"With this much at stake, the country should not sit back and wait for the players and owners to reach an agreement on their own," Specter wrote in an Op-Ed in Saturday's New York Times. "Congress can — and should — intervene to force a resolution of the dispute."
Specter explains how "Congress has considerable leverage over the N.F.L. because it grants the league an antitrust exemption without which it could not operate as it currently does. The joint agreements among teams on matters like free agency and revenue sharing, as well as the league’s single national TV deal, would otherwise run afoul of federal antitrust laws, which prohibit businesses (in this case, individual teams) from making deals that reduce competition.
"To ensure an agreement between the owners and players in time for the 2011 season," he continues, "Congress should place a special condition on the continuation of the N.F.L.’s antitrust exemption: the owners and players must abide by a settlement procedure known as last-best-offer arbitration. This procedure would require the two sides to negotiate; if an agreement is not reached, each side would make its last best offer and an arbitrator would chose between the two. This arrangement creates an incentive for each side to make the more reasonable offer, lest the arbitrator pick the other side’s."