Will There be Football Next Year?

The clock is ticking. The representatives from each side are stating their positions as well as their demands. Neither side is budging. No, this isn’t the Congress, and I’m not talking about the budget. This is the NFL, and the owners and players union are trying to overcome their impasse to avoid a lockout of the 2011-2012 season.

As you know, I love professional football. Not including the Olympics, it is the only sport I look forward to each year. Hockey, baseball, basketball, etc are only interesting in 30-second clips on ESPN, especially when a player makes a major mistake or an incredible play. So the fact that I might miss out of the chance that the New York Giants return to the Super Bowl is very disheartening.

The stalemate between the two sides is, as with most things, over how much money the owners can earn. I do agree that the owners deserve to make money, since they are the ones who risk capital in this major investment that could be very successful (New England Patriots) or perennial losers (Detroit Lions). However, their desire to fill their stadiums with as many people and as often as possible has them wanting to extend the season to 18 games.

On the other hand, the true talent of the sport (the players) are the ones who put their physical lives at risk to entertain us. The leather helmets are out, while the most advanced helmets are in. With the growing awareness of the long-term problems associated with concussions, new helmet designs are being made as well as increased pressure by the coaching staff to sit starters who may have suffered a concussion during the game. With the owners wanting to add two additional games to an already extended schedule, the players are calling foul because they fear their long-term health (and demanding long-term health care coverage).

I don’t know if the two sides will come to an agreement this Friday, or if they will extend the talks even further. I do know that if the owners do get an 18-game season, they need to have two “bye weeks” in order to allow the teams to rest their players and allow them to heal. Also, these bye weeks can’t start in week 4. Seriously? Does it really do a team any favor to have a week off in the fourth week of the season, when there are 13 (or 15, if the season is extended) more games to be played? Bye weeks shouldn’t occur before week 6.

On the flip side, if there is a lock out, player jersey’s might be on sale since we don’t know if the players will return to their current teams. Of course, if you are after Super Bowl goodies, you’ll have an additional year of Green Bay Packers memorabilia to deal with (which is great if you are a fan of the Cheese Heads). Until then, I’ll curl up in my New York Giants Snuggie and wait patiently.

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