The NFL as we knew it died on Tuesday. With NFL owners and players set for one final round of negotiations Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., it's clear that at midnight on Thursday, that the two sides won't be reaching a conclusion in their impasse to divide $9 Billion in revenue.
When the Owners opted out of the current deal two years ago it was clear their primary objective was to bust the union. And with threats that the Union might indeed be decertifying, as they've threatened to do, then consider that a win for the NFL owners.
However, with Doty's ruling the ‘Billionaire Boys Club' took a shot in the gut. And though fans generally don't have any sympathy for either side in this dispute, it's still sad that a common sense deal can't be reached.
With the economy still in a state of flux, the heart and soul of the NFL's fan base, the working class, isn't going to spend too much time wondering when the two sides will strike a deal. They're going to move onto other sports or other interests.
Instead, they'll spend their hard earned dollars on their mortgages, college educations for their children and prepare for gas prices to hit $4.00 plus per gallon. In fact, with prices for common goods, like groceries, clothing and other necessary items at their highest level, the common folk, won't spend a single minute on the NFL's negotiating impasse.
And in markets like Kansas City, you're going to see this town convert back to it's core – as a baseball town. With the Royals youth movement in full swing, there is hope that they, not the Chiefs, will be at the center of the passion among the local fan base.
With attendance floundering at Arrowhead and with no games currently scheduled for the 2011 NFL season, the Royals are going to be the primary benefactor for the local sports dollars.
The NFL is in a precarious position this morning. They know they're the Golden Goose of sports but they are about to cross the Mendoza line. And what they do on the other side, might just determine how successful they're going to be in the next decade.
When Major League Baseball shut down the season back in August of 1994, they nearly destroyed the sport and it took some 232 days for the two sides to settle their differences. And worse it took Major League Baseball nearly five years to recover. And to do so, they had to make some drastic changes.
They doctored baseballs so they flew out of ballparks at a record pace. Corked Bats were in every clubhouse and the steroid era gave average athletes super human abilities to hit baseballs farther and gave above average pitchers the ability to throw three to five miles an hour quicker to home plate.
The NFL can't make such a drastic change in their game. And while the powers at be in Major League Baseball knew what had to be done, it was calculated. And it worked. Today Baseball has fully recovered form the ‘Barry Bonds' era of steroids. Sure it still has some items to clean out in court but honestly nobody really cares about the games biggest fraud.
At this moment, Baseball Fans don't really care about how the game became a passion again, there just glad it's back. And with the game flourishing, revenues on the rise, it's suddenly become a sport that could challenge the NFL's dominance.
And even though come the end of May, only ten baseball teams will be factors in September, fans will still flock to stadiums in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and other markets that have NFL teams playing in the same city.
The NFL Owners clearly have a strong case to dictate fiscal spending. But when a team like the Oakland Raiders pays out $81 Million to a group of journeyman players such as DE Richard Seymour ($30 Million), DT John Henderson ($8 Million), CB Stanford Routt ($31.5 Million) and Kamerion Wimbley ($11.5 Million), they lose their position. To be fair Wimbley is deserving of his paycheck. But the others are at best minimum dollar guys.
In the end both sides have a legitimate case. The players don't have to pay any of the expenses that NFL owners are responsible for on a daily basis to run their respective franchises. And the owners don't have to play the game on the field that will more than likely cripple many of these modern day gladiators at some point in their life.
So how will it end? I guess the bigger question is that when it does, and it will, how many fans will even care when the sport returns at some point in 2011.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can MLB overtake the NFL if there is a prolong work stoppage?
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