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NFL players approve new CBA

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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?

Rosters expanding

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?

Revenue split

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.

Other Takeaways

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!

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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