TURIN, Italy, July 25, 2011—You might not have heard: the NFL lockout is over.
I know, I know – according to the (ahem) subtle ESPN coverage of the summer-long CBA saga, the deal struck today by owners and players signals the end of the bitter tension between these two entities, commissioner Roger Godell, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and legions of frustrated (yet helplessly devoted) fans. As Goodell dramatically claimed in his official press conference today, “Football is back.”
Look, I’m thrilled that the pads will be thrown back on. No one is happier that the debate of 3-4 versus 4-3 lives on, or that some team will overpay Braylon Edwards to get some “Top Ten” love on SportsCenter a couple of times. For better or for worse, the NFL will get back to business, and I love it. (I mean, I have cable in my college apartment for the first time ever, and no football would derail much of my procrastination—a horrid thought.)
But don’t expect me to grovel.
Fact is, the NFL was never going anywhere. ESPN, the glorified hype machine, so absurdly dramatized the situation that we were all searching for its Netflix seasons. The endless, monotonous and cheesy clips of empty stadiums, padlocked fences and overstuffed behemoths strolling the streets of New York and Washington in business attire served no purpose greater than fluff to fill the lockout’s time slot. Quite simply, they had nothing new to report.
Of course the powers that be wouldn’t cancel football; the act would be as close to canceling Christmas as one could get. The NFL is a $9 billion dollar enterprise. Jerry Jones would rather succumb to his double chin than to jeopardize that stream of revenue. Sure, owners can point to victories in the agreement, as highlighted by Yahoo! Sports: player gained “a higher percentage of all revenue, one of the central issues—they get 53 percent, players 47 percent; the old deal was closer to 50-50. There’s also a new system that will rein in spending on contracts for first-round draft picks.”
Really, though, the legal jargon can be pared down into one simple, almost asinine question: how to split up the $9 billion dollars.
Yep. We waited 18 months for the owners and players to answer that.
Now, instead of overjoyed, the rest of us are annoyed and weary at the lockout’s end. Give us a good product on the field this year and perhaps tensions will be quelled. But that doesn’t mean we’ll forget.
Read more of Sam Bovard’s work at Balls Without Discretion in the Communities at The Washington Times.
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