NFL 2011 and the lockout

Before getting to football and a word from a sponsor, apparently there are other sports happening. Today begins the Iditarod. Do not confuse the Iditarod with Access-a-ride. The Iditarod is the famous Alaska sled dog race, where the huskies travel 1500 miles to their destination. The Access-a-ride picks up senior citizens at their homes and drives them to their destinations, usually a few blocks away. My late grandmother took the Access-a-ride to visit my late grandfather in the hospital a few times.

This concludes the Iditarod report. Now on to football.

NFL 2011 is threatened with talk of a lockout and decertification of the union.

President Obama was asked about the situation at his press conference, which proves that most American reporters are imbeciles.

I have been critical of Mr. Obama on many issues, but he is totally right to mind his own d@mn business on this one. When he said, “It turns out I have a lot of other stuff to do,” I gave him praise. I think the exact phrase was “You tell ’em, Big Ears.”

Yet while sports is not supposed to be life and death, I confess to worshiping at the altar of the National Football League. So it is this idolatry (not to be confused with Iditaroditry) that has me taking a shockingly anti-me position.

If the U.S. government shuts down, I don’t care. It’s not like the government does anything to benefit my life in any way. If teachers and legislators in Wisconsin want to go on strike, let them. Like French people going on strike, the difference would not be noticeable.

The NFL cannot shut down. It is the only hobby I have. I drove my parents crazy in 1982 for 9 weeks waiting for professional football to return. Nearly 30 years later, I still have no other hobbies. I could become more well rounded and spend my time at art galleries and museums. Unless that means a trip to Canton Ohio for another trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I think I will stick with what I know and enjoy.

So the players and owners must get a deal done. Do it for me, a fan.

In 1982 and 1987 I supported the owners because I loathe striking workers. Yet 2011 is different.

While I remain one of the most pro-business, pro-management, anti-union individuals on Earth, this situation is different. I find myself shockingly siding with the players.

The players are not threatening to strike. Therefore, both sides should agree to a no strike, no lockout scenario.

This situation could be solved in a day. For starters, the owners get one billion dollars off of the top of the nine billion total that they do not have the share with the players. They want this upped to two billion. Up it to 1.5 billion now with a provision that it ups to 2 billion when total revenues jump from 9 to 12 billion.

10% of the additional 500 million (20% when it becomes additional billion later on) must be used to pay for the medical care of retired football players. In the same way it is a disgrace that aging military veterans should lack decent care, football players should not put their bodies through hell and be financially abandoned when they can no longer care for themselves.

Another 10% should be used to study the effects of football on the brain. Dave Duerson did not die in vain. We must make the game safer, and the NFL has a moral and financial obligation to not hasten the deaths of its players.

As for an 18 game season, forget it. The fans do not want it. As a football addict myself, I can tell people better than most that an extra two games would be an extra two weeks that people did not spend with their loved ones. While many women do watch football, many others do not. Football widows lose their spouses for enough of the year. Adding to that is not good for marriages.

More importantly, the brutal toll of football on the body would lower the quality of the game. Injuries are rising, and more games means more injuries. This would shorten careers of players we grow to know and love.

Keep the salary cap in place. It clearly works from a competitive standpoint.

The reason why our government fails is because politicians do not make every move with the thought that it should be good for the country. What is good for the country is subjective, but politicians doing things solely to benefit themselves have lost their way.

So the only question players and owners should ask is “Is it good for the game of football?”

The game benefits when it takes care of its retired players, improves safety, remains competitive, and allows everybody to share an increasing financial revenue pie.

One area that has to be tackled is the rookie wage scale. A player should not get $50 million dollars before playing a single NFL game. Reducing rookie pay actually helps the players, owners, and game itself.

So to all in the NFL, Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith need to get a deal done now.

The fans deserve this.

A lockout is unacceptable. September must begin the 2011 NFL Season.


Now a word from a sponsor.

NFL, NFLPA Engaged In Serious Bargaining

Many people have been keeping an eye on the labor dispute between the NFL and the NFLPA. From fans, to pundits, to the NFL betting industry, to fantasy football players, everyone wants to know the same question: will we have football in 2011?

As of right now, nobody knows the answer.

There is a huge divide between the owners and players, but they have been locked into some serious debate this entire week. They have had the help of a federal mediator and the good news is that they haven’t been talking to the media, they haven’t speculated as to how close or far they are to finishing the agreement and they haven’t said a single word in regards to how their meetings have gone this week.

On one hand, it likely means that some progress has been made otherwise they wouldn’t still be talking. On the other hand, we’ve received no details and if the talks break off, they could break off for a long time.

A lockout would have a huge affect on the betting industry as NFL betting is the big ticket. How much of a big ticket? Las Vegas sports book operators suggest that the Vegas properties alone would suffer a $2.5 billion hit if there was no NFL season and that doesn’t include the sportsbooks online.

As of now, the current collective bargaining expires on March 3rd and from that point, the league would likely lock the players out. If it gets to that point, there likely won’t be much pressure on either side until the season starts to approach. At that point, both sides will see that money is being left on the table and they’ll sense more urgency to come to an agreement.

But the bigger hope is that both sides can finish off a successful week of negotiations with a new deal. Stay tuned.

This concludes the word from the sponsor.


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