As far as longtime sports broadcaster Bob Costas is concerned, the future of football in the United States is clear — and bleak.

“The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains," he said Tuesday night.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion at the University of Maryland, Costas, who hosted Football Night in America on NBC for more than a decade, said the sport could collapse over time, barring a development in technology to make it reasonably safe. He said the decline of football, which was once “a cash machine,” is the most significant story in American sports.

“The cracks in the foundation are there,” Costas said. “The day-to-day issues, as serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”

Costas spoke alongside USA TODAY Sports columnist Christine Brennan and ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon at the university’s annual Shirley Povich Symposium, named after the late Washington Post sports columnist. The panel touched on a wide range of topics, including Jemele Hill’s suspension at ESPN and the ever-changing landscape of sports journalism, but the future of football became a recurring theme.