The NFLPA filed to decertify themselves as a union and then filed a lawsuit. Decertification may sound like the players are disbanding and will not play again! But in all actuality, it is required for the players to use the courts for relief. Under the National Labor Relations Act a group of workers is allowed to form a union and negotiate using an elected official. Both parties (in this case the team owners and the NFLPA) must negotiate to form an agreement called a collective bargaining agreement. Both parties must come to the table and negotiate in good faith. They don't necessarily have to reach an agreement, but they must fail in good faith. Neither side can go to the courts while negotiating a CBA. This is why the NFLPA decertified. It doesn't mean they are going on strike. It means they can now pursue legal remedies available to a group of plaintiffs that are not available to a negotiating union. Once the NFLPA decertified, the owners locked the players out. The infamous (as in The Three Amigos definition: "More than famous") Judge David Doty of the United State District Court of the District of Minnesota will again determine the fates of the new American Pastime.
The NFLPA wants to increase the salary cap (the amount each team can spend on player salaries), keep the season at a 16 game schedule, and increase the retirement pension benefits paid to retired players from the owners (there are many other demands not listed here). They would like to have a revenue based cap that increases as the teams revenue increases. Basically, as the players bring more money into the team revenue, they have the opportunity to by paid more (that makes sense in a performance-based, capitalistic society . . .). The NFL is a $9 billion a year industry, a player's average time in the NFL is 2 - 3.5 years. The owners seem to have a secure financial horizon, whereas players can be removed quickly from the industry that is on their backs.
The owners? The players? What about our economy? I don't think our economy can sustain the failure of the NFL and NFLPA to reach a new CBA. I hope the NFL and NFLPA figure out they cannot afford to not play. I hope their love of money conquers their stubbornness. I hope they agree to continue pleasing us with bone-crushing hits, nail-biting 2-minute drives, and relationship building (and ending) fantasy football office pools!