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As NFL Lock-out looms many are left asking what will happen?

March 3, 2011

By William Wodka

As the current NFL collective bargaining agreement (CBA) runs out, many are left asking what is so hard about getting an agreement made. Cleveland is a big football town and if the Browns did not have a season next year the city would be crushed.

The most recent agreement will expire on March 3 with both NFL owners and NFL players association still at each other’s throats trying to get a new agreement made as the two sides walk away from seven consecutive days of talks. If the agreement is not met, at midnight on March 4, the league will be a lock out which has some fans reeling.

“I will just have to settle for some Madden,” laughs Jon Kostranchuck thinking what he will do with no season.

Both sides cannot agree on a number of things including expanding the season and players would not be entitled to 60 percent of their teams’ available revenue, as well as retired player benefits. Also the league would up the unrestricted free agency from four years to six.

The league would like to impose an 18 game season as well as put a salary cap to prevent overpaying rookies. In a study done by one of the mediators for the agreement they found last season $1.2 billion was given to 256 drafted rookies with $585 million guaranteed.

“I think veteran players deserve more, but I think there has to be a point where the overpaying stops,” said Josh Malek. “There can still be ranks of salaries but I suppose based in accomplishments or years played.”

The league is trying to work out money issues because of the expansion of the NFL Network on cable T.V. In a back and forth battle that includes both sides arguing, the NFLPA requested to bar the league from using $4 billion in television revenue to finance its operations in the event of a lockout. The league has counteracted stating they never violated the CBA by extending the T.V. contracts.

“I think they should split off profit 50-50 since without each other neither of them will get any money,” Kostranchuk said. “Also the players need to stop worrying about money because 80 percent of the players will be bankrupt within five years of there retirment anyways.”

The league is also dealing with debt issues as well from building new stadiums for teams. Two recent ones included the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants stadium. The league gave $150 million to the Dallas stadium and in total the Giants stadium cost $1.6 million.
“I don’t watch football for the flashy stadiums, I watch it for the players,” Ashley Mogel said. “I don’t think its worth putting all this money into them.”

The league is also threatening to cancel players’ health insurance as well as salary cuts if there isn’t a season.

In the New England Patriots locker room one reporter found a memo from the league on a table urging players and coaches to save their last three paychecks, stating the internal deadline for the CBA has since passed.

Surprisingly the fans are getting lost in the situation. After the regular season Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to the fans talking about what an exciting season it was and thanking the fans for their support. He went on to say “My job is to represent the game-fans, teams, players, coaches and business partners.”

“No I think they will face the same problem next time the collective bargaining agreement is up since the players and owner will always want a bigger chunk of the change for themselves,” said Kostranchuck.

Who’s to say what Browns’ fans will do without football in the city of Cleveland.

“The city makes a lot of money on football season... there are no fans like browns fans...every week you are getting a sold out stadium of around 70,000 plus people and countless browns fans that are dedicated to this team who come down to Cleveland or the surrounding area to watch the game,” Mogel said. “Without football bars, restaurants, hotels, are not going to be making the money they are used to making around football season. So Cleveland will be taking a huge hit if there is not a football season.”