Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard will play in his first Super Bowl in just a week as the Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers.
Yet Pollard is wondering just how many Super Bowls will be played in the future.
According to Clark Judge of CBSSports.com, Pollard doesn’t paint a very promising picture for the long-term future of the league.
Pollard sees a conundrum coming between the league losing fans by over-legislating the physicality of the sport in the name of player safety and the players continuing to get bigger, faster and stronger.
“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.”
Pollard has a reputation as a big-hitter and has earned his fair share of fines from the league due to illegal hits so he’s felt the effects of the league’s rule changes more than most. He knows fans cheer big hits while the league is trying to limit them.
While Pollard may be overly pessimistic over the future of the league, it’s an intriguing perspective.