My Views on the Lockout
While I'm not siding with anyone over this lockout/decertification, there are a few things that specifically stick in my craw about this entire situation, aside the fact that millionaires are foolishly fighting over a few more millions.
1) The Owners have actual expenses. Sure, the owners have much more money the players do, but they also have many more expenses. They have to pay employees from ticket takers all the way up through GMs and marketing CEOs. Some of them have to pay stadium fees. They of course have to pay the players. They have to pay people to buy food for concessions. The players don't HAVE to pay for much. They have to pay taxes. They have to pay their agents. That's about it. Sure some players will hire personal trainers/coaches, maybe nutritionists, publicists, among other things, but that isn't an expense that they MUST pay. The owners do have and make more money, but they also have actual expenses they must pay as well, the players do not.
2) It's never about the little guy. Sure, the minimum player salary might go up a little bit, but the NFLPA does not really care about that. They care about their biggest starts being able to make more money than they already do. You don't hear about guys like Jon Corto and Derek Schouman showing up to these meetings, talking to the press about how they are paid unfairly. However Manning, Brees and Brady all show up. Why? Because they are the highest paid players in the NFL. Sure one could argue that they are helping out future generations of football players, but it's still only about the stars. The health care and pension does help everyone but you don't see Aaron Rodgers making a big stink about it, and he is now widely considered a top 5 QB in the league. It's the old star players that care the most because they have the most to benefit from it immediately.
3) The players really screwed up. In a time in America where there are hard working people that are willing to work that can't find a job. Where there are young kids coming out with college degrees not being able to find jobs. Where people are getting laid off for no reason except the companies can't/don't want to pay their salaries, the NFL players think it is a good idea to get greedy and stop working all together. None of these guys' jobs were in jeopardy. It is not as if the NFL owners were asking for huge pay decreases in the top players' salaries. They decided to give up one of the most lucrative jobs in the world so they could make it even more lucrative.
4) The game will remain the same. Football is perhaps the most team-centric sport of the big 4 in the US. If all the basketball players left that game would be almost unrecognizable. There wouldn't be nearly the same athletic plays, the dunks, the defense. It would be almost a completely different sport. Hockey may be hurt a little less, but think about it without the top notch goaltenders the game would still be fundamentally different, there would be many more goals on worse overall play. Baseball may be able to weather the storm the longest, but people would start noticing the 88 mph fastballs being the fastest in the league, or the number of walks/strikeouts and the fewer home runs. But football? Football would stay relatively the same. It requires the most teamwork of all of the sports. Sure the game won't be as fast, we will miss some of the more athletic plays, but are big hits going to be gone? Are they going to stop throwing long bombs downfield? Turnovers might happen a little more often. But I don't see the game changing nearly as much as with the other three. Think of it this way, there is a HUGE step down from NHL to the AHL, NBA to NBDL or any European league, MLB to AAA, but from the NFL to Div-IA College, is the product that much different? Sure there are worse teams, there may be less parity, but does the game have a different feel?
At least we got an extra 2nd to select Manuel.