There's no guarantee the group will return as scheduled for Super Bowl XLVI.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell delivered his most sobering public message to date about the league's labor impasse after a two-day owners meeting in Indianapolis. Goodell alluded to the decline in the league's popularity — particularly drops in Internet traffic and television ratings for April's college draft — as well as slumping ticket sales since the player lockout began in mid-March.
"That is a reflection of the uncertainty and frustration of our fans," Goodell said during a post-meeting news conference. "We all understand that. That is why we think it needs to get resolved. There are also financial consequences of that."
Those consequences are being felt by league and team employees who have gotten their salaries slashed because of the work stoppage. The next shoe to fall may be the cancellation of NFL games and, if the situation becomes dire enough, an entire season for the first time in league history.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.