Other issues to watch this NFL season
Los Angeles isn’t the only issue left on the NFL’s plate with labor finally concluded. Below are quick looks at some of them:
■ In-game experience: The league continues to worry about fans choosing to stay home and watch games on elaborate in-home entertainment systems rather than go to a stadium. Blackouts ticked up last year, so whether that trend continues will bear watching.
■ HGH testing: The league and union have been at loggerheads over how to implement HGH testing as called for in the new CBA. It’s unclear whether a protocol will be in place in time for Thursday’s season-opening game.
■ Commissioner’s authority: Players continue to rankle under the personal conduct powers used by the commissioner. The recent five-game suspension of rookie Terrelle Pryor, which appears as if the league was punishing him for bad acts in college, was not well-received in locker rooms. Will the union start to appeal these moves?
■ NFL Network: While the network has made strides with distribution and is now in 58 million homes, breaking down the doors at Time Warner Cable and Cablevision are next on the to-do list to boost carriage.
■ International: Will the league continue to play regular-season games in London or move to a different market? And does Toronto, instead of seeking more than just one game from the Buffalo Bills, instead go after the entire team?
■ Debt: The league clamped down on team debt preparing for the lockout. With that in the rearview mirror, will restrictions be loosened?