Throughout these painful, irritating, mind-numbing four months or so of the NFL lockout, both sides have maintained either openly or indirectly that they have the best interests of the game and the fans as top priority. And although it may seem like that was true now that the lockout is coming to an end and there won't be any games missed except for the Hall of Fame exhibition, don't fool yourselves into believing that.
The owners and players have not learned to value or honor or even respect the fans during this process—they've simply learned to fear them.
Hearing DeMaurice Smith, the player reps, the owners and the media break down the progress, one thing is clear. This is a power struggle and, as was repeatedly said this morning on ESPN's Mike & Mike, a "testosterone" battle.
The owners tried to sneak stuff by the players, the players felt they were "hoodwinked", among other colorful descriptions, and right now the players are deciding on if and when to vote and which battles to continue fighting and which battles to lay down their arms in.
And make no mistake about it, today or tomorrow or Sunday they will come to a resolution, but only because—to the fans and media—both sides will look like idiots or greedy monsters or both if they don't.
And while every player and every owner probably cares about that some, the fact that it will cost them ticket sales, jersey sales, endorsements and millions, if not billions right away. If another "snag" pops up and this lockout drags on any further than this weekend, fans will be more irritated now than at any other point in the last four months because they were teased with a resolution that fell apart because of greed, or worse yet, "testosterone."
In the end, the fans acceptance of the league—not the players and owners acceptance of a new CBA—is what matters most. Right now, that's the issue hanging in the balance.