There are as many different thoughts on the future of the NFL as there are football fans. Many people have their own projections of the league five, 10 or even 50 years down the road.
However, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard has his own vision of where the league will be in 2043. Specifically, Pollard told CBSSports.com last weekend that he thinks the NFL may be gone in 30 years if it keeps legislating safety into the game through penalties and fines on defenders.
“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.”
Then again, Pollard is a defensive back, the one position that has been targeted for hitting with the helmet and not practicing proper tackling. Nevertheless, he is worried that the league wanting bigger and faster players does not concur with the push for more safety.
“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.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor