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NFL Labor Talks: It's the Fans That Matter, Nothing Else

CHANTILLY, VA - MARCH 02:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (C) leaves a meeting with NFL owners at a hotel on March 2, 2011 in Chantilly, Virginia. The NFL owners are meeting in Chantilly to discuss negotiations with the players union about a collective bargaining agreement that expires March 3, at midnight. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Zach GreubelCorrespondent IIMarch 4, 2011

This is what I've been thinking for the past couple of months regarding the NFL and the NFLPA: get over yourselves and get a deal done. That's really the bottom line. I'm as happy as anyone that there wasn't a lockout officially declared last week, but is the week-long extension just delayed the inevitable? 

Is anyone else perturbed by the thought of millionaires arguing with other millionaires about millions of dollars? The NFL is a $9,000,000,000-plus industry. Yes, that's nine zeros. You'd think that a room full of millionaires could figure something out with that much revenue instead of saying "that's not fair" over and over again.

What's not fair is the fact that millions of NFL fans across the world are impatiently waiting for a deal to be done. When will someone realize that the fans are what matter? Everything they're doing is for the fans.

Fans don't care about millionaires making more money, we care about watching what we love. The NFL couldn't exist without the fans. It's not about the winning—the fans are, as former head coach Herm Edwards would say, "why they play the game."

The extension does give us some hope, however. Even if it does lead to another extension which leads to another extension—at least that means they're making progress, right?

What about the NFL Draft? It's one of the best days of the year, but we won't be able to watch those rookies for who knows how long. It's like dangling a toy in front of a baby but pulling it away and hiding it. We're excited to see these rookies and how they'll impact their new teams.

Here's another thing that gets me—how could both parties force a lockout right after Super Bowl XLV became the most watched television program ever? Over 111 million people watched the game. That's a third of the population of the United States. You'd think you'd want to keep business going after that. Even the Saints-Colts Super Bowl attracted 105 million viewers.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to look the owners and the players in the eyes and say, "It's not about us, it's about the fans." As painful and confusing as it may sound to them, it's true.

When the President of the United States has something to say on the matter, you know you're in trouble. The big man himself had a Super Bowl party—shouldn't that be enough motivation to warrant a new deal?

The pessimistic side of me is preparing for a lockout. At least we'll have college football to look forward to. Although, deep down, I think they'll eventually get a deal done. 

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