NFL in 2011?

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By: Andy Atterbury > Junior > Journalism > Angelo State University, Photo by: Ryan Lejbak

As the clock struck midnight on March 3, nothing happened. There was no pandemonium, no rioting in the streets of major cities. The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement was set to expire on March 4, but thanks to a 24-hour extension, the football world was safe for at least another day. Or for another week, after the NFL Player’s Association and the NFL agreed to add seven more days to hammer out a new CBA.

 Most of the issues keeping the two sides apart revolve around cold hard cash. Rookie salaries get bigger every year. In 2001, quarterback Michael Vick signed a then-groundbreaking six-year, 62 million-dollar contract with 15.3 million being guaranteed. But, last year Sam Bradford squashed Vick’s deal with his 86 million dollar contract over six years with 50 million guaranteed. The NFLPA wants to install a rookie salary cap in the next CBA to keep players who haven’t touched an NFL football from making so much money.

Both sides are also concerned with changing the length of the season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear that he wants an 18-game regular season. But for the most part, the athletes have shown they do not want that many games. Cutting preseason games and adding regular season games would create more revenue for owners, but at the risk of athletes’ health.
Another concern is the care of NFL veterans. Current players want to taken care of by the NFL once their careers are over. The NFLPA wants to ensure retired players get treated accordingly and are making sure that is included in the new CBA.

Whether or not we fully understand what went on behind closed doors at these meetings, the back-to-back extensions were at least signs of life for a 2011 NFL season. On March 11 the NFLPA decertified, leaving a giant question mark as to what is to come next. The Player’s Union has told NFL prospects to boycott the draft in April, another sign of the football apocalypse. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; it just seems no one can see it except Roger Goodell.

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