserve on December 20, even though they knew he wouldn’t play for the remainder of the season, sacrificing a roster spot for Cornerback Kalon Barnes in the process.

Nick Chubb (Cleveland Browns) 

Source: Yahoo Sports

Nick Chubb’s severe knee injury during the Cleveland Browns’ Week 2 matchup with the Steelers was indeed a devastating blow for both him and the team. 

As one of the league’s top running backs, Chubb’s absence was undoubtedly felt on the field. With successful surgeries to repair his torn MCL, meniscus, and ACL, Chubb faces a challenging rehabilitation process. 

In the meantime, the Browns relied on unproven second-year backs Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong to fill the void left by Chubb’s absence. 

The Browns had big dreams this season, but injuries messed things up. Losing important players like Jack Conklin and Nick Chubb early on hurt the team a lot. They had to keep changing quarterbacks because of injuries, making it hard to keep things going smoothly. 

With so many players getting hurt and ending up on the sidelines, it was tough for the team. But despite all that, they still did pretty well, finishing second in their division with 11 wins and 6 losses. 

Making it to the playoffs in Week 17 was a big deal for them, especially since it was their first time in a while. Even though injuries cut their playoff run short, the players still think they’ve got what it takes to do even better next time.

Saquon Barkley (New York Giants) 

Source: Larry Brown Sports

Injuries significantly impacted the New York Giants’ performance during the 2023 NFL season, preventing them from building upon their 9–7–1 record from the previous year. 

Despite a strong start, highlighted by a Week 2 victory over the Cardinals, injuries to key players like running back Saquon Barkley and starting quarterback Daniel Jones slowed down their momentum. 

Barkley’s absence during crucial matchups affected the team’s offensive capabilities, while Jones’ season-ending injury in Week 9 further weakened their chances. 

These setbacks, coupled with a poor offensive line, ultimately led to the Giants’ elimination from contention for the NFC East title after Week 12.

Despite their efforts, a Christmas Day loss to the Eagles sealed their fate, marking the end of their playoff hopes for the season.

Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams) 


The Rams faced difficulties during the NFL 2023 season due to Cooper Kupp‘s absence resulting from a hamstring injury. This setback compelled them to rely on emerging talents like Tutu Atwell and rookie Puka Nacua.

Cooper Kupp’s injury significantly impacted his team’s performance. Missing at least the first four games of the season and being placed on injured reserve sidelined him for a total of 12 consecutive games

This absence added to the challenges faced by the Rams, who had already struggled with injuries in the previous year.

Despite Kupp’s return in Week 5, the team initially struggled with a 3–6 record, but they managed to rally in the latter part of the season, clinching a playoff spot before falling short in the Wild Card Round against the Detroit Lions. 

NFL Implements Fair Catch Rule for Player Safety

The NFL is working on making kickoffs more exciting for fans and safer for the players. Injury data from the past season revealed a notable decrease in regular-season games missed due to injuries this season. 

Concussions during kickoffs dropped by 60%, from 20 to 8, because of these new rules. These rules let players call for a fair catch even if the ball is far away, so there were fewer collisions.

They’ll talk more about the new rules and adjustments during the offseason. NFL also wants to consider ideas from other leagues, like the XFL, starting with discussions at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.


Injuries are an inevitable part of sports, and the NFL’s 2023 season was no exception. From star quarterbacks to key running backs and receivers, injuries reshaped the landscape of the league, impacting teams’ performances and playoff aspirations. 

Yet, amidst the setbacks, the resilience of players and the league’s commitment to safety and excitement shined through.

As we reflect on the highs and lows of the 2023 NFL season, one thing remains clear: the NFL continues to evolve, adapting its rules and strategies to ensure both player welfare and fan engagement.

Fans are eagerly awaiting the next season, but don’t forget to celebrate the triumphs, learn from the challenges, and embrace the ever-changing nature of America’s favorite sport.



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