They are making progress. Owners and players realize they have the best pro sports franchise in the US and are not going to screw it up:I've been wondering- its all about the money, right? The owners must think they get more money by extending the season 2 more games. The players don't want to extend the season, but they want more money, too. Both sides have to consider a third alternative- additional player exposure and community contact as a marketing tool.
- Require more time for community service and player appearances. Establish local team and player shared charities. The team establishes local connections to schools and businesses as the team is the more stable party. The players use these connections to raise funds for local charities, schools, sports orgs. The community gets closer ties to their team, their players; and that equals more NFL apparel sales! The players also get local contacts and relationships that help them AFTER football.
- Require retired NFL players to join a NFLPA charities organization. Establish branches in all the NFL cities, make links to schools, businesses, hospitals, service orgs. The retired players make appearances and assist fundraising efforts, receive exposure and income that can be used to help with financial/medical needs. Every high school football team near an NFL site should have an ex-NFL'er coach or supporter. Every college football team might get similar appearances/motivationals/mentoring.
- Require the players to MOVE to their team community. This is a big one and I understand the difficult of players having to move several times over a career. But the local ties are SO important to this effort that its mandatory. Work out deals with realtors to make an effective plan.
- Its a FULL TIME JOB to be an NFL player. Workouts at team facilities, Focused practices with sections of players, Study sessions with film about yourself and opponents are all items that players should accept as part of their income. A team should expect a player to be physically training, team practicing and studying 5 days a week. Intersperse that with some vacations like real people. Use some of that time as the marketing / charity / community support time and you create time to take a break from football and pursue other activities.
- Player has am offseason job? 2nd career set up? going to school? has a great gig with their alma mater? GREAT! That's a player who can apply for greater freedom from the established programs, but will still have to do some appearances and marketing as a duty to themselves as they never know what may befall them later in life, and as a duty to their peers who may have had that unfortunate event. Pay a fee for reduced activities in this role and that is how the players can contribute.