NFL players approve new CBA
In what was an extremely close vote, the NFL Player's association voted to approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The owners proposed it and it took the players about two weeks to vote and approve. When I say close, I mean close like you and 20 of your closest friends in a phone booth close. The final tally was 1019 to 959. Yes folks, 60 votes decided the fate of the NFL players for the next 10 years! So, what does this actually mean?
17 game schedule
The 17 game schedule will take place between the 2021 and 2023 seasons per the window agreed upon. Why the window? The new television contracts will be in place by then, which will allow the new money from those deals to infuse into the new split of league revenue between owners and players. How will they figure the 17th game into the schedule? Personally, I think it should be a rivalry game and they should market it like college football does. The NFL loves their marketing campaigns. I can see it now: "Rivalry Week presented by _____"
A seventh playoff team in each conference
This change will take place this upcoming season. By adding a seventh team, it will give the bye to only the first overall seed in each conference. We're either going to see a lot more crappy teams make it and get blown out, or a low seed hit its stride and upset a two seed who would've gotten a bye previously. This means more playoff football, but of what quality? Are we truly going to get better games Wildcard Weekend?
With adding a game to the regular season, it was natural to expand rosters to offset wear and tear. Practice squads will grow to 14 by 2022, active gameday rosters will now be 48 instead of 46, and weekly rosters can be 55 instead of 53 by elevating two practice squad guys every week to main roster. This will hopefully be enough to offset wear and tear. But my question will be are they willing to make adjustments to this model by examining the injury data?
The players will eventually get a 48.5% share of league revenue once the escalators finish kicking in before the 2022 season starts. this brings them in line with what other major sportd leagues are getting now. Cinsidering they play the most violent game, it's well-deserved. NFL owners have long gotten away with non-guaranteed contracts. Hopefully this'll ease some tensions of the close vote.
The changes in disciplinary and drug policies are huge as well. Most notably, THC positive tests are bumped up to 150 nanograms from 35. There's now a neutral decision maker for all commissioner related disciplinary decisions. Players have always thought Roger Goodell had too much authority as judge, jury, and executioner. These two things alone were big wins for the players. Not to mention the lessening of padded practices in training camp and regular season. Adding that to the fact that there's one less preseason game and a limit on how many hours players can spend at the facility per day, it seems as if they took some player safety measures.
While the fallout isn't fully clear, I imagine there will be some. So many players took hard stances for or against this that it's inevitable we'll see some fallout of the same variety. We get more meaningful football, but will it hold quality? We also have to make some adjustments to what we deem successful seasons as far as numbers are concerned. Per game averages will hold more weight. On the bright side, we won't have to get nervous about a work stoppage for another 10 years. Cheers to more football!