I was going to post this in the thread about suspensions for head-to-head shots, but it got a little long. Anyway, my poll question would be:
In 25 years, the NFL will no longer exist. True or false?
Let me elaborate.I wonder if parents are going to stop allowing their kids to play football out of fear of the long-term consequences of concussions. I have a 6-month-old nephew, and I was watching football with my his dad (my brother-in-law) over the weekend. My b-i-l said that he won't allow his son to play football, and he loves football as much as any other red-blooded American male. I feel the same way - if I have a son, no ways he's play football. How many other parents will feel the same?
Sure, kids can start playing at 18, but without a pipeline of kids coming up from high schools and learning the game at that level (and in youth leagues), I can't see how college and NFL football can survive.
Here's the counter-argument. Football is a billion-dollar business, and those don't die out overnight (or even over 25 years) without a fight. There are plenty of other dangerous jobs that people still do, and most of them don't pay anywhere near as well as NFL player. It's possible the NFL will make serious changes to combat concussions - even if it means something as drastic as going back to leather helmets. It's also possible that there will be changes in the equipment (short of going back to leather helmets) that prevent concussions. Also, maybe there will be advances in medicine that will eliminate the long-term effects of concussions.
But if you're asking me how I would vote in my poll, I say "true." The NFL will cease to exist withing 25 years, give or take. At the bare minimum, the sport will be so changed that it will be virtually unrecognizable.