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The (Possible) NFL Strike

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on March 28, 2011

It’s hard to imagine that the NFL players and owners won’t come to a bargaining agreement. There is seemingly too much money and too many brains involved for there not to be a deal. But there is a long history of monumental incompetence on the part of the players’ union, and since Ronald Reagan told us that greed is OK, the greed of NFL owners has been equally remarkable. So, they could blow it.

What surprises me is how little I care. If there’s no NFL season I doubt I will give it a thought.

The disappointing play last season of the two teams I follow – the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals (who I watch only because they are the local team) – may be one reason I’m not enthusiastic for another NFL season to begin. Another is that I also love college football, and the college season should be football fun enough for me this fall, as my team, Oklahoma, will be ranked very high, perhaps even #1, when the season opens. OU should be stronger than a bear’s breath. Besides, no Sunday football means more time to enjoy the Sunday New York Times.

But maybe I’m just tired of watching billionaires and millionaires behaving badly.

If I had to pick a dog in this cat fight, I guess it would be the players. They’re only millionaires, not billionaires, and their careers are short. They have to make what money they can in a few seasons. Owners have long careers. In fact, they seem to hang around like Middle East potentates and dictators.

If I understand the dispute, and the true facts are always obscure, the owners want the players to play two more games a season AND give back some money. Without knowing any more about it, this just doesn’t seem right.

The careers of players are so short due to the wear and tear of their experiencing what amounts to sixteen car wrecks a season. Adding two more wrecks is likely to shorten the players’ careers even more. Shorter career, less money per game?  Who would agree to that?

Coincidentally (well, maybe not coincidentally) a book came out recently titled “The Unbroken Line” about the NFL strike of 1982. It’s co-authored by Billy Joe DuPree, a Dallas Cowboy great who became a reluctant union activist, and Spencer Knopf (whom I happen to know), who apparently devised and executed the strategy that saved the players and the season in 1982, as well as an incompetent union and greedy owners from themselves, in the process.

The book provides interesting background and offers some insight as to what could be happening this time around. Side thought, evoked from the book’s exhibits: it’s amazing how little the great NFL players of the pre-1982 era were earning back then.

So, I hope the players get more out of the negotiation. Whatever the compensation, however, I’m not sure money alone is the best benefit they could ask for. Healthcare and annuities might serve them far better. In fact, the NFL should probably have some kind of a V.A. System. After all, it’s basically war in which the players engage each Sunday.

But either way, this is the last thought I’m going to give, and the last words I’m going to write, about the NFL unless and until there is a season. Boomer Sooner!

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