Posted by Will Brinson
Everyone spent Thursday being full of thanks for the NFL. (The NFL also spent the day being thankful for its loyal constituents -- CBS boasted our highest ratings since 1998 thanks to a fantastic New England - Detroit matchup, FOX scored its best ratings in 15 years, and the NFL Network posted it's highest ratings ever.)
Seems Friday, though, was back to the grind of political attempts at rallying certain fans to either the owners or the players side. DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA executive director, kicked things off in a Bloomberg News interview, calling the lockout a "14" on the likelihood-of-happening scale, which only goes to 10.
"The magnitude of the loss would be at the very least about $160 million to $170 million per team-city," Smith said. "That is a conservative estimate of the economic impact."
Naturally, the NFL disagrees -- NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello even called the numbers "economic fairy tales."
"It is a series of numbers pulled from thin air in a misguided attempt to inject politics into the collective bargaining process," Aiello said. "There is a fair deal to be done and soon if the union will bargain with the same fervor it displays in creating economic fairy tales."
The "soon" portion is what fans care about, but that won't stop either side from preaching the "poorer me" version of their story; George Atallah, NFLPA representative, joined Mike Florio as the guest host of the Dan Patrick Show on Friday and pleaded the players case.
"The question I have for owners is why do you keep telling the fans the players get 60 cents of each dollar when it's just not true," Atallah said.
But from the "please handle this right now, thanks!" category comes the news that Atallah said the union is committed to devoting two weeks in December to intense negotiations, and the league is open to discussions as well.
"We have told the union leaders that we will be available to meet almost any time and are working with them on scheduling our next sessions," Aiello said.
So, to sum up: football is really, really popular and makes everyone involved really, really, REALLY big piles of money. And yet, the two principle parties are so concerned with how to split the proverbial pie that they're not focusing on what's important -- getting in the kitchen and baking that sucker so that fans will pay to eat it come 2011.
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