NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Football remains the most popular sport in the United States, but the National Football League is changing with every season.
More flags are being thrown and the league is continuing to do everything it can to protect its players from injury. But still, the play remains very violent, and many former players and their families are coming out and criticizing the league for not sufficiently protecting the athletes.
In many instances, players and their families are filing lawsuits against the NFL for being careless and negligent.
So what measures will the nation’s most popular and profitable league take to address these issues?
That remains to be seen, but Ravens safety Bernard Pollard isn’t too optimistic about the future of the NFL.
“30 years from now, I don’t think (the NFL) will be in existence,” Pollard told CBSSports.com. “I could be wrong. It’s just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where (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 seven-year veteran believes that the game will be a shell of itself moving forward, and eventually, fans will lose interest in the sport that they once loved.
“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,’ Pollard said. “It’s going to be a thing where fans aren’t going to want to watch it anymore.”
President Barack Obama told The New Republic that if he had a son, he would have to seriously think it over before allowing him to play football. Meanwhile, the family of Junior Seau — who committed suicide in May — has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the league. And former Giants running back Tiki Barber recently said that he fears for his life after spending a decade in the league.
Pollard knows that there’s one thing that could conceivably happen that would immediately alter the sport forever.
“The only thing I’m waiting for … and, Lord, I hope it doesn’t happen … is a guy dying on the field,” Pollard told the website. “We’ve had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it sucks.”
Super Bowl XLVII will be broadcast on CBS, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
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