01 March 2006

NFL and the CBA

Greed. That's the bottom line.

Now I'm not saying that the owners should be able to hoard millions of money at the expense of the players who are putting their bodies through various unnatural forms of stress. Nor am I saying that, on rough averages, $500,000 extra per player per year is something to dismiss. But that one of the final stumbling blocks is a 3.8% dispute is honestly ridiculous. And that percentage really can also stand for the percent of the CBA discussion that is going wrong, but that stupid number may threaten football as we know it.

Some people, aside from the athletes, are hoping the CBA doesn't go through so their team can no longer be restricted by the salary cap, and that pesky "parity" thing goes away and football turns into the baseball league that a lot of people are sick of. The free agency system alone won't stop teams for loading up year-after-year with studs and semi-studs to pound their way to at least the playoffs. Dallas, Washington, New England, and yes, even my beloved, Cleveland Browns could become perenial playoff contenders, while Kansas City, Indy, and San Diego become scrub teams again who may once a decade make the playoffs.

And while I'm always one to root for the underdog, beating the yearly powerhouse every once in a blue-moon doesn't hold the luster as knowing that you showed yourself as head-and-shoulders above a deep league. I'd rather have my team beat an SEC type league, which almost every year top-to-bottom is competitive than punching bag leagues like PAC-10 or the Big East. Big yawn.

If the CBA doesn't get extended and the salary cap goes away, yes, we may find the reign of dynasties returns, but is that really good for football? As much as parity may seem to suck, foregone conclusions are much more dull. And I find the New England's 3 in 4 years run equally impressive with that of Dallas or Pittsburgh, even if I couldn't tell you half of their starting players.

Bottom-line is if the CBA doesn't get done, my interest in the NFL will likely fade as the greedy get greedier.


At 1:00 PM, Blogger Dante said...

I've got a theory that all professional sports leagues have to shoot themselves in the foot when they get too popular. ML Baseball decided to strike while they were arguably the top sport in the US. The NBA had a lockout when basketball was still the very solid #3 sport in this country and looked to give baseball a run for its money within a few years. The NHL... nevermind. Now the NFL is part of the #1 sport in the country and they just can't take the popularity. They have to do something to kill it.

The NFL needs a good kick in the pants right now and if they're not going to get it from someone else, they'll kick themselves. Where is Tex Schramm when you need him? Personally, I'd rather see a scab league than dynasty league.


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