In these final hours before 24 owners bend over to the agents' agent, Mr. Upshaw, it is worth a moment to reflect on what could have happened had they rejected the "final offer". All commentaries (that i've seen) have been apocalyptic ... chaos to follow ... self-immolation of the union in 2008 ... strike or lockout ... all that stuff. But why? Having tried for a couple weeks now to imagine a future without the CBA, that future doesn't appear so terrible. Wasn't pro football fun to watch before the CBA came along in 1993? Doesn't the labor market grade and distribute all kinds of talent and skill throughout the economy ... without a draft? without intermediation by a union? without rules and regulations for "free agency"? without salary caps ... and vet minimums ... and bonus proration? How about if ? : instead of the draft, teams bid money (and other desirable contract terms) to college players they wished to hire ... and the player chose one. Each contract, naturally, is for an agreed period of years ... after which, neither party has any obligation to the other. Teams could negotiate options to extend, if they wished. If a team wants to cut a player while he is under contract, they buy it out. That is to say ... teams would have "labor relations" with their players identical to their labor relations with their coaches ... and scouts ... and capologists ... and dieticians. There are no anti-trust violations; simply standard contract law. What would be lost is Rozelle's vision of pay-parity. Some owners would carry big payrolls ... and compete for championships. Other owners would low-ball their employees, and merely play out their schedules. But the union doesn't care about that anyway. Television well may PREFER such a scenario. Why should the owners object?