In terms of profits and TV exposure, the NFL appears to be the most successful sports league in North America. But I am starting to wonder about those people. The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union expires at the end of next season and there is no agreement in sight. The parties are not even negotiating right now. The 2010 season has no salary cap, and the effects of this are still unknown.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, the team owners held their annual league meeting this week in Orlando. What was the major item on the agenda? Making sure that the deck chairs on the Titanic were perfectly arranged. Changing the overtime rules in the postseason to reduce the impact of the coin flip that determines who gets the ball. Never mind the looming possibility of a work stoppage in 2011, and the complete lack of agreement about the salary cap. That stuff is trivial. There have been 27 postseason overtime games since 1958, roughly one every other year, and the fact that a team could lose one of those games without ever getting possession of the ball has been keeping Roger Goodell up nights. Even worse, neither the players not the coaches are happy with the decision that the owners made about postseason overtime games. In another strange turn of events, the Minnesota Vikings, who lost a playoff game last season in overtime and didn’t get an offensive possession, were one of the four teams that voted against the rule change. Good work, guys!