This article discusses some ramnifications of the possible stop to the collective bargaining agreement and NFL salary cap (apologies to those who have already read it). It's kind of funny right now to think that Tarvaris Jackson or Cedric Griffin could command the sort of huge salaries which would actually be hurt by the lack of a salary cap/floor in the NFL, but a lot could happen in another year. Maybe TJ breaks out and is even better than what Michael Vick had been expected to become. Maybe Cedric "Hard-hittin'" Griffin stays at CB and does not allow the largest cushion of any NFL cornerback in 2009. Call me skeptical, but it could be fun to look up this article 2-3 years from now, either way.
Maybe the players and owners will have a revelation that they have owed so much of their success and fortune to the salary cap/floor of the current CBA and the revenue sharing which [I forgot his name, the original owner of the NY Giants] insisted that the league adopt way back when. In the past 10-15 years, the NFL has overtaken MLB as the national pasttime. The NBA's best days were under a salary cap, and the NHL waited until it may not survive without contraction to adopt a salary cap system. MLB also won a wave of fans over with steroid-induced home runs (and pitchers, apparently), and will be paying for that for many more years to come; however, some of MLB's recent resurgence has follwed a revenue sharing/luxury tax system, too. Generally, these are smart guys making these decisions, but the question is whether they are short-sighted and mostly in it for short-term gains for themselves (MLB owners and players, NHL owners) or in it for the long term best-case scenario for the league.
I can recall hearing John Madden spouting off against the salary cap and complaining about a lack of dynasties a few years ago, but even at the time he was kind of full of it. The Broncos had won 2 in a row as the salary cap was implemented, but John Elway's reitrement and Terrell Davis's injuries ended that dynasty, not the cap. The Packers and Rams had been there twice in spans of 3 years or less when Madden made his remarks, and both teams could have had a third SB appearance in them had it not been for egotistical coaches, finger injuries, and game-ending interceptions. The Patriots were just beginning their dynasty when the bemoaning of parity was wasting minutes on my television. The Giants have now been there twice since the salary cap era, presumably without cheating like the Patriots did (allegedly). The Steelers have won 2 of the past 4 Super Bowls (and were only 10 years removed from their last SB before the first of those).
Unfortunately, the growing consensus is that there is no difference between the cap era and pre-cap era, and this viewpoint is also incorrect. First praised for parity (and criticized by those like Madden for not allowing dynasties), the salary cap seems to have enemies no matter the results. There have been instances of parity, too. Since the salary cap, The Cardinals, Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and Carolina Panthers have appeared in their first-ever Super Bowls. The worst team from 2007 added 10 wins and went to the playoffs in 2008. The 2001 Championship Patriots had been a 5-11 team in 2000. The Carolina Panthers were a 7-9 team the year before they played in the SB. The Cardinals were only an 8-8 team in 2007. The Dallas Cowboys have consistently had high payrolls and big-name players, but they have not played in a Super Bowl since the salary cap was introduced. Some team even went to the SB with Rex Grossmann under center a few years ago, and if that isn't parity, then I don't know what is.
Let's hope the NFL players and owners alike agree to a workable deal that keeps the salary cap (and free agency and the draft, which also play big roles in the competitive quality of the league) in place.