The NFL and its club owners decided to give up professional football for Lent. The NFL and the NFLPA did not reach an agreement and stopped negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). That means that right now football is dead.
I am not fretting about it yet because we still have five months before the start of the pre-season. However, if the players and owners do not resolve their issues soon and have a new contract, the season will not be the same. Since the NFLPA has decertified and the NFL locked out the players, the teams and players cannot communicate.
Everything is on hold. No free agency. No conditioning. No Organized Team Activities (OTA). The only scheduled professional football event that will take place this spring if the lockout continues is the NFL Draft.
If the labor negotiations are prolonged, the training and preparation that teams and players usually do during the off-season will not happen. This will have a huge impact on teams, especially for clubs that have young players in skilled positions. Teams such as the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams will not be able to work with their young quarterbacks.
Cleveland’s Colt McCoy and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford need to work with their coaches to be effective in their starting roles. In Denver, Tim Tebow, will need more than informal workouts on his own to develop into being a starter. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford has two years of experience leading the Lions, but he recently had shoulder surgery. Rehabilitating privately is not the same as doing it with the team’s staff and equipment. This will certainly have an effect on the team’s offensive plans.
Let’s hope that the sacrifice ends at Holy Saturday and the resurrection of professional football happens before the 2011 NFL Draft. On second thought, it can happen sooner. I don’t think that the “football gods” will be upset with the NFL for breaking Lent. I think that they will be pleased to see the owners’ selfless act of forgoing an EXTRA $1 billion dollars to give the fans what they want. After all, they are the people who made them billionaires.
Heels & Helmets®