Because of the ongoing NFL labor issues that have evolved into a court battle challenging the NFL's right to lock out a non-union work force, the National Football League, which has enjoyed unprecedented success in recent years, could lose some of the aspects that have helped make it the greatest sport in America. If the players prevail in their lawsuit, it could ultimately lead to no restrictions on free agency like franchise and transition tags. It could mean the end of the NFL Draft. And it could lead to no salary cap.
What the players may not be counting on, however, is that it could mean the end of the salary floor as well, which could very well lead to mid-level-and-lower players making less money than they do now, while a small number of superstar players pull in a large majority of the payroll.
Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed his concern with the potential consequences in a conference call Wednesday with Giants season ticket holders.
"That's something that's troubling to me a little bit because in the hearing, some of the lawyers for the players association talk about their vision of what would happen with the NFL and the types of things they would be challenging in court - everything from the draft to free agency rules," Goodell said. "I think it would have a tremendously negative impact on the game of football and what everybody loves the game of football for and what has made us successful.
I get concerned when I hear how the lawyers want to approach this and how they want to change the game for the players association. I think we have a great game that's competitive. I think that the balance we have amongst teams is all part of our system. Aspects of those systems are always modified and changed and I'm willing to engage in that. But I think eliminating some of those aspects that I think have made our game -- and frankly other sports, they are all part of other sports. The NFL has got an incredibly competitive and attractive game. We've got to make sure that we continue to make modifications. We've got to make it stronger, not weaken it."
Facing these potential changes, it would seem like the owners and players would be anxious to get this thing settled before the damage is done. But with mediation put off for nearly a month, it seems neither side, unfortunately, is in a hurry to get this worked out. Instead it seems each side is willing to risk killing the goose that lays the golden eggs in an effort to get the better of the other side.