During my three-hour tour as guest host on The Dan Patrick Show (I still have no idea how it happened, and I’m not nearly delusional enough to think I was actually any good), NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith joined the discussion in the second hour for an interview that focused on the ongoing labor drama between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
As I scrapped questions from the outline while trying to listen to answers from Smith in the hopes of coming up with brilliant follow-up questions (it’s sort of like trying to juggle a tennis ball, a bowling ball, and a rotten egg . . . while riding a unicycle . . . through a minefield . . . covered in ice), I had to throw overboard what would have been a pretty good question, at least in comparison to my other questions.
Why don’t the NFL and the union try to work out agreements on smaller issues, in the hopes of building some momentum by establishing common ground?
It would make sense. Like the U.S. and the Soviets during the Cold War, the bigger issues couldn’t be solved absent the progress made by reaching a series of smaller agreements.
It’s possible that the union wants to avoid eventually being backed into a corner, with a consensus reached on every secondary issue and only the money dilemma remaining. Also, it’s possible that the union wants to tie its position on the other issues to the total compensation paid to the players. Striking deals on hGH testing and the rookie wage scale and the 18-game season would make it impossible for the NFLPA to use those issues as a way to get a better financial deal.
Still, any progress would be welcome at this point, especially with Smith convinced that a lockout is coming.
We used to be optimistic that it won’t happen. But as I told Cris Collinsworth during his visit to the show, there’s a good chance that the only NFL football being played come September 2011 will involve analysis from Collinsworth, play-by-play from Gus Johnson, and computer-generated men wearing NFL uniforms.