We're a few years away, but it's coming. It's happening, and there's nothing any of us can do about it. In a few years courts will start hearing class-action lawsuits filed by retired players against the NFL. And if that first wave of lawsuits ends badly for the league -- with precedent-setting rulings that the NFL owes millions of dollars in damages -- the jig's up. The game's over. The NFL is finished.
Note that I didn't write, "The NFL as we know it is finished." I didn't write that, because it's worse than that.
The NFL. Finished.
I realize I'm describing the indescribable, but I'm not imagining the unimaginable. It's pretty damn easy to see how bad this could be, because while the NFL can afford bad publicity and a tough union and the occasional suicide by a beloved former star, what it can't afford is the millions -- hundreds of millions, easy -- it would lose should its former players start winning these lawsuits.