Friday, April 8, 2011

NFL Lockout: Will There be a 2011 NFL Season? Don't Hold Your Breath

The players and owners still haven't come to an agreement and both sides want to blame each other. It's been the same old same old for the past few months since the players decided to "de-certify" or "strike" if you will.

There are now lawsuits, a judge with the middle name of 'Richard', players unable to contact their coaches and are not allowed to show up to NFL Draft parties where the media is present. At least that's the word here in Dallas when local radio stations were told only former Dallas Cowboys would be allowed to show up.

So, if you're holding your breath hoping these two sides will all of the sudden grow a conscience and come to some sort of an agreement, you're begging for a letdown.

Those who tell you there will be a season and that this will be figured out before training camp begins are only feeding you what they want to believe. They're not in the know and they're living on hopes and dreams like the rest of us.

We can talk about how this is about money, player safety, new rules, regulations, etc or we can just sit around and make jokes about the entire situation.

This isn't what anyone wanted. Not the players, not the owners, not the fans. No one. But the two sides decided they were going to play Democrats and Republicans and not agree on a single thing. They decided politics was better than facts and working through differences was just too difficult for any of them to do.

I'm not going to spare anyone and I'm not going to take blame away from either side. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees are just as much to blame as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, and the rest of the ownership who are making far too much money already.

The NFL is a business and the players are the ones you see outside a building carrying white signs which say "We Deserve More Money," or "We're on Strike." It's kind of like the people you've seen at the airport or outside the grocery stores who are daring you to cross their picket line. Then you do so with a sinister smile and an uncaring attitude about what their problem really is.

The most immature move to date, at least the one a lot of us know about, was the current NFL players pulling in the incoming draftees into this mess. Something that wasn't their fight all the sudden became very much a concern for them and their families.

The players wanted the incoming rookies to not attend draft day. They technically didn't "demand" it but the hint was thrown out where everyone caught wind of it. They wanted to take something away from these players, something these long time NFL players themselves had the chance to take part in. Yet, because they were on strike, they wanted to ruin this same opportunity for players who had nothing to do with it.

We don't what's going to happen from here or even if there's going to be an NFL season when October rolls around. We don't know if the two sides are ever going to get back to the bargaining table and sort out their differences without Judge Susan Richard Nelson getting involved.

Nothing good comes from bashing each other in a court room. It just builds the wall between the players and owners and creates even more animosity towards each other.

The bottom line is, this won't end well.

Goodell has already blamed the players for these problems and a few of them have fired back at the commissioner and have gone so far as to call him a flat out "liar." If that doesn't give you a good indication about how things are going to go from here, I don't know what will.

The NFL doesn't deserve a season in 2011. The players should stay home and watch college football and the Major League Baseball playoffs on their televisions. The UFL and IFL will thank them for more television coverage that normally they wouldn't get.

Fans will be the ones I will feel sorry for the most. Those who can't wait to root for their favorite team as they make the run to the Super Bowl. Not only them, but the ones who count on the NFL for employment. I'm speaking of ticket takers, concessions, team store sales clerks, and those who work at the stadiums each and every Sunday.

Those are the ones who will be left in the cold if this squabble isn't decided in the next few months.

Honestly, I'm just fine watching baseball instead of hearing about NFL's training camp, something which means less than baseball's spring training.

So, if you're ready to hear more about what's going on in the courtroom than what's happening on the field, than the next few months will be right up your alley.

But if you look forward to watching training camp coverage on the NFL Network every year, maybe you want to look forward to something else this time around.

Follow Todd Kaufmann @T_Kaufmann or find him on Facebook

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