Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Great Moment In Organized Labor

Guess what everyone. The biggest farce in the history of American labor relations is over.

TigerBlog isn't quite a union guy, though he did study the labor movement considerably back in his undergrad days. He remembers reading about events like the Haymarket Square riot, the evolution of labor unions on the railroads, the Wobblies and any number of other significant moments through the years.

One of the class assignments was to watch a movie called "The Molly Maguires," which starred Sean Connery as the leader of the saboteurs who were trying to force the mining company to recognize unionization.

At no point in any of the classes that TB took did the subject of how to split billions of dollars between two equally greedy factions, all while the leadership tries as much to save face as anything else, come up.

Raise your hand if you thought there was the slightest chance that the NFL season wouldn't start on time.

The NBA, by the way, is a whole other situation, as teams there really do need to do something to save the league. In the NFL, though, there is so much money pouring in that it's almost obscene.

Actually, it is obscene to think that the players and owners had to have a work stoppage in the first place, especially considering how many people continue to be unemployed or struggling.

In the end, it was mostly a game of chicken between DeMaurice Smith, head of the players union, and commissioner Roger Goddell. In fact, TB wouldn't be shocked if the actual meetings that the two had between them were mostly spent with conversations like this:
"DeMaurice, how did we paint ourselves into a corner like this?"
"Not sure, Rog, but we have to figure a way out to save face."

Ultimately, both sides won, and the lawyers really won.

Mostly, the players got out of all of their off-season workouts and mini-camps, which they don't like anyway. And both sides can continue to print the money.

Now that the lockout has ended, the feeding frenzy of signing players can begin.

Princeton has a long history in the NFL, though the Tigers were not represented last year on an NFL roster. In recent years, Princeton grads like Dennis Norman and Ross Tucker were staples in the league, solid veteran professionals.

Of course, the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett, is a Princeton alum. So is the Giants' Director of College Scouting, Marc Ross.

The 2011 season could feature a Princeton player in the league, if Harry Flaherty can make the New Orleans Saints.

Flaherty was Princeton's tight end last season, when he actually threw more touchdown passes than he caught. He did catch 25 passes, the third-best total on the team.

Since the end of the season, Flaherty has been working hard as a long-snapper, something he didn't do at Princeton, as well as a tight end and special teams player. That kind of diverse skill set can help him find a spot on a roster.

Trey Peacock, who caught 72 passes for 955 yards last season, might be a few split seconds too slow to be an NFL player, or at least to get a chance to be an NFL player. In a league where the stopwatch for a 40-yard dash at a workout means more than what a player has shown in his college career, Peacock might not be fast enough.

TigerBlog thinks this is a sham, because he saw enough of Peacock to know that he could help someone in the NFL. TB isn't saying he could be Miles Austin or Danny Woodhead, or maybe he is saying that, because all those guys needed was a chance.

It's a weird league, the NFL.

On the one hand, about half of first-round draft picks - even in the top 10 - never make it. Tons of money is thrown at players with the right tools, even though they'll never make a difference either.

And it hardly matters if those players are less than sparkling in their ability to stay out of legal trouble. If they can play - or look like they can play - they'll get another chance. Look at Plaxico Burress.

And yet, for all of that, people - TigerBlog included - can't get enough of the NFL. Nothing in American sports compares, which is why there is so much money in the first place.

So relax, football fans, the lockout is over.

Wonder if this nonsense will be added to the curriculum anytime soon.

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