Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you already know about the forth-coming expiration of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
If the two sides involved, the players union and the owners, don't come to an agreement and sign a new one, the owners will lock the players out.
A lock out is basically what it sounds like, the owners will not allow the players to use any of the facilities or play NFL games until a new agreement is reached.
If you listen to the owners they say they are not making enough money to continually keep up with the increase in salaries that some players are making (for example the ludicrous deal the Redskins gave Albert Haynesworth).
The players don't believe the owners and want them to open up their books just to see how much the owners are making.
There is also a squabble over moving to an 18 game schedule. The players are against it because of a greater risk of injury with two extra games, and the owners are for it because of all the extra revenue two games would bring in.
My opinion on the 18 game schedule debate is that if the owners offer the players enough money they'll play 20 games. Me personally I think 16 is that perfect number, don't ask me why but I want no more and I want no less.
The whole situation breaks down to millionaires versus billionaires and we the fans, the ones who pretty much pay both their salaries are the ones getting screwed.
With the looming lock-out who is getting screwed the most?
Every time we tune in, go to the stadium, or even buy a jersey we're putting money in the pockets of the NFL, the owners, and the players.
If we stopped going, watching, and buying then they would have nothing and there would be no league.
So I ask this in all seriousness, why don't we the fans have any say at all?
Both sides try to appeal to us, the owners cry poverty and the players are trying to play the "poor-poor pitiful us" card, "all we want to do is play football".
They conveniently leave out the part of wanting to make more money while doing it.
I may come off as one of those people who despises pro athletes for the amount of money they make, but in reality I don't.
Their profession as well as the market has deemed their services to be worth a certain dollar amount and I won't fault them for it.
However, I won't be quick to jump to their defense when they say that what they make isn't enough.
After all (as of 2007) the absolute minimum and active player in the NFL could make was 285,000 dollars and that was for a rookie. The number goes up the more years you have in the league.
To 99 percent of the population of the world 285,000 dollars a year is more than enough money so pardon me if I'm not jumping on board with the players.
At the same time I'm not in bed with the owners either. They claim poverty and want more games to make more money but they don't want to share that money with the players.
These are the same owners who, when they want a new stadium, will threaten to move the team if their current city or state won't fit the bill or at least the majority of it on that new stadium.
As much as I love my Redskins I refuse to help pay for a new stadium when I'm already paying an arm and a leg for tickets and jerseys, not to mention eight dollars for a beer at the stadium.
It just blows me away how we the fans get mistreated by both the players and the owners. Even though we are their customers and we consume their product we are treated like filth.
Ask any contractor or anyone who runs a business (i.e. restaurant or store) and they'll tell you that aside from profits they're highest priority is customer satisfaction.
The NFL doesn't care about customer satisfaction which was quite apparent in Dallas this week when they over sold the Super Bowl by 400 tickets and then admitted they knew before hand they probably weren't going to be able to seat those people but gave them no warning.
These folks didn't know they wouldn't be allowed into the game until they actually got there. They paid 800 dollars for those seats (not to mention air fare and hotel).
The NFL has offered them three times the amount of money they paid for the tickets, allowed them to go on the field after the game and tickets to next years' Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
That's all fine and good, the league owes them (though I would get all that in writing), but what if all or even some of those people turned away were die-hard Packer or Steelers fans.
They weren't at the game just to be at the Super Bowl, they were there to watch their teams play in the Super Bowl.
Sure going to Indy will be nice, but it won't be the same for them say if the teams are the Patriots and the Falcons.
This is just another way the league is abusing and not caring about their customers.
So this soap opera between the owners and the players will continue probably well into the summer and maybe into the fall.
Both sides will continue to plead to us the fans for support while at the same not really caring about our opinion on the matter.
No matter what the outcome of the CBA will be there are two guarantees I can give you.
One, there will eventually be football next year, and two, the price of tickets and merchandise will go up and we the fans will fit that bill and we'll do it blindly because in the end the league only cares about our dollars not us.