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The Uncertainty of the NFL’s Future

September 24th, 2009

The excitement of the professional football season is prevalent across John Carroll’s campus. Students are draped in the apparel of their favorite teams in hopes of a win come Sunday or Monday.

But many people are not aware that this may be the last year the National Football League has a landscape similar to what the fans have become accustomed to. What many of us forget is that the NFL is a business where owners’ and players’ financial interests will take precedent over the fans “need” for entertainment.

The NFL states that there will be football played for two more seasons guaranteed. The 2010 season may be the first year since 1993 that the NFL has seen uncapped player salaries. The 2011 season may not even occur, as many NFL officials and the NFL Players Association have acknowledged there is a very real chance of a lockout. So now you might be asking yourself, how is all of this possible?

In 2006 the owners of the NFL came to an agreement with the players union to increase the player’s potential salaries from 55.5 percent to 60 percent of NFL revenues, according to ESPN.com. It is apparent that the owners of the NFL organizations did not conduct their due diligence. The owners have seen their profits fall every year since 2006 due to rising costs.

Last year, in an attempt to restore profits from their own lapse in judgment, the owners opted out of the contract agreed to in 2006. Owners feel the players are taking too much of the pie and want to reclaim some of it. The players are, of course, reluctant to take a reduction in pay because they feel they were guaranteed these wages. This leaves the NFL owners and players union at a standstill and effective negotiations have yet to occur. This is the reason there will almost certainly be a 2010 NFL season without a salary cap, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

If an agreement has not taken place before the 2011 season, the owners will lockout the players. It would be the first work stoppage of the NFL in 23 years. This is a very similar situation to what took place in the NHL during 2005-2006 season, when not one professional hockey game was played the entire season.

So to the fans of the Carroll community that root tirelessly for your respective NFL team, relish the 2009 regular season and playoffs (if you are so fortunate). Lastly, remember that the NFL is a business and is not “too big to fail.”