With the Super Bowl over, the attention turns to the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, which have been contentious between the NFL and NFL Players' Association, to say the least. The two sides have until March 4, the date the current CBA expires, to come together and hammer out a new agreement. If they don't, the owners will lock the players out, making a year without football a real possibility.
The two sides have been at the bargaining table this week, but negotiations are going nowhere in a hurry. CBS Sports' Facts and Rumors blog passed along an update, confirming Thursday's session is cancelled, while laying out a few sticking points.
In an interview with "Fox News Sunday" that aired the morning of Super Bowl XLV, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks. ...
Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players.
Wait ... drug testing? There's absolutely no way I buy this. Yes, drug testing is a big issue, but this is about money. It's about revenue; it's about an 18-game schedule; it's about a rookie pay scale. Waving drug testing out there as the main issue is a red herring.
Simply put, the owners are trying to maximize their return on investment. The players are trying to avoid a lockout while also looking out for their own futures -- both physically and financially. An 18-game schedule -- more money for the owners -- exacts a physical toll on the players, no matter how much fans long for more meaningful football.
Pension plans and retirement benefits, also highly-publicized issues, have long been a problem in the NFL, as well, with players receiving benefits that are downright embarrassing at times. An NFL career can have a severe impact on the rest of a player's life, making the benefits for post-retirement an issue of high importance for the players' union.
This has the potential to get ugly quick, with a lockout likely becoming a reality in a month. Brace yourselves, NFL fans, we could be in for a bumpy ride.
Keep an eye on our StoryStream for the latest on the CBA negotiations and a potential lockout as more becomes available.