The winds of change may be ablowing.

Three separate stories that may be interrelated:

1. The players and the NFL are working to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

2. The Supreme Court ruled in a case of American Needle vs the NFL that for the sake of buying apparel, the NFL is 32 teams and not one company.

3. The House is following up a previous investigation to see what steps the NFL has taken to prevent head injuries.

The interplay of the first two stories is covered fairly well here, here, and here.  Feel free to follow up on your own.

The more interesting story has to do with the following points:

A.  The NFL has a deal to buy helmets exclusively from Riddell. 

B.  The NFL does no independent testing on the helmets, nor do they require certain standards.

C.  If a player wanted to wear a different brand of helmet that he felt could protect him better, he can't.

To the outside world, it appears that the NFL has apparently made earning money from licensing equipment a priority over player safety.  To the House, it apparently looks the same way.  To the players, well, anybody want to speak up on this one?  Kurt Warner, perhaps....

So going forward, will the Supreme Court ruling nullify the NFL's licensing of equipment?

Will the CBA have wording that allows a player a choice of protective equipment?

Will the House force independent testing of equipment and therefore require the NFL to use the best equipment and not the one that pays them the most money?

The NFL is powerful, to be sure, but it is finding that there are forces beyond its reach.  For the players, and us fans, that is a good thing.

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