Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that yesterday was Super Bowl XLV. It was great not only because the Green Bay Packers won, but that the Pittsburgh Steelers, who I loath, lost. And as customary, we begin to look at what might happen next season and the possible contenders for Super Bowl XLVI. The one problem is there might not be a 2011 season and Super Bowl XLVI, that is if the collective bargaining agreement runs out and the team owners force a lockout.
The NFL Players Association, the union representing the players, and the owners of the NFL teams are currently stalled in neogiations for a new contract. The biggest contention like with any contract is money. The owners want to pull more money off the top and force a lower salary cap on rookies. They also want to extend the season by two weeks to be able to rake in more revenues while giving the players less. Sounds very greedy, no? While I typically denounce the high salaries of athletes, I have to side with them on this issue. The players are the ones going out there every week, risking their health to play a sport that they love for the entertainment of their fans. They're earning that money while the owners sit in their climate controlled luxury suites entertaining high end guests. They aren't doing any real work with this, the whole thing is a large investment for them, like buying stock in General Motors or Apple or Wal-Mart. And the players have a valid argument against adding two more weeks into the season, it would increase the risk of injury and shorten their careers. The last thing we need are backups and third string players leading their teams into the playoffs, but it might happen. What would be amazing is if NFL cities followed the business model that has kept the Packers in Green Bay, let the citizens of the city hold majority control of the team, allowing most of the revenue to be funnelled back into the town which would lower taxes and improve education. Green Bay has some of the best public schools in the country and virtually no taxes, because of the all the revenue the team brings in for the town. Imagine if all the NFL cities did that, the economy would rebound almost instantly and people might be compelled to go to more games because they know that they would be benefiting their local economy.
I really hope that NFLPA can win this round with the owners, because I have a feelings 2011 will be just as exciting, if not more, than 2010.