PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With a midnight deadline looming, the word from Washington D.C. on Thursday evening was that the window for NFL labor talks has been extended 24 hours.
Without a new collective bargaining agreement, the league could lock out the players. It would be the first work stoppage in the NFL since 1987.
And the possibility of a lockout has many local fans wondering what it would mean for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Among the black & gold faithful, you won’t find a lot of empathy for a battle between millionaires, but this battle is threatening what around the Pittsburgh area is a deeply-rooted way of life from August to February.
“Its going to be a tough winter if there’s not football. This town lives and breathes football, especially Steelers football,” said Pat MacCaglia, of Center Township. “We watch the games; we have Steeler parties, we’ll miss them.”
The idea of no football is not something any Steelers fan wants to even fathom.
“It’s just the whole region – you feel better, you feel like a winner and whenever the team’s winning, you feel good. You spend more money and it helps the economy,” said Bob Crerar, of Fennelton.
“Coming out of a Super Bowl loss, and really hoping to get back there next year for another Super Bowl, I hope it doesn’t happen,” said Derrick Johnson, of McKeesport. “I hope a lockout doesn’t occur.”
Those hopes ride with the officials who are hunkered down in a Washington D.C. conference room today trying to figure out how to split up $9 billion.
If there is no agreement, the owners will lock out the players and the season will be in jeopardy.
“They’ll stand to make a lot more money if they do get it worked out,” said Avery Hawkins, of Mount Washington.
“Weekends in Pittsburgh this coming fall I think will be a little dreary if we don’t have Steelers football,” added Catherine Sweitzer, of Robinson Township.
The 24 extension alone would indicate enough progress to justify the additional time, but no one is talking so far, adhering to the mediators request for a news blackout while they talk.