2006_03_snfllogo.jpgOver the past decade the NFL has benefited from peaceful labor relations to grow into the most popular sport in the U.S.. The players and owners have earned billions and billions of dollars and today they may throw it all away.

Strangely, this conflict is not a traditional players vs. owners battle, but more of a battle between owners. On one side is the “group of five” owners who are attempting to maximize revenues through selling stadium naming rights and anything else they can. They resent being forced to share revenue with teams that do not do everything they can to produce it.

If the owners fail to agree to the latest proposal from the player’s chaos will ensue. While the league will not stop operating in the short term, the 2007 season will be played without a salary cap. Gene Upshaw, the head of the NFLPA, has vowed that once that happens the players will never again agree to a salary cap. Furthermore, the 2006 season will be played with a cap of $94.5 million. Most teams had expected to see a figure slightly above $100 million, so a lot of players could be looking for work after 9pm tonight. The Jets have restructured the deals of Chad Pennington and Curtis Martin while cutting Kevin Mawae to get under the $94.5 million figure, but it is believed there are about ten teams who will have to make cuts tonight to comply with the cap and some big names could be free agents as a result.