Don't fear any NFL work stoppage
The NFL will play a full season in 2011, period.
Whether it's 16 games or 18 games remains to be seen, but the league is just too big and too good right now for Roger Goodell to let anything bad happen to it.
The NFL has reached absolute, any-given-Sunday parity -- the 2010 Bears are proof of that -- and has never been more popular.
Any way you slice the numbers, the Super Bowl was again the most viewed TV program in American history, and next year it will set another record provided the league doesn't do anything to damage the product.
So don't worry about the rhetoric, and don't get caught up in the negotiating lows and highs.
There will be a full NFL season.
As for a lockout, it probably will occur and might be necessary to get the groups to the table and talking seriously.
It could affect free agency, it will probably endanger off-season workouts, which the players hate anyway, and it could shorten or wipe out training camp, something else the players could do without.
That's bad for the Bears' offense, which has a lot of growing up to do under Mike Martz, but league wide players will rejoice at having the extra time off to heal.
Ultimately, the owners are going to get some things they want, like more games, a bigger share of the revenue and a rookie wage scale.
At the same time, the players need better long-term health care, contract protection for injuries and an expanded roster to account for the extra games and increased injuries.
The two sides will figure it out eventually, and even if it takes until July or August to get it done, they will get it done.
Goodell simply isn't going to be known as the man who killed the golden goose.
No Ball Again
Of all the leagues, Major League Baseball is the most stable, if for no other reason than the players and owners know they can't go down the work-stoppage road again.
They nearly destroyed the game in 1994-95 and then embraced performance-enhancing drugs to draw fans again, so they need not be reminded of the '94 strike that wiped out the World Series.
They have some issues -- the international draft, slotting salaries for picks, better drug testing and revenue sharing -- but the CBA expires Dec. 11, and if they don't have a new one they'll simply extend it.
The NHL skipped a season and even Gary Bettman realizes the league can't do it again in 2012 when the CBA expires. Don Fehr gives the NHLPA the best representation it has ever had, but he's not going to shut down a league that can't afford it.
The NBA, on the other hand, appears quite serious about locking out the players this summer as David Stern looks to make a big statement, and he'll be willing to miss several months again as he did in 1998-99.
That's bad news for the Bulls, who are on the rise in the East. But it's a league of steps and the Bulls have yet to take the first one, which is to win a playoff series.
They should do that this year and next season brings an important opportunity.
If there is a next season.
The good cause
K's for Kids Club, a not-for-profit corporation that takes underprivileged children to Cubs games, will hold its third annual fundraiser at The Ram Restaurant in Wheeling on March 13 at 6 p.m.
The group was formed in honor of the late Tom Bujnowski, a teacher, coach and Cubs fan who began bringing "K" signs to the bleachers in May 1998, on the day Kerry Wood fanned 20.
In 2010, K's For Kids rewarded 40 deserving kids from the Off The Street Club in Chicago with a trip to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game.
For more info, visit ksforkids.com.
Odds on winning the 2011 World Series: Phillies (3-1), Red Sox (5-1), Yankees (6-1), White Sox (18-1), Cards (19-1), Giants (20-1), Rangers (21-1), Twins (22-1), Brewers (24-1), Reds (25-1), Rockies (26-1), Braves (27-1), Rays (30-1), Athletics (30-1), Angels (30-1), Dodgers (31-1), Tigers (32-1), Mets (33-1), Cubs (34-1), Padres (40-1), Marlins (45-1), Mariners (52-1), Blue Jays (60-1), Diamondbacks (80-1), Astros (80-1), Orioles (82-1), Nats (85-1), Indians (100-1), Royals (150-1) and Pirates (300-1).
The long goodbye
ABC's Jimmy Kimmel: "Hosni Mubarak said he'll retire in five years. Even Brett Favre was like, 'Come on, man, retire already. You're embarrassing yourself.'"
Eat and greet
CBS' David Letterman: "At President Obama's Super Bowl party, they had cheeseburgers and deep-dish pizza. So much for Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative."
And finally …
Comedian Alex Kaseberg: "For the first time there were no cheerleaders for either team at the Super Bowl. Not positive, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with Ben Roethlisberger."
•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.