The National Football League is arguably the strongest professional sports league in North America. This holds true from both financial and popularity standpoints. However, one current NFL player doesn't believe the league will be around 30 years from now.
That aforementioned player is Baltimore Ravens saftey Bernard Pollard. He cites player-safety concerns and long-term side effects from the physical aspect of the game as his main reasons for justification.
Here's what he had to say to CBS Sports' Clark Judge on the matter:
“Thirty years from now,” Pollard said, “I don’t think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It’s just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where they [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they’re throwing flags and everything else — there’s going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it.” [...]
“The league is trying to move in the right direction [with player safety],” he added, “but, at the same time, [coaches] want bigger, stronger and faster year in and year out. And that means you’re going to keep getting big hits and concussions and blown-out knees. The only thing I’m waiting for … and, Lord, I hope it doesn’t happen … is a guy dying on the field. We’ve had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it sucks.
“Like I said, I pray it never happens, but you’ve got guys who are 350 pounds running 4.5 and 4.4s, and these owners and coaches want scout-run blockers and linemen to move walls. At the same time, they tell you, ‘Don’t hit here, and don’t hit there, or we’ll take your money.’ Like I said, I hope I’m wrong, but I just believe one day there’s going to be a death that takes place on the field because of the direction we’re going.”Pollard has gained a reputation for being one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the entire game. So, it makes his comments somewhat ironic.
He was recently fined for a hit he delivered against New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker in the AFC Championship Game.
Via CBS Sports