Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard does not think the NFL has a bright future.
Pollard told CBS Sports recently that he thinks the league will go out of business in 30 years because rules changes made to make the game safer are ruining the sport, and the chances that a player could die on the field because players keep getting bigger, stronger and faster are increasing.
"Thirty years from now, I don't think it will be in existence," Pollard said. "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."
"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 said the shift toward making the sport safer conflicts with coaches seeking increasingly stronger and faster players. He said the results will be an increase in violent hits, concussions and serious knee injuries.
"The only thing I'm waiting for ... and, Lord, I hope it doesn't happen ... is a guy dying on the field," Pollard said. "We've had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it (stinks)."
Pollard is known as a hard hitter. Most recently, he was fined $15,250 for unnecessary roughness for his third-quarter hit on New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker in the AFC Championship Game. He was penalized 15 yards for striking an opponent in the head and neck area.
Later in the game, Pollard forced Patriots running back Stevan Ridley to fumble with a helmet-to-helmet hit that took Ridley out of the game. Pollard was not penalized or fined for that hit.