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Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow…

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Mar 14 2011 @ 3:29 pm In NFL | 2 Comments

Who is to blame? Is the NFL to blame for the current predicament that football fans face? Blame the players. Blame the owners. Blame the NFL Blame the TV networks. Blame the fans for watching the games or the fans for still purchasing their season ticket packages. Blame anyone you like because there is no wrong answer.

[1]We blame everyone, since grown men of goodwill, common sense and reasonable intelligence should have been able to figure out how to carve up a $9 billion pie – especially with two years’ notice. As of Friday, the collective failure moved onto the next phase – decertifying the NFLPA and ensuring that the situation now has to be settled in court – if not by Congress. All involved have long resisted any suggestion that Congress be involved in the labor dispute between the NFL and the NFLPA.* That is precisely what remains on the table after 17 days of concentrated deliberation filled with sound and fury but signifying nothing.

[2]What effect does the NFLPA decertification and the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement have on the NFL Draft? Plenty. The NFLPA, which was a labor union until last week’s decertification, advised incoming rookies to attend last month’s Scouting Combine. The philosophy was that all parties (NFL, owners, players, labor unions, TV networks, ancillary industries predicated on the operation of the NFL, etc.) were operating in good faith, expecting a settlement to occur long before the April Draft.

[3]The NFLPA is now considered a trade association (after last week’s decertification) and reportedly have revised their advice, suggesting those incoming rookies collectively turn down invitation to attend next month’s draft.

[4]Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that “the NFLPA already has contacted 17 top prospects that would have received an invitation to attend the draft and informed them not to go.”

The NFLPA* has even considered making the players available on another network (not NFL Network for obvious reasons) in order to conduct impartial, unbiased, independent post-pick interviews. It remains unclear how the NFLPA* has the authority to tell the incoming rookies anything. The NFLPA* control over the existing NFL players is relatively well-defined (even after decertification as a trade association).

[5] [6]However, even if the NFLPA*(trade association) still existed as the entity NFLPA (labor union), they couldn’t tell incoming college players who have yet to be drafted to do anything. These college players don’t belong to the union until they have signed contracts with NFL teams. There is also nothing to stop college players from considering alternative options – such as signing with the United Football League, Canadian Football League or the Arena Football League. The longer that the NFL labor situation remains in limbo, the more likely it is that the season (if not the training camp and preseason) will be curtailed. Should the court litigation drag [7]through the summer, it could affect NFL teams ability to sign long-term contracts with the incoming rookie class.

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[9]Perhaps college’s new crop would be likely to sign one year deals with CFL, UFL or Arena League teams, hoping to negotiate huge rookie NFL contracts in 2012 when the labor situation has been settled – assuming that it will. Bottom line? This could get extremely interesting over the next 6 weeks.

[10]Seems that everything hinges upon billionaires arguing with millionaires about who gets what percentage of the revenue. In this economy, in this world, it is unfathomable to make sense of what this all really means. Are they fools? Are they kings squabbling while the peasants suffer?

It is clear that the NFL is on the clock…

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