The NFL has set up a great website for keeping the owners, players, media and fans abreast of the issues regarding the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, I doubt the players will be following the NFL's "version" of what is going on and will turn to the NFL Players Association for their "side" of the story.
For us fans, the NFL's site is a chronological and almost daily update on what has been said by both parties and what is going on, with FAQ's, details and quotes from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. For example, it was reported that while the owners share of revenue increased by $1.2 billion since 2006, the players share jumped by $2.6 billion. We should all take moment to bow our heads and weep for such a great disparity.
While I'm sort of on the owners' side in this, the players need to be ensured that their income for a sport that has such a short career for the most part, and they continue to have the salaries and benefits that extend well into their retirement and whatever physical limitations that may arise. At the same time, they are employees with great skills and while I believe they are paid well for their efforts, the rookie contracts we've seen over the past years are ridiculous and offensive to the veterans who are outpaid by kids who have never taken a snap in the NFL.
For more on this critical issue, including a few FAQ's and a link to the NFL Labor News site, click on the 'Jump.'
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement, initially negotiated in 1993, has been extended on several occasions, most recently in March 2006.
NFL clubs voted unanimously in May 2008 not to extend the agreement beyond the 2010 season because their costs were rising faster than their revenues. The clubs are committed to negotiating a new agreement, for the 2011 season and beyond that will better serve the clubs, the players and most important, the fans.
What does this mean to fans and games on the field?
If there is no new agreement before March 5, 2010, the 2010 season will be played without a salary cap under rules that also limit the free agency rights of the players. In an uncapped year, there is also no minimum team payroll.
What are the issues?
The principal issue is ensuring that the agreement is structured in a way that provides incentives for the clubs to invest, innovate and improve the game for the benefit of the fans over the long term.
Click here for a link to the NFL Labor News site. Note that there are tabs are the top of the page to click on for an NFL calendar of key dates as well as another tab to look at the official and current CBA.