"We've got a decade of labor peace and all our games on free TV far into the future," said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. "You know, I came close to buying an English Premier League soccer team not long ago. And I see that Manchester City won the EPL this year but lost something like $300 million doing it. That's not going to happen in the NFL. We've got cost certainty for the next decade, and every team every year has a chance to win. What other sport can say those things?"
"The 10-year labor deal allowed us to make significant stadium improvements," said Packers president Mark Murphy, who's overseeing an expansion and renovation of Lambeau Field. "It's not just the length of the CBA; it's what's in it. Players are going to have longer careers because of the health and safety initiatives we put in with the union."
"I think we'll look back at 2012 in a few years as an anomaly," said Chiefs owner Clark Hunt.
Maybe, as the owners say, the contentiousness around the game is natural. Maybe, as one league official said last week, "10 years of labor peace doesn't mean 10 years of labor tranquility." Maybe, as the Browns' Watson says, "it's the normal course of big business in America." But now as much as ever, the NFL needs the actual football to get started. It needs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III and a good Jets quarterback controversy to take football-loving minds off an off-season that has been one long bummer.