TAMPA - Same old NFL story, only issues have changed.
Do you ever see so much business related fodder disputed with an excess testosterone level as these periodical NFL labor negotiations?
Maybe a few decades back when unions and companies went toe to toe, only to realize no one wins. But darn it, we dug in for the fight, didn't we?
Back then, disputes mainly were about a pay hike that is dwarfed a thousand-fold by this latest NFL pre-lockout squabble.
Oh, there will be a lockout. Bank on it. How long? Not even the Commissioner can answer that question.
Roger Goodell had a very perplexed look on his face as he talked about zero-movement towards progress in a new collective bargaining agreement.
I understand his role is to protect the integrity of the league. Don't think for a minute he isn't standing in the line of fire, protecting the owners.
He better be, or he'll be jettisoned.
Millions and millions or dollars are at stake here. Even a small percentage gain is a big win for either side.
Everybody wants their share. Everybody but the fans. They get screwed every time.
You can throw fancy spin on it, but it true.
Fans are never seriously considered. These two sides have enough problems dealing with two-party issues.
Do you really believe the owners and the fans are sitting around right now saying," We need to get this thing done in the interest of the fans?"
If that were true, then the two sides would set aside a fund to bankroll the empty seats in stadiums to guarantee sellouts, leaving TV blackouts out completely.
I am at wits end sitting around watching what amounts to a slap in the face of the fans.
The NFL knows it has the best TV product out there. Ratings are growing in the face of diminishing returns elsewhere across the board.
It's the fans insatiable appetite for football that has both sides dug-in for a piece of what you, the fans, have produced.
NFL TV contracts are unbelievable. Why? Because of you, the consumer.
You have forced the hands of the networks. Hey, as they say in football, "The eye on the sky doesn't lie." Neither do ratings.
It's a printed-out version to move someone into a position of strength, or weakness in this business. Right now, NFL is King, Queen and Court.
Owners want an 18-game schedule down the road. That will happen, if the players get paid for it. Will it be good for the game? No.
You would think these knuckleheads have eyes, witnessing a rash of injuries this season.
However, they have found a way to stop that. Make up new rules, and likely expand the roster.
Will it cost the owners any more money? Not much. The extra five or so players on the roster will be ones that would have been on the practice squad.
At least, that's my thinking.
It's a matter of giving the networks an expanded product to sell, in the hopes they can recoup some those outlandish fees they pay to televise NFL games.
You can forget about the NFL going to pay-per-view. Why would they when they can rake in billions without the hassles of having to produce and sell the product.
Just have someone else write a check and let the good times roll.
What do you, the fan get out this? Nothing.
Do you really care if there is a 16 or 18 game schedule? I don't, and the players really don't either, even for more money.
The real issue -The NFL appears to be positioning itself for a fight to restrict player’s salaries. So says the players union.
I will agree on one owner’s contention: Put a cap on these ridiculous rookie salaries. After that, I don't much care.
Oh, and now it comes to light that the Congressman from Texas, Lamar Smith, basically told his peers to butt out of the NFL's CBA negotiations.
I sure the heck hope so. They all have their head wrapped around far more pressing issues, like health care and jobs.
You can be assured, if this lockout goes on for a spell, someone in Congress is going to speak up. Let's be real here.
When it comes to any NFL labor dispute, and a possible lockout, it draws significant attention and opinion.
When, for example, an airline workforce goes on strike, there's always another airline to fly. When the NFL goes dark, there isn't squat.
It is the only game in town, and that is why it is what it is today. No competition. Never will be, unless they want to extend the college football season by five games.
So, you the fans, I ask you this: Am I out of line here to think that the NFL, as one, should address the ever changing landscape of the real world that affects your ability to see the game?
Leaving it up to the individual teams is wrong. TV blackouts are a complete contradiction to the equal wealth spread across all 32 teams when it comes to league revenue.
If they all share in the rewards, then they should share equally in all matters.
If the NFL really cared about the fans all across the country, there would be no TV blackout rule.
Do you think the blackout rule will be a topic of negotiation? Do you think the players or owners will say, "Hey we need to talk about this." (I'm