ARLINGTON, Texas (KDKA/AP) – With Super Bowl XLV now in the books, players and fans are wondering if there will be a Super Bowl next season.
The owners and players’ union now enter a month of intense negotiations before the collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3.
The owners opted out of the current CBA back in 2008 and are pondering the unthinkable – a stoppage of play. If the owners don’t get an agreement signed, they are threatening the players with a lockout.
The NFL has seen its league become the most popular sport in the country with sky-high TV ratings and $9 billion in revenue.
If the owners do lockout the players, it will be the first play stoppage for the NFL since 1987.
Owners say it’s time to pocket more money for a league that hasn’t started a stadium project in more than five years. They want a bigger slice of the of the revenue pie, a rookie wage scale and to increase the regular season to 18 games.
The players think those two extra games will cause an exponential rise in injuries and don’t want to give back any percentage of the revenue pool.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an interview that the owners are committed to finding a solution and a recent negotiating session between the owners and players was “beneficial.”
“My focus is on the next three or four weeks,” Goodell said. “I’ve often said, our agreement expires on March 4. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that’s fair for the players, fair for the clubs, and allows our great game to grow for our fans.”
In a recent poll, people who identified themselves as NFL fans were asked which side they sympathized with. Eleven percent said the owners, 25 percent said the players and 64 percent said neither.