Yes the N.F.L. is planning on locking out its players as the end of the current labor agreement, March 3rd, moves ever closer. But is it easy to have any sympathy for any of these characters on either side of the table? Come on man!!!
First of all, the players, by any measuring stick available on the planet earth, are among the highest-compensated people in the world. It's actually funny sometimes hearing the players say things during a contract holdout like, "I have to put bread on my table." Was that bread on the table or were they planning on buying the entire bread plant? Maybe it was the entire county where the plant was located? Maybe they were looking to buy the entire notion, the concept if you will, of bread itself! Most recently it's even funnier seeing these multi-multi-multi millionaires falling all over each other to have surgeries before their health benefits run out! Good Lord! Could you imagine what would happen if a guy who has $50,000,000. in the bank had to pay $10,000 for a surgery? Why he'd be down to having $49,990,000 in there!!! Then what? How could he continue to live? Yes, these guys are truly delusional.
Then there are the owners. They are, by far, the most power-crazed group of people in this country, led by their high priest of avarice, Grand Poobah, Jerry Jones. Jones is the guy who just got done spending more money on a stadium than many countries have for a national budget. Yet his greed, and the greed of the league was so great, that they were even moved to install temporary seats for the SuperBowl so they could shoehorn even more people inside. Of course we also know that the jumbo screens, mounted outside of the stadium for the poor slobs who couldn't afford $5,000 tickets to get in, were not free to watch, as is the case with "Mario's T.V." located outside Penguins playoff games. Hey, why not hit 'em for a couple hundred? Right?
These guys will squeeze a buffalo nickel until it squeals. I'm glad they're now facing a class action suit for their illegal and unsafe seating. Do you know that they even placed some of the Dallas season ticket holders into folding chairs so that they could raise their attendance figures even higher? That's Dallas' own season ticket holders!!!
Oh there are no limits to their con games. Take for example that purist, Roger Goodell telling reporters that, "I have fans telling me all the time that they want an 18 game season." No Roger, what they're saying is that they don't want to pay full price for an exhibition game that means nothing where the veterans are playing to preserve their career when they're playing at all.
It is shameful that this league forces their season ticket holders to pay for this charade masking as football. Even that paragon of common sense, Major League Baseball, doesn't force their season ticket holders to underwrite their practice games. While true, the Pirates play their exhibition games in Florida, they're not expecting fans who attend games there to pay regular season prices. That would be a double insult, after all.
Yes, while our country continues to slide into a financial abyss and normal, everyday people have less and less money to really put actual bread on their table, it would be interesting to see the N.F.L., that bastion of freedom, liberty, apple pie and jet flyovers to proclaim that the owners want to really help the country they claim to love so much. In an unprecedented move, they would donate XXX,XXX,XXX million dollars annually to help fund job initiation programs for everyday people and help underwrite new businesses where manufacturing would be reestablished in this country instead of having to phone China for everything.
ABOVE: Our delusional government spends $450,000 to fly over a closed stadium at SuperBowl XLV for a five second appearance on television. No wonder we're in the shape that we're in!
The players, for their part, would agree to the new rookie salary scale, while the owners would agree to drop the exhibition games as a requirement for season ticket packages. In Pittsburgh, I'm sure that with a fireworks show or an appearance by Three Dog Night they'd still pack the place. If the Pirates can manage that, I'm sure the Steelers could. The players would then keep a status quo on the number of "live" games they'd have to play and the season ticket holders would even save a few bucks. Even better, people who can never get into a Steeler game would finally have a chance to do so...even if it was an exhibition. But the fireworks and Three Dog Night will make it all worthwhile!
ABOVE: The influence and popularity of Three Dog Night continues to be undeniable.
From the standpoint of supplying health benefits for retired veterans, the league would agree to provide matching funds from each new player contract at a negotiated figure. Whatever the player's union wants to pay, the owners will match it. This would create a pool of funds that each retired player would be entitled to request aid from if now physically and financially unable to provide for himself.
Yes there are all kinds of creative ideas that both sides could be proposed if they were really interested in doing good things for the game, their fans and their country. Unfortunately, these people on both sides are driven only by one word: greed. With that being the case, don't be shocked to see a full house for all Pitt games this season. That might be the only place to get your dose of live football this year.