NFL fans are bracing themselves for a fall without the game America loves most. NFL fans also can't comprehend why these two groups can't agree on a fair way to split up a $9 billion pie. While it's true that both sides share blame in this, there's no question that the overwhelming majority of blame goes on the owners.
It's the players that play the game. It's the players that the fans want to see, and pay ever increasing good money for it. The players are the ones that put their future physical health at risk.
It may be the signature of the owners on the checks that these players receive, but it's the players that actually pay the bills. Not one NFL owner could sell out an NFL stadium like a single player could. The players drive the game and are absolutely entitled to the very best the NFL has to offer. Anything less should be considered blatant exploitation.
The owners wanted this thing the minute the ink was dry on the last deal. For them to come out and say it's the players that were in a hurry to decertify and not continue to negotiate is comical.
How dare anyone say it is the players with the giant egos? They vilify a player while advertising him at the same time. Countless players are being fined at an ever-increasing rate for illegal hits, yet the owners want two more games. Has it occurred to them that they are the only people on the planet that even want 18 games?
While it may have come off in bad taste the way the NFLPA urged upcoming draftees to bypass the draft, they are on to something. Driving through Florida on vacation one summer I came across a bumper sticker that read, "Welcome to sunny Florida...now get the hell out!" That pretty much sums up what draft night is going to be like for those incoming players that decide to attend the NFL's event.
It would appear to make more sense for a player to be welcomed to the league by his peers as opposed to a group of people who clearly don't have their best interests in mind. It's these players that will be most affected by this next contract.
The players should hold out as long as it takes to get what is fair to them. The fans will still have the college game and will be more willing to forgive the player as opposed to the owner. Maybe some of these owners should consider selling their teams if being the biggest dog in the yard isn't enough for them. The NFL as an entity dwarfs all other sports in America and they want more at the expense of these players.
A year without football would be dreadful, but if it guarantees the future of the next generation of thrillmakers, it'll be worth it.