A Sunday afternoon would not be the same without a Patriots game on CBS. Almost every weekend in the fall and winter, New Englanders gather together at home, at bars and at Gillette Stadium to watch their beloved Patriots make their annual quest for the Super Bowl. But what happens if the gates of Gillette Stadium stay locked? What do we do if CBS is broadcasting re-runs of CSI: Miami instead of Pats games? Can we survive in a world without professional football?
We should not have to ask ourselves these questions, but the 32 owners in the National Football League don't care. They don't care about fans, they don't care about the players and they certainly don't care if there’s a lockout — especially if they still get paid. That sounds like it will be the case, according to the Huffington Post. The owners have no problem with finances if the 2011-12 season is put to rest.
Basically, the only people who won't be suffering come fall will be the owners. Players have been warned to prepare for pay cuts and a potential decline in health care coverage. Sure, they most likely won't be stricken with poverty, but players are miserable when they can't play.
Communities will also suffer. Stadium employees will be without jobs, and local businesses who count on the income generated by customers coming in to watch football games or eat after the game will also take a hit. In an economic period when growth is stalled, the greed of NFL ownership could cripple local communities that need all the revenue they can get. The owners don’t recognize this, and their demands keep coming.
NFL owners think that they need $1 billion more a year in order for the league to function. Citing reasons like legal fees and stadium upkeep, they’re more than willing to shut down the league if they don’t get this "necessary" increase. And where does this money come from? Taxpayers. With the exception of Green Bay, which is run as a nonprofit, even people who could care less about football have to pay for it. A $1 billion increase could mean that taxpayers, many of whom are having a hard enough time trying to make ends meet, would have to find a way to shell out more money. And this is all because owners, who aren't struggling at all financially, demand it. Where is Robin Hood when you need him?
The owners also want a longer season, proposing that the number of preseason games be cut from four to two, adding two more games to the regular season. This might not be a bad scenario for fans, as they will be able to take in more games, but for players it's a different story. The biggest concern is that players will get injured in these two additional games, especially since these games will come earlier in the season. Teams obviously play harder when games count and when more is on the line, and eliminating preseason games gives them less time to get ready for the regular season.
The worst part of this entire scenario is that the players have asked for very little. Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recognizes this. In a written statement on NFLLabor.com, he wrote, "The union has repeatedly said that it hasn’t asked for anything more and literally wants to continue playing under the existing agreement. That clearly indicates the deal has moved too far in favor of one side."
With the owners refusing to take less than they demand, it looks as though NFL followers will have to find other ways to spend their Sundays and Monday nights –- raking Robert Kraft’s lawn, perhaps?
Are the NFL owners making legitimate demands? Will the two sides reach an agreement? Share your thoughts below.