March 4th is like an iceburg in the middle of the ocean that you are sailing towards.
And for football fans, its getting bigger and bigger.
The National Football League (NFL) and the Players Association (NFLPA) are trying to hash out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which expires March 3rd. After March 4th, if a new CBA isn’t reached, the players will be ‘locked out.’ That means the players won’t be able to participate in team activities, or get the necessary money to rehab any injuries they might have.
There are a lot of things that the NFL and the NFLPA have to negotiate to create a new CBA. A rookie salary-scale, as well as a possible 18-game schedule, is minor speed bumps in the road to a new CBA.
But the big speed bump appears to be the splitting of the revenue. According to ESPN.com, the league makes $9 billion annually. When they last negotiated a CBA in 2006, the players were given 60-percent of the league’s revenue.
But since 2006, the ‘bubble has burst.’
The owners are now claiming that, in this economy, the aren’t making as much revenue as they have in the past. Tickets sales are down, and the stadiums aren’t raking in as much money as they have in the past. The owners are starting to ‘hurt’ financially. This time around, they are looking to receive a larger chunk of the money, saying that players already are getting a lot of money in their salaries.
But along of with all of the issues they have to negotiate with themselves, they also have to deal with the media.
Both the NFL and NFLPA are using the media, from ESPN, to Twitter, and every website in between, to try and tell the public what is happening in the negotiations, and what they thing of it. It has become a “He-said/she-said” type argument, with lots of mud-slinging on both sides of the table.
The federal government has stepped in, sending in George Cohen, the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, to try and bring both sides together, to get an agreement together in the next week, to avoid a lockout.
One thing Cohen has recommended, to both sides, is to put a gag order on all negotiating talks. That means no one is allowed to talk to the media about anything going on.
All we know, is that this past weekend, both sides met for three days straight, totaling over 20 hours. Now, I know you may not think that is a lot, but considering how heated both sides were getting, that is a lot of time.
So keep an ear out football fans. T-minus one week. Before the federal mediation, it looked like both sides weren’t going to get together. But there is a ray of hope shining on that iceberg, a glimpse that there will be a new CBA, and that there will be a 2011 season.
But even without a CBA, there will still be a draft. So even if there is a lockout, at least we have the draft right? Sort of like a small consolation prize. But if there is a lockout, the draft could be the last football we see for a while.
Positive thoughts football fans. Positive thoughts.