Super Bowl XLV was the most-watched TV show in U.S. history, attracting 111 million viewers, but a big letdown could follow the National Football League's (and the Packers') big triumph: No football next season. The collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and players expires in March, and disagreements over revenue sharing, player health care, and expanding the season from 16 games to 18 could easily lead to player lockouts or strikes. Was the Super Bowl our last NFL game until 2012... or even 2013?

Get ready for empty fields: "On the surface it's a simple labor negotiation," says Michael Cahill in Bleacher Report. But the central issue — "the owners simply want more money, and the players simply don't want to take less money" — seems insurmountable. With "greedy owners" pushing and "fed up players" standing firm, "the only Super Bowl played next year might be played on an Xbox."
"Super Bowl XLV: Why it was the last NFL football we'll see for a long time"

The players should stick to their guns: The regular season should stay at 16 games, as the players are insisting, says Stefanie Loh in Pennsylvania's The Patriot-News. Having fewer games is part of the "magnetic allure of the NFL," giving each game "maximum dramatic effect." On this point, fans should support the players, even if it means "millions of Americans will spend next fall listlessly channel surfing on Sunday nights."
"NFL players should stick to their guns in labor talks"

Players and owners aren't that stupid... right? "Teaching your fans that they can live without you for a year is a prescription for disaster," says Dan Shaughnessy in Sports Illustrated. Just ask the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, which both suffered after shortened or canceled seasons. The truth is, most fans don't care about any of the details, "we just want our football." And if the "millionaire players and billionaire owners" can't "find a way to make peace," we won't forgive and forget.
"Memo to the NFL: A work stoppage is disastrous to your health"