Who's Really Dancing: Hines Ward or the Owners?
The $9 Billion industry may be what the Federal Government calls "too big to fail," but after what transpired over the last few weeks the NFL looks like it is starting to waver.
Sports has always been an intriguing aspect of American society with the business connections along with the reality-TV hook of never wanting to miss a second of the action. Unfortunately for the fans of the entertainment, the business aspect of the game has taken center stage for all of the wrong reasons.
With no NFL as of now, some players such as AFC stars Chad Ochocinco and Hines Ward have found innovative ways to keep busy. Hines seems to be doing well with his dancing (very respectable first outing, I feel as if Hines may be around for awhile), the NFL owners seem to be doing a foxtrot around coming to some resolve with the issues that drove negations apart in Washington.
The recent meetings in New Orleans has at this point decided to tackle safety by removing tackling: from a play that will happen 5-10 times a game. By moving the kickoff up to the 35-yard line, the owners seem to think that this is an answer to the concussion issues by preventing 250 pound men from running full speed at each other.
Aside from seeing Matt Stover's touchback record shattered this season, this "resolution" shows us the three step waltz the owners seem to think they can do around the players and fans. First, this shows that the NFL owners are just as divided on the concussion issue as players. Like the players, some feel as if this concussion issue is a risk to the game, and expecting players to change their style of play is unreasonable.
Others feel that the rules need to be changed in order to prevent these collisions. The bottom line is that we are in an age where the players are tougher, faster, and more violent than ever before, yet they're still playing on the same field that was used in 1960. There needs to be some way to limit or spread out these unique human beings in order to accommodate their physique or else the rules will become eerily similar to the non-competitive Pro-Bowl.
Secondly, it shows that, ultimately, the owners are in it for the money. The best possible accommodation to negotiate with the payers is to increase health care benefits if the rules won't be significantly changed. As long as there was a noticeable increase in the salary cap room for each team, then players would be more willing to accept less towards salaries if more was going to their post football lives.
If New Orleans doesn't lighten the mood of the owners, then a sticking point at all future negotiations for the players will be prying this money out of their hands. Finally, this lack of action shows how dire the situation is for football in September.
As reported by SI, thanks to owners like Jerry Jones, the negations ended on a very ugly note. If at one of the only times the owners are gathered together they can only muster up a consensus to make minimal changes to assist the major issue of safety for which the media is pulling no punches, what hope is there for major changes with their greatest stake in the industry: income.
So while Chad and Hines move their feet, it looks as if the fans are getting increasingly close to losing their seats at this season's games. The NFL owners are continually moving their feet, but something tells me their scores aren't too impressive to their judges: the fans and players.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, fans watch as millionaires and billionaires argue over legitimate concerns, but the increasing contempt both sides seem to hold is only starting to shed lights on cracks in the once considered indestructible NFL.
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