Super Bowl Sunday is again upon us and tens of millions all across the globe will be glued to their TVs to watch the hard-hitting action.
Others may be tuning in strictly to see Beyonce perform, but thatís besides the point.
While much of the talk has been about the farewell tour of Baltimoreís Ray Lewis or the emergence of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, I think probably the most interesting discussion has been about the future of football as a sport.
Ravens safety Bernard Pollard told reporters that he doesnít see football even existing 30 years from now. He cites safety concerns and the NFLís inability to ever completely rid itself of some of the terrible head injuries that are plaguing the sport.
He went on to say that fans will tire of the softening of the game and eyeballs, money and interest will go elsewhere. The NFL is on a slippery slope; itís the most profitable sporting league in North America but the very thing that so many fans love about the game ó its violence ó may be its ultimate undoing.
Earlier this month, Junior Seauís family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL and football helmet manufacturer Riddell. Seau, who killed himself from a self-inflicted gunshot wound last May, was a linebacker for 20 years in the league and his family blames the NFL for hiding the danger of repetitive blows to the head. Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from his years in the sport and his story is one of many. More than 3,000 players have sued the NFL over head injuries and itís not going away anytime soon.
Itís unfortunate what happened to Seau and many like him but itís hard to believe players donít know the risks of football ó this isnít chess weíre talking about. Weíre learning new things every day about brain injuries and I donít think itís fair to sue the NFL for things we were barely aware of even 10 years ago.
The sad truth is that unless football finds a way to better protect its players, the game will eventually wane. Former players like Kurt Warner and Troy Aikman have said they wouldnít let their kids play football and who knows what more we will discover about CTE in the future.
So, enjoy the big game on Sunday but keep in mind that all the glitz, glamour, hard hits and Beyonce belting out tunes at halftime might become nothing more than a memory in the not-so-distant future.