Lockout looms for Eagles fans

The National Football League crowned its Super Bowl XLV champion last night, but will Super Bowl XLVI be played in 2012?

The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players union expires March 4. The potential that owners could lock players out has brought posturing from both sides in what’s publicly perceived by some as a “millionaires vs. billionaires” battle. To win the hearts and minds of fans and labor community, the NFLPA brought its One Team Tour to the Waterworks Restaurant. It had a grassroots feel, but doubled as an opportunity to sway public opinion the millionaires’ way. The December event could be a sign of things to come.

On Super Bowl Eve, Waterworks owner Michael Karloutsos — a political player who has worked for U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and was a school-district consultant under Paul Vallas — said about 500 people turned out, including NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith. Karloutsos is of the mind that owners are less likely to break ranks than players.

“There was a big labor element to the event, but [NFL players] are a very different kind of labor. There was a lot of goodwill,” he said. “Philadelphia’s a city that lives, eats and breathes football. It’s amazing that this story’s yet to get the attention that it probably deserves. It’s difficult to imagine what life would be like without football here.”

Trying for agreement

On Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said owners were “focused on getting an agreement in place,” calling on both sides to make concessions on how to split the billions and billions of dollars in revenues. This came days after NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith predicted an inevitable lockout and a day before the sides held their first formal bargaining session in months.

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