The potential lockout threatens to eliminate next football season

The NFL’s potential lockout threatens to affect football players as much as football fans and the media itself, all the while owners stand with the most to gain.

Football can easily be labeled as the most popular professional sport in America.  Super Bowl XLV, played in Arlington, Texas, was the most watched Super Bowl in history.  On that note, Super Bowl XLV was the most watched television program in the history of American television, with an average of 111 million viewers and 163 total viewers.

Reminiscing about Super Bowl XLV is disturbing on two scales. To begin, remembering the Pittsburgh Steelers offense turnover the ball to the hands of the Green Bay Packers defense remains painful.  On the other note, the Pittsburgh Steelers losing Super Bowl XLV isn’t the biggest concern in the scope of the future football, because there may not even be football next season.

The National Football League’s collective bargaining agreement is an agreement between the NLF and the National Football League Players Association which is currently scheduled to expire on March 3, 2011.  This agreement consists of expectations between the players and the owners of various football franchises.  However, with owners and the NFL demanding outrageous cutbacks for players, the game we know and love threatens not to return next season due to a potential lockout.

Essentially, a lockout is when an employer forces employees not to work.  In the case of the NFL, a lockout prevents football players from playing football next season, while owners still receive pay.  The lockout is solely for the purpose of allowing owners to have a pull over their players. 

It’s aggravating to witness owners of beloved football franchises withdraw from the CBA for the purpose of generating more money.  Owners are already billionaires, so a lockout seems corrupt since it would be against millionaire players.  Keep in mind that NFL players are the lowest paid professionals in American sports even though football is extremely physical, and career’s for professional football players are far shorter than other professional sports careers.

Regardless if there is a football season next year, owners will continue to receive pay through the lockout.  This ultimately means that football players as well as the media and fans alike will reap the consequences of a season without football due to negotiations not being met between the NFL and NFLPA.

Football players are not the only people who stand with a considerable amount to lose from a possible lockout.  Media personnel, including television broadcasting and advertising as well as companies that cooperate with the NFL, such as: NBC or FOX could see dramatic decreases in their revenue if a lockout occurred. Since the NFL relies heavily on advertising agencies to produce revenue, such agencies could see a loss in numbers as a result of the NFL not continuing next season.

From a journalism perspective, newspapers could lose readers and business.  Almost every newspaper has a sports section dedicated to America’s most popular sport, football.  Select readers buy newspapers solely for skimming the sports page, and football is a huge portion of the sports page.  If a lockout went into effect next season, newspaper companies, especially the sports page could be significantly impacted.

In terms of a PR stance, a lockout could be detrimental to teams in the future.  The NFL could experience the same setbacks as MLB, after the MLB lockout ticket sales were not as high as pre-lockout sales due to how fans interpreted the lockout.

In the long run, a NFL lockout could considerably impact: football players, the media, fans and owners as well.  

There are many negotiations that have to be compromised between the NLF and NFLPA in order for a 2011 football season to be played.  In order for a lockout to be avoided, the NFL developed a number of criteria that players need to agree on before consideration of a new season of football is even possible:

  • The regular season would be extended to 18 games instead of 16
  • Salaries would be lowered
  • Health Benefits would be cut
  • Rookie wages would be cut
  • Players would be subject to blood testing

A regular season extension would be rough on players due to the physicality of the sport.  Many players develop severe injures by playing just 16 games.  Also, a salary cap seems unreasonable considering that players would have to play longer and receive less pay.  In addition to playing more and getting paid less, health benefits would be cut.  This could be considered most offensive because football players are highly susceptible to accumulating health problems due to injuries from playing football.

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