2010 season may be the last for NFL

Michael Moses

This past weekend was perhaps the most exhilarating the 2010 NFL season has had thus far.

We saw a coach get the pink slip (deuces, McDaniels) and witnessed another set of heavy fines dished out (hey, Baltimore, how’s the Harrison treatment feel like?). Seven games were decided by four points or less, including each AFC North team’s matchup. Dallas and Indianapolis battled in a shootout that ended in overtime. Brett Favre left the game with (another) streak-threatening injury.

Both night games capped off an eventful weekend, especially the 45-3 shellacking Tom Brady and the Patriots put on Rex Ryan and the overly confident Jets.

And to think that one year from now, we won’t have any of that. The National Football League, more than likely, will not play a 2011 season.

I’ve heard it from my friends, uncles, cousins, neighbors, professors and co-workers every day: “There won’t be a lockout, players can’t afford it, owners can’t afford it… the NFL would lose money!”

I’ve got some news for you: Bank on the sad truth. Even if Brett Favre wanted to come back next season, there wouldn’t be a league to come back to.

This past August, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, arguably the most respected NFL columnist in the business, put the odds of a lockout at 80 percent and NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith said that on a scale of 1-10, the likelihood of a lockout is 14.

Owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2008, saying they could not make a profit if required to give almost 60 cents of every dollar in revenue to the players. They argue they have huge debts from building stadiums and starting up the NFL Network and other ventures, making game impossible to be profitable fore the owners.

Here’s an idea: Don’t build billion dollar stadiums (Jerry Jones, I’m talking to you)! Chill out with making shopping malls that are connected to your stadiums (Robert Kraft, a la New England).

My dad always told me to not spend money if I don’t have it. I think these big men should learn from their mistakes and not take it out on the fans.

Point is, if the fans are going to have to suffer through an NFL-less fall because of the greedy owners, it’s not going to sit pretty. The players aren’t the ones who are being penny pinchers, in this case. They are all for playing.

Quite honestly, without the Peyton Mannings, Adrian Petersons and Andre Johnsons, there wouldn’t be an NFL. They make the plays, they work out year round. Pay them and then deal with your poor business decisions.

If the owners think they would be the ones hurt by playing a season next year, think of the economic impact it would have on American society in general if the season would be wiped out. Countless restaurants, bars, pizza shops and hotels bank on NFL Sundays for their living. Not to mention parking garages, food vendors and beer distributors.

According to a recent ESPN article, the union estimates an average of about $160 million in local spending and 3,000 jobs would be lost in each league city if the full 2011 season were wiped out. Player salaries account for 30 to 50 percent of that $160 million, said the economist who analyzed data for the union Friday. The mayor of Buffalo, which is one of the worst small-town markets in the NFL, estimates that the city’s economy would take a $140 million hit.

These economic hits wouldn’t be just in the major cities, either. A manager from Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown Kent said it would be “detrimental” to the business if the 2011 NFL season would be cancelled.

“We staff an extra four or five on NFL Sundays for the rush,” the manager explained. “For Monday Night Football games, we have between 15-20 regulars. The NFL keeps us going during the fall.”

The NFL players’ union has advised its members to save their last three game checks this year in case there is no season in 2011. In a letter to the players last Wednesday seen by The Associated Press, Smith said the union had an “internal deadline” for agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement.

“That deadline has now passed,” he wrote. “It is important that you protect yourself and your family.”

Coming into this semester, I wrote my first column on how everyone looks forward to the fall simply because football is back. The NFL marks a fresh start to both a new season and the school year ahead. I just pray that in August 2011 for my senior year, I’m going to be writing an NFL preview column.

Don’t do me like this, fellas.

Contact sports columnist Michael Moses at [email protected].