Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard is one of the biggest hitters in the game, and a renown Patriots killer, so he knows a thing or two about the physical play of the game.
Clarke Judge of CBS Sports asked Pollard what he thought the game would look like 10-15 years from now, and Pollard said it would still be popular.
Then Pollard might have shocked and scared everyone when he admitted he didn’t think the league would be around in 30 years.
“Thirty years from now,” he 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.
“Guys are getting fined, and they’re talking about, ‘Let’s take away the strike zone’ and ‘Take the pads off’ or ‘Take the helmets off.’ It’s going to be a thing where fans aren’t going to want to watch it anymore.”
Pollard reiterated that it was just his opinion, but offered some good analysis on why he felt that way.
“The league is trying to move in the right direction [with player safety],” he said, “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.”
It has always been my opinion as well that as the game gets regulated more, at some point it won’t be around. You have guys who have played in the league, and now that their times is over, everyone that played the game is sue happy.
I can appreciate the fact that Pollard stated he understands what he signed up for. Anyone including myself who’s ever played a down of football understands the risk, the pain you feel, and what it can do to you.
Not one NFL player to ever play the game of football was duped, and it’s a shame a gigantic lawsuit may crumble the game we love.