Sports fans everywhere have been watching with great interest as the once spotless NFL decided that it was time to have labor trouble. If you have been following the story at all, you know that owners and players were trying to reach a deal that ended up not happening. A lockout ensued and the owners are pointing to the players as the problem and vice versa.
The owners in my opinion are the ones that are on the bad side here. The decided they wanted more money out of the cash cow and have been leaning that direction for a while. The players, while not spotless, are the ones that are bringing in the people that watch. They are the ones with the talents and skills that make our teams shine on Sundays. They have a right to want what they want.
NFL officials were asked recently about the possibility of replacement players if it comes time for the season to start. Roger Goodell said that this wasn’t their plan. Right after that, notice how he also says that owners are planning to play a full season. What does this mean if the labor troubles last into the season? Put two and two together and you get, replacement players.
Replacements hit the field in the 1987 season and while the quality of the games went down, it was just enough to get the players of the opinion that it was time to cross the lines and play again. This situation could be different. Will the owners let individual players cross the lines to play? I’m not sure that they will.
The big problem here is that owners hold most of the cards in this battle, whether their cause is right or not. They are the ones with the teams, the deals to play at certain fields and built in fan bases for most of the teams in the league.
The solution to all of this is simple if someone is gutsy enough to try it. There has been noise about a Spring league and that seems to be a great answer to the problems that are in the NFL. People love football and people love to cheer their team on to victory. When you combine these with the warmer weather of Spring, you get a recipe for something special. Players would have a place to play and teams would develop a following fast. It might also milk some of that cash cow on behalf of a new business model.
The NFL and Players Association seem on the brink of taking a collective stupid pill and it’s unfortunate. Now is the time to say that they want to play and move on rather than having a pointless public argument about this or that. A replacement league would not have the baggage of the NFL and if labor problems continue on to next season, we would see the rival league not only survive but also thrive.