(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Friday, February 24, 2006

Gene Upshaw Opens His Silo, Shows His Nukes

If you don't think so, read this.

The NFL and NFLPA are apparently so far apart on their negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement that the league that has enjoyed the best labor relations might "Go Baseball" and have some bargaining ugliness, especially after next season.

Capless? That's the word that Gene Upshaw is using with agents, telling them that there might be a capless 2007.

Players won't play without helmets, and owners don't like to play without caps.

This iceberg has been out there for a while, and it's going to get uglier before you have the former Raiders' guard doing the Macarena on "Cold Pizza" with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

I used to think that the reason football players didn't strike and take strident positions was because a) their careers are very short and b) they're used to doing what authoritarian figures tell them to do. The latter is much more the case than the NBA, where it's hard to find many players who listen to anyone other than their favorite musicians on their Ipod Nanos before gametime. The fact of the matter is that the Goose that is the NFL is so golden that the players want a far greater share of the eggs than ever before. To continue with the fowl analogy, the owners and players are playing a game of chicken. Thankfully for the fans, the road that they're on is a pretty long one, and their high octane vehicles are far enough away from each other that a crash isn't likely anytime soon.

Still, that iceberg is moving quickly, ready to surface. If the powers that be let it, the next Titanic that you see listing mightily could be an NFL season, if not the structure of the league as we know it. Make no mistake about it, the current structure of the league has created a wonderful parity that gives every franchise hope of a quick turnaround. Change it to a capless situation, and the best capitalized teams will be at the top of the standings every year.

The good news will be that such a meritocracy will put teams like the Cardinals out of their misery once and for all. The bad news would be that only about 10 teams would be able to compete in all likelihood, TV money or no TV money.

Stay tuned.


Blogger Michael said...

I find it funny, in one post you praise the EPL (send the sh*tty teams down to the minors) and then in the next you curse it (only a handful of teams will dominate).

11:30 PM  

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