There are few surer tacklers or harder hitters in the NFL than Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard. So when I consulted him on where the game is going, I wanted his take on what the league might look like in, say, 10 to 15 years.
Not surprisingly, he said it would continue to be played and watched by millions. But it's what he said afterward that I didn't expect.
"Thirty years from now," he 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.
"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."