What do I think of the NFLPA’s decision to decertify? Oh, there are a dozen things I could say.
1. Where’s a “Hail Mary” when you really need one?
2. In the end, the union ran the same play it ran two decades ago, when it won the right to unrestricted free agency: It wrapped itself in the robes of Minneapolis federal judge David Doty, the players’ best friend (so far). It’s the NFLPA’s version of Vince Lombardi’s power sweep.
3. Football is the most secretive, least transparent of sports – by about 100 yards. So it’s no surprise the owners, to their detriment, resisted supplying the players with key financial information until it was too late.
4. If defense wins championships, then billable hours win lawsuits.
5. Which reminds me: Which potential court battle do you find more riveting, the players vs. the owners or Dan Snyder vs. the City Paper?
6. Just think: For the time being, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning aren’t passers, they’re plaintiffs.
7. Roger Goodell talked about reducing the number of preseason games; instead, he gave us a labor impasse. A labor impasse might be the only thing more boring than a preseason game.
8. It’s hard to decide which is the scarier prospect: No pro football or no “Hard Knocks.”
9. I’m sure George Cohen is a swell mediator. But the owners and players needed somebody more persuasive – maybe even armed. They needed Denis Leary. They needed “The Ref.”
10. If this labor dispute gets much longer and uglier, Paul Tagliabue may never make the Hall of Fame. The old CBA, the one the owners opted out of, was his baby, remember.
11. There’s only one reason the two sides would push it this far: They feel they can get away with it. Let’s face it, the league’s popularity is at an all-time high. The money continues to pour in. The fans might be mad now, but they’ll come back – like they always have. So where’s the risk?
12. In fact, next month’s draft will probably get its highest ratings ever.