March madness
And from the category entitled "Surprising stories", the NFLPA union and the NFL owners were unable to settle their differences and hence are going to court. Also in this category, bears apparently defecate in the woods and the Pope is Catholic.

And watching on as this battle moves into the gridiron scenery of a courtroom somewhere in Minnesota, are the fans who just want to see football.

You surely cannot be on the sides of the owners because they apparently caused this whole scenario. And you surely cannot be on the side of the highly-paid pampered sports athlete who considers a $10 million signing bonus "an insult".

Whoever you believe, whoever you dislike the least, all you hope is that the situation is resolved before any meaningful action is missed. And preferably before they show another repeat of Rich Eisen running the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in a suit.

I still remember working for the BBC Radio 5 team on the baseball strike in 1994. I took part in a show with former Atlanta Braves' pitcher Tom Glavine and seemed to be the only person on the side of the players.

That dispute was pretty much summed up the owners saying that salaries were costing too much and that a cap needed to be introduced as they were losing money. And when they refused to prove it by opening their financial records, the players walked out and there was no World Series that year.

And of course since then every baseball franchise has continued to grow in value, salaries have continued to spiral and all the threats of doom and gloom for the sport never came to pass. And here we are in the NFL in 2011 and it's a little similar eh?

I have no real sympathy with the likes of Jerry Jones who have totally over-stretched themselves in building massive stadiums and want someone else to foot the bill. But I do understand that any NFL owner who has made their money in business outside of football, must have done something right through their lives to be where they are now.

Those alternative NCAA bracket match-ups again
Peyton Manning v Jerry Richardson
Jeff Saturday v Dan Snyder
Roger Goodell's $1 salary v Jeff Pash's $1 salary
Jerry Jones' ego v Jerry Jones
Art Rooney v the rest of the owners
DeMaurice Smith v the ghost of Gene Upshaw
Ed - that's enough match-ups ...
But I cannot buy the argument of claiming you need more money to cover costs and then refusing to prove it. That one didn't wash in baseball in 1994 especially when the Montreal Expos did open their records and were found to be actually making a profit, and it will not work now.

And I do understand the players' concerns about maximising earnings in their short career spans. "MEAT", Maximise Earnings at All Times. This is the philosophy of every major professional sportsman or woman and whilst too many of them allow it to be squandered, they should be compensated well for their efforts playing at the very highest level.

There is obviously a level of distrust between the players and the owners, one that seems to be fuelled by various factions appealing to the media for the moral high ground. Roger Goodell sending an e-mail to all the fans trying this within 24 hours of the lockout starting was about as pathetic as I have ever seen.

Both sides are going to have to give way to resolve this issue. That is what negotiation is all about. But all the fans want is a resolution so we can go back to talking about football, free agency, the draft and the Bucs' prospects for 2011. Not what awful hat DeMaurice Smith is going to wear outside his latest courtroom appearance.

You've been great, enjoy the Gap Band.