Early this afternoon, it appeared that football - as we know it - was gone. The players union and the owners couldn't agree on a contract. That meant that the NFL would work under a salary cap that was slightly higher than last year in 2006 and have an uncapped year in 2007. What might follow would be chaos. The player's association made it clear that they will not negotiate a new salary cap should this one expire. So, big market teams would spend. And small market teams would suffer. You'd never, ever, see the Panthers, Jaguars, or Bengals in Superbowl again.
Of course, the NFL would object and would certainly lockout the players in 2008. The union would do everything in its power to object to that move, and could dissolve, which would leave the NFL open to anti-trust suits. And even if neither event happened, the result would not be the high quality product we see today.
Thankfully, they showed some sense - however little - and extended the deadline for free agency by 3 days. In the hopes that they might still strike a deal. Yeah, its unlikely, but what alternative did they have?
As I stated in an earlier post to this blog, the problem is an unwillingness by the owners to part with money. Big market teams want bigger money. They don't want to share. And that leaves less for the union.
We'll see how this plays out this weekend.