The most maddening aspect of the NFL labor dispute is that the two sides are trying to determine the best way to split up their existing profits, but not how to make more money while making all sides—meaning the owners, the players AND the fans—happy.
One smart way to do this would be to eliminate the rotating interleague schedule.
As it now exists, the AFC East, for example, rotates through each division in the NFC on a yearly basis. The AFC East should be playing the NFC East every year, and that should hold true for each division in their respective conferences.
Sure, we'll miss those intriguing Buffalo Bills-Seattle Seahawks matchups, but life in the NFL would improve drastically.
Picture it, the Jets and Giants would play every year. Never mind the cost the teams would save on travel expenses; it would be a guaranteed sellout, as opposed to if, say, the Arizona Cardinals were in town.
The players would appreciate a reduced travel schedule greatly, especially if the proposed 18-game schedule is implemented. Fans would much rather see someone in their own region and be given a 49ers-Raiders game over a 49ers-Browns game any day.
This would help small-market teams like Tampa and Jacksonville establish a rivalry with each other and put desperately needed fans in their seats. Inter-conference annual rivalries are a staple of college football (Florida vs. Florida St., Georgia vs. Georgia Tech), why not do the same for the NFL?