With the Super Bowl now officially in the rear view mirror, NFL fans are now left to wonder what is going to happen, and if we are going to have football in 2011.
We hear stories about a possible lock out and a strike. We hear that the NFLPA wants to have incoming rookies skip the combine, and the draft.
We hear that the owners are not making enough money. We hear that the players want more.
We wonder what is going to happen with our teams free agents. We wonder about an 18 game season.
I don't know if this article is going to see the light of day, and not sure if I would even keep it. There are just some things that I feel need to be said to the NFL and the NFLPA.
In the United States of America, the current unemployment rate is at 9.2%. That means, almost 1 in 10 people are without work.
If the NFL does lock out the players, or if the players strike, that number is going to go up even more. Everyone that works at the stadiums, people that make the uniforms, cleats, helmets, pads. All, will be out of work.
People that work in food service that supply the food to the stadiums, out of luck.
People that clean the stadiums, out of luck.
People that sell the concessions, out of luck.
And that list goes on and on.
The reality is, in America, the current minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour.
League minimum in the NFL is $285,000 per year.
Men that play only a single season in the NFL at league minimum would have to work 39,034 hours at minimum wage to make what they would make in that year. It would take almost 20 years working at minimum wage to make what a league minimum player makes in one season.
One of the funniest things I hear people talking about is the danger of playing in the NFL. How players that play in the NFL don't get to live normal lives due to the wear and tear of their bodies and the grueling schedule they have.
PLEASE, spare me with the danger BS. The reality is, danger is when you have no idea if you are coming home at the end of the day.
Soldiers—THAT is danger. These young men put their lives on the line every day.
Police Officers—dealing with the worst people on the street. Being the son of a police officer, and having family members that currently are police officers, THEY deal with danger.
Wear and tear on the players bodies? I wont argue with that. But, what about all of us that spent years playing in high school and college? What about us, that have to get up every day and go to work, with aches and pains?
Do you think the only people that have a hard time holding their kids are former NFL players?
That grueling offseason schedule? A full time employee works 40 hours per week, 50 weeks a year (IF they are lucky enough to get two weeks vacation). NFL players work from about July to February, if they are lucky. Add a month to the NFL schedule for mini camps, and that leaves you with at least four months of vacation time.
Do any of you get four months of vacation at your jobs?
Player safety? The NFL had fines this year worse than any other in history. I am pretty sure that all of the players know the risks from the time they were six years old. It is a chance they were willing to take when they were in Pop Warner, high school, college, and now they are getting paid (as Warren Sapp once said) a king's ransom to play a kid's game, and they are worried about player safety?
To all NFL players, if you don't want to risk your body, retire now, and join us in the REAL work force.
As for the owners—ENOUGH! Who do you think you are?
Having a hard time filling those stadiums? Who is it that fills them? That's right, US.
How much do you think DirecTV would be willing to pay the NFL if none of us spent that $300 per year to watch the games?
CBS / FOX / NBC—do you think they would be willing to spend the BILLIONS of dollars if WE decided that we didn't want to watch anymore?
How about all of those jerseys, hats, gloves, t-shirts, and all the other things that we spend BILLIONS of dollars on every year? What happens if WE were to decide that we simply weren't going to spend that money any more?
The average NFL team is worth $1.2 BILLION dollars. That is money that we can not even begin to understand.
What the NFL needs to understand is, WE are the reason that those companies are so valuable.
So, as the NFL and the NFLPA continue to debate as to how the pie is going to be split up, lets all just remember that the reason that there even is a pie, is because of US.
You and me.
And if the NFL and NFLPA decide to take football away from us, lets do to them what we did to MLB in the 1990's. Walk away, let the stadiums be empty. Don't buy the jerseys, hats or any of the other stuff.
Let both the NFL and NFLPA know that WE won't take it.