Thursday, July 21, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
Hopefully, season won’t be wasted
The Mobile (AL) newspaper, the Press-Register, runs on its sports pages the number of days left before football begins. Just football. There is no distinction between the different levels. Just football. It is a very subtle way to feed the eagerness which is gnawing at the insides of all who have made the gridiron sport America’s number one pastime. For the great majority of us, our attention will be devoted to the secondary and tertiary levels, however, and as usual, we will be avidly watching from afar what the “big boys” are doing.
Because their season will have the longest lasting impact on our personal enjoyment, we will follow our favorites to the very last quarter. Heck, we’ll even consider forgiving them for their transgressions on our mentalities for threatening to postpone “our season.” This is a direct result of the seemingly enduring hassle over the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners.
As is the case with all major sports, the NFL has a commissioner and Roger Goodell fills that role for the big boys and is the regulator for the entire league. But when it comes to matters of this import (how to equitably split up almost $10 billion in revenue), a labor dispute mediator is called in. And it has to be a U.S. magistrate. In this case it is a federal judge by the name of Arthur J. Boylan and he has set another meeting for July 19 in Minneapolis. The judge, who will be on vacation at the time of the meeting, put forth some specific rules that the sides must follow. The NFL Players Association is represented by DeMaurice Smith. Smith stated that he would not meet again before Monday (July 18) and Goodell agreed.
It is easy to see how this affects the whole of the football-watching world. Perhaps most importantly, it really puts a crimp in the preseason planning and activities of all the teams, but has the greatest impact on teams with new head coaches, and there are quite a few (a subject for another “Scoreboard”).
And the “unofficial” kickoff for the season, the Hall of Fame game, is practically a month away.
Of course, we are not situated in a proximity which would greatly aggrieve us if there is no preseason practice facility which we could attend. But there are plenty of college campuses around the league which look forward to hosting these teams each year. And naturally, there is a financial consideration for these venues. Now, some teams have already put out the word that no matter when the lockout ends, they will use their own practice facilities, foregoing the time-honored tradition of allowing various locales to “have” their own pro team if only pro-tem.
We just hope that all parties (including the Democrats and Republicans) can get together and solve all these problems before the “season” is wasted.
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