NFL Labor Debate Could Mean No Fall Football

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The NFL Super Bowl is nearly two weeks away, but if a new labor agreement isn't reached soon, this could be the last professional football game played for a while.

The current labor contract between the National Football League and the NFL Players Association expires (NFLPA) a month after Super Bowl XLV.

"We're 46 days away from lockout. That's where things stand," said NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah. "I think it's unfortunate that we've gotten to this point.

The standoff centers around two issues -- revenue sharing and scheduled season games.

NFL players currently receive 60 percent of the league's $9 billion in annual revenue, but team owners say that's unsustainable given the economic downturn.

They want to reduce the players' share by 9-18 percent.

The league also wants to add two more regular season games, for a total of 18. Yet, players say that increases their risk of injury and thus, they deserve compensation.

Players hope the economic reality of a league lockout will influence Congress to intervene.

"We're not talking about penalizing players only," Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday said on Capitol Hill. "I mean, this is going to hurt your parking lot attendants, your restaurants, your hotels. Everybody in your city hurts when this happens.

So far, members of Congress have shown little indication they will intervene.

The NFL insists its owners are eager for a deal, but one that is reached through compromise.

"If there's a work stoppage of any kind, it hurts everybody," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the NFL Network. "It hurts the clubs, it hurts the players, it hurts the game, and most importantly, it will hurt our fans."

Unlike the baseball strike in 1994 that resulted in a cancelled World Series, NFL players insist they want to work.

But it may take a last second "Hail Mary" pass for a compromise to be reached.

*Originally aired on Jan. 21, 2011.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.