The NFL has been considered America's favorite sport for quite some time now and has produced many of the greatest athletes ever. The game has always been admired for its tough and gritty style. The hard hitting by defenders has always added the necessary excitement as it shows the fans and viewers just how passionate a player is about stopping the next guy from making a play.

However, what has been a beloved sport for many decades, has suddenly turned into a disease plagued league since the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, better known as Cte.

The first case that CTE was discovered to have caused the death of a retired NFL player was that of Mike Webster in 2002.

The discovery of the disease would later inspire the movie "Concussion" that starred actor Will Smith, who portrayed Dr. Bennet Omalu.

The effect CTE has had on the National Football League and its players

The NFL is not the only sport where CTE has been linked to the death of some of its ex-players. Pretty much every athlete that participates in any contact sport is capable of contracting the disease.

Unfortunately, the NFL is the one sport where players have been proven to take the most brutal shots to the head and it has produced the highest rate of CTE in its deceased players.

CNN recently reported the actual statistics of CTE found in deceased NFL players.

"CTE was found in 99% of deceased NFL players brains that were donated to scientific research, according to a study published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA."

Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger spoke to the "Tribune Review" about his feelings on CTE and the role the disease has played on him deciding to retire soon.

"I want to play catch with my kids," Rothlisberger said. "I want to know my kids' names. As much as I want my kids to remember what I did and watch me play the game, I also want to remember them when I am 70 years old."

Long term future of the game may require increased salaries

NFL players are very well paid athletes because of the popularity of football and the punishment the players take out on the field.

However, what most people don't take into consideration is the number of games played during the season. The NFL plays 16 games for a stretch of about four months throughout the year.

Potentially, CTE may result in less parents allowing their children to play the game. The future of the game may become uncertain, so possibly the onyl way to keep the game alive will be to remunerate players even better than the salaries they currently earn.

Football has been proven to be a beloved sport and the players who participate in it have shown they are willing to put their lives on the line to satisfy their fans and provide for their families. Although contracting CTE will always be a risk, the game of football will have a future only if the players' salaries match the risks of CTE