In sports you can bet on just about anything, even the likelihood of a labor lockout by the NFL when its collective bargaining agreement expires in March. Right now oddsmakers are listing the chance of a lockout occurring at 70 percent, according to Bloomberg.
The NFL has not had a work stoppage since 1987 when the season was reduced from 16 games to 15 by a 24-day work stoppage. In 1982, only nine games were played.
The NFL and NFL Players Association met Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl, and issued a joint statement regarding the negotiations. It read:
The NFL and NFL Players Association met for two hours today in a continuing effort to narrow the differences and reach a fair agreement that will benefit the players, teams and fans. We plan to increase the number, length and intensity of bargaining sessions so that we can reach agreement before the March 4 expiration of the current CBA.
Basically, the issues are these. The owners want an 18-game regular season schedule, and they want a $7 billion 'giveback' by players over the next seven seasons. Players want to see the owners' books to see why they are asking for that kind of money. The players, of course, would also like additional compensation if they are going to be required to play more regular-season games.
Here is NFL PA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith discussing the current status:
The owners have asked the players to give them back a billion dollars a year for the next seven years. So for you, for the fans out there, they've [Owners] have asked the players to write them what amounts to basically a $7 billion check. The one thing that I think everybody out there would agree is before you wrote a $7 billion dollar check you'd ask yourself a couple of questions. One, why the $7 billion dollars? Two, what's the economic justification for players giving owners a $7 billion dollar payback over the next 7 years in the absence of anything that would suggest that football or the National Football League is on an economic decline, that viewers are on a decline. That there is anything that would seriously jeopardize the NFL's business model," Smith said "The sticking point right now is we haven't seen any economic justification for a billion dollar per year swing in the relationship between the people who own the teams and the players who only play for about 3-4 years."