What’s the future for pro football?
“I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”
Newly inaugurated President Obama said that in an interview with The New Republic.
His concern is about concussions. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recently announced that Junior Seau, a former NFL star linebacker who committed suicide with a gun last year, had a degenerative brain disease often linked to blows to the head. Seau’s family is suing the the league as it prepares for Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown between two hard-hitting teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Speaking of hard hitters, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard told CBSSports.com that he doesn’t think the NFL will exist 30 years from now because rule changes designed to make the game safer are turning off fans.
“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.”
I admit, as I watched games this season, I saw cases in which I thought someone laid a decent but fair smack on a receiver in an attempt to jar a pass loose, only to get flagged.
What do you think? Is the NFL going too far with assessing penalties in efforts to protect players, or must it do even more to protect players’ long-term health? Do you think Pollard’s fears have merit?