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NFL and players extend deadline

By Bert Gambini and Joyce Kryszak


Buffalo, NY – The National Football League has given itself and its Players' Union another day to hammer out a collective bargaining agreement. The current deal's deadline has been extended until midnight this evening.

If a deal isn't reached by then, it appears the league will have its first work stoppage since 1987.

Two main points are at issue: How to equitably share revenue and the owners' desire to add two more games to the season.

With those ongoing talks as a backdrop, Erie County Executive Chris Collins talked about the the long-term viability for the Buffalo Bills.

There was peace between the league and the players for nearly a quarter decade. But it was not always an easy peace. The 2006 agreement that just expired was never embraced by Bills owner Ralph Wilson.

Other owners soon came to agree that the players were getting too big a share. But with popularity and revenues up, neither side was exactly hurting. And the public funding the Bills enjoy further sweetens the pot. Collins said it is a wise investment.

"We've assisted them with game day expenses, as well as continuing to invest capital into Ralph Wilson Stadium, which is owned by the county...so, it's a reasonable investment that we make in order to ensure they stay here ," said Collins. "And the economic benefits are a multiple of anything we do."

With the county covering those costs it helps make the Bills an even more profitable team for owner Ralph Wilson. He has no debt on the stadium or on the team itself.

But the aging owner has said the lopsided revenue sharing in the current agreement did not bode well for the long-term viability of small-market teams, such as the Bills.