Will NFL Exist In 30 Years?
A hot topic around the Super Bowl has been the issue of player safety, which the NFL has worked to improve though rules changes in recent years.
The issue was magnified when President Barack Obama said that if he had a son, he'd "have to think long and hard before I let him play football."
Ravens safety Bernard Pollard is known as an outspoken critic of some of the recent rules changes the NFL has instituted to protect offensive players from helmet-to-helmet contact. In a recent interview with Clark Judge of CBSSports.com, Pollard expressed doubts about the long-term sustainability of the NFL.
"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."
The struggle with the player safety rules, Pollard said, is that collisions are getting increasingly violent because the players are consistently getting bigger and stronger.
"The league is trying to move in the right direction [with player safety]," he said, "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. We've had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it sucks.
"Like I said, I pray it never happens, but you've got guys who are 350 pounds running 4.5 and 4.4s, and these owners and coaches want scout-run blockers and linemen to move walls. At the same time, they tell you, 'Don't hit here, and don't hit there, or we'll take your money.' Like I said, I hope I'm wrong, but I just believe one day there's going to be a death that takes place on the field because of the direction we're going."
Pollard's comments have dominated national headlines, but he wasn't the only member of the Ravens to speak to the issue of player safety.
Safety Ed Reed agreed with Obama in the sense that he won't push his son to play football.
"I am with Obama," Reed said Monday. "I have a son. I am not forcing football on my son. If he wants to play it … I can't make decisions for him. All I can do is say, 'Son, I played it so you don't have to.'"
However, Super Bowl coaches John and Jim Harbaugh disagreed with the president, and spoke about the values they learned from being involved with the game.
"Football's a great game," John said. "And everybody who's played the game know what a great game it is and what it provides young people and what it provided someone like me — an opportunity to grow as a person," he said. "It's challenging. It's tough, hard. There's no game like football. It's the type of sport that brings out the best in you. It kind of shows you who you are."
Guide To Crazy Prop Bets
The Super Bowl is a gambler's paradise, and not just because this year's event is in New Orleans.
A huge part of Super Bowl week are all of the "prop bets" associated with the game. Casinos in Las Vegas release Super Bowl books about 30 pages thick, which allow people to be on just about anything related to the game.
Here's a look at some of the crazy prop bets for Super Bowl XLVII:
- How long will it take for Alicia Keys to sing the National Anthem? Over/Under 2 minutes, 15 seconds
- Heads or tails on the coin toss
- Who will be mentioned more by full name during the broadcast: Jim Harbaugh or John Harbaugh
- How many times "Harbaugh" is said during the game: Over/Under 20.5
- How many average viewers will thee game have: Over/Under 111 million
- What color will the Gatorade be that gets dumped on the winning coach?
- If Ray Lewis is interviewed on the field or in the locker room, how many times will be mention God/Lord: Over/Under 3
Flacco Says Cold Weather Super Bowl Is Stupid
The Ravens and 49ers have the luxury of playing this year's Super Bowl in New Orleans, where it was 70 degrees when then the Ravens stepped off the plane.
Next year, however, the Super Bowl will be played in the elements of New York at the Jets' and Giants' new MetLife Stadium.
One person who isn't a fan of a cold weather Super Bowl is , who spoke against it during his press conference Monday.
"I think it's stupid," Flacco said. "If you want a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium. Then you can get one. Other than that I don't really like the idea. I don't think people would react very well to it, or be glad to play anybody in that kind of weather."
- Ray Lewis says this is his last ride. But Ed Reed said that Lewis might not be done, and maybe he "plays 10 games next year." [NFL.com]
- John Harbaugh says Cam Cameron laid the foundation for the Ravens' offense. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Can Ravens handle pass rusher Aldon Smith? [The Baltimore Sun]
- @RavensInsider: Ed Reed on his late brother: "He's already proud. He's looking down on me. He's here with me." [Twitter]
- John Harbaugh drawing on Super Bowl experience from his time with former Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid. [The Baltimore Sun]
- NFL mulling Pro Bowl options. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has floated out the idea of cancelling the game, but he said he was impressed with the performance last Sunday. [NFL.com]
- How Muhammad Ali molded the Ravens. Check out the speeches from John and Jack Harbaugh from when the champ visited the Ravens during training camp. [Rave TV]