Football fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
With the clock running out on negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Football League owners and the NFL Players Association agreed to two extensions to the CBA. First, the two sides agreed to a 24 hour extension, meaning the two sides had 24 extra hours to negotiate. On Friday, with the business day winding down, they agreed to another extension, this time, an extra week, meaning that the old CBA now expires on Friday, March 11th, at 11:59 p.m.
Now, you may ask why they agreed to an extension.
Both sides want to get an agreement done. They last thing they want is for the old CBA to expire. If the Players Association feels like a deal won’t get done, they will decertify, meaning that the players can sue the NFL in an anti-trust lawsuit. On the flip side, if the CBA expires, the owners can lockout the players, meaning that the players wouldn’t be able communicate with management, workout at the teams and facilities, and not get health insurance.
It is a lose-lose situation of all sides. And that is what they want to avoid.
If the CBA expires, teams won’t be able to trade players, sign free-agents, and start practice for the upcoming season. And, if these negotiations go to court, it could be a while until fans see football played on the field, with the possibility of missing games.
If the NFL doesn’t have a season, the owners won’t get money from concessions and ticket prices, and players won’t get their game checks. Everyone will suffer.
That is why it is really promising that they extended the deadline of the old CBA. This shows that both sides are getting closer. Over the last couple weeks, both sides have been in Washington D.C., with federal mediators directing the negotiations. Sure, they are still far apart on the important issues, like the split of the revenue, an 18-game season, and a rookie wage scale. But with the federal mediators, it has appeared that both sides are getting closer, or are confident that both sides are working for an agreement.
As fans, these extensions mean more of a wait. But in the grand-scheme of things, these extensions give us a glimmer of hope that they will negotiate a new CBA, and we see football on the field this season.
Let’s hope that there is good news at the end of this week.
Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.
I would love to hear your feedback.