Bernard Pollard changed the landscape in the argument of NFL player safety yesterday, giving insight into what one of the hardest-hitters in the league thinks about the new, "safer" direction that Roger Goodell is trying to implement.
In doing so, the Ravens' safety highlighted the vast difference between the desires of coaches and the commissioner in addition to basically comparing NFL enthusiasts to barbaric gladiator fans, saying,
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 league is trying to move in the right direction [with player safety], 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.
I guess recalling the punishment he inflicted on Patriots' tailback Stevan Ridley during the Ravens' AFC Championship victory is really weighing on Pollard, as this is a deep topic to delve into just a week before the Ravens' second Super Bowl appearance of the 21st century.
Pollard maintains that the NFL will not survive another 30 years of change, but fails to make it clear as to whether he believes that is due to fans "get[ting] fed up" with personal fouls or, God forbid, "a guy dying on the field".
Regardless, it seems that Pollard went a little overboard in his commentary, and while a tragedy such as a death on the field could further change the outlook of the game, freak accidents occur in every sport, lending that the NFL, by far the most popular sport in America, is here to stay.
Here are five reasons why...