The National Football League season that is supposed to end Jan. 30 in the hype and hoopla of Super Bowl XVII in the Rose Bowl begins modestly Friday at Goucher College in Towson, Md., when the Baltimore Colts become the league's first team to open training camp.

But few times in the 60 years of the NFL have there been so many obstacles and pitfalls to the orderly progression of a football season, from training camps through the regular season, to the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Among them are:

The possibility that a players' strike or a lockout by management could disrupt the season.

The possibility that the NFL's ability to enforce its rules on member clubs could be in jeopardy as a result of the Oakland Raiders' successful lawsuit clearing the way for them to play this year in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

A controversy concerning use of illegal drugs by players, which some fear could shake public confidence in the integrity of the game.

A strike or lockout would have the most immediate impact, and now seems a distinct possibility since there is no hint of agreement between the NFL Players Association and the NFL Management Council, the league's labor negotiating arm.

The two sides are to resume bargaining Tuesday, and continue Wednesday and Thursday, in New York. But they have philosophical differences that appear to leave no room for compromise.

The players are demanding that the owners divert 55 percent of the NFL's gross income to a trust fund that would use the money to pay player salaries according to a formula based on seniority. Built-in performance incentives would enable superior players to increase substantially their base income.

NFLPA President Gene Upshaw of the Oakland Raiders says this principle is "etched in stone" and that the players will not accept a contract that is not tied to a percentage of gross income.

Jack Donlan, executive director of the management council, says the owners will never agree to paying a percentage of gross income and that they are willing to take a long strike over the issue. He says the owners are willing to negotiate improvements in wages and fringe benefits, and that he will have a proposal for the union to consider this week.

Neither side plans any action during training camp or the exhibition season, but Donlan says management will use this period to take a careful reading of union strength. A lockout just before the regular season opens Sept. 12 is a possibility, he says, because that is when the players begin drawing their paychecks.

Likewise, the players say that if there is a strike, it likely will come during the regular season. That is when they will have the most leverage, they say, because a strike would deprive the owners of lucrative television revenues.

Potentially even more important to the NFL's future is the Oakland lawsuit, in which a federal jury in Los Angeles held that the league acted in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in attempting to block the Raiders' move to Los Angeles.

If upheld on appeal, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said, that decision could lead to widespread relocation of franchises "under auction-like conditions." It also could lead to antitrust attacks against the league's system of revenue sharing, in which all clubs share equally television, playoff and Super Bowl receipts. The NFL maintains this has been one of the keys to keeping its teams competitive.

Just last week the Raiders and the coliseum reached agreement on a lease arrangement for the Raiders to play in Los Angeles this fall. Rozelle says NFL lawyers are studying ways to block the move, but no action has been taken yet. Al Davis, managing general partner of the Raiders, says the case is all but closed, and he's preparing to move his team south.

Also pending is a suit by the City of Oakland to take the Raiders by the process of eminent domain. NFL '82: Season of Its Discontent --By Bart Barnes Washington Post Staff Writer

The National Football League season that is supposed to end Jan. 30 in the hype and hoopla of Super Bowl XVII in the Rose Bowl begins modestly Friday at Goucher College in Towson, Md., when the Baltimore Colts become the league's first team to open training camp.

But few times in the 60 years of the NFL have there been so many obstacles and pitfalls to the orderly progression of a football season, from training camps through the regular season, to the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Among them are:

The possibility that a players' strike or a lockout by management could disrupt the season.

The possibility that the NFL's ability to enforce its rules on member clubs could be in jeopardy as a result of the Oakland Raiders' successful lawsuit clearing the way for them to play this year in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

A controversy concerning use of illegal drugs by players, which some fear could shake public confidence in the integrity of the game.

A strike or lockout would have the most immediate impact, and now seems a distinct possibility since there is no hint of agreement between the NFL Players Association and the NFL Management Council, the league's labor negotiating arm.

The two sides are to resume bargaining Tuesday, and continue Wednesday and Thursday, in New York. But they have philosophical differences that appear to leave no room for compromise.

The players are demanding that the owners divert 55 percent of the NFL's gross income to a trust fund that would use the money to pay player salaries according to a formula based on seniority. Built-in performance incentives would enable superior players to increase substantially their base income.

NFLPA President Gene Upshaw of the Oakland Raiders says this principle is "etched in stone" and that the players will not accept a contract that is not tied to a percentage of gross income.

Jack Donlan, executive director of the management council, says the owners will never agree to paying a percentage of gross income and that they are willing to take a long strike over the issue. He says the owners are willing to negotiate improvements in wages and fringe benefits, and that he will have a proposal for the union to consider this week.

Neither side plans any action during training camp or the exhibition season, but Donlan says management will use this period to take a careful reading of union strength. A lockout just before the regular season opens Sept. 12 is a possibility, he says, because that is when the players begin drawing their paychecks.

Likewise, the players say that if there is a strike, it likely will come during the regular season. That is when they will have the most leverage, they say, because a strike would deprive the owners of lucrative television revenues.

Potentially even more important to the NFL's future is the Oakland lawsuit, in which a federal jury in Los Angeles held that the league acted in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in attempting to block the Raiders' move to Los Angeles.

If upheld on appeal, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said, that decision could lead to widespread relocation of franchises "under auction-like conditions." It also could lead to antitrust attacks against the league's system of revenue sharing, in which all clubs share equally television, playoff and Super Bowl receipts. The NFL maintains this has been one of the keys to keeping its teams competitive.

Just last week the Raiders and the coliseum reached agreement on a lease arrangement for the Raiders to play in Los Angeles this fall. Rozelle says NFL lawyers are studying ways to block the move, but no action has been taken yet. Al Davis, managing general partner of the Raiders, says the case is all but closed, and he's preparing to move his team south.

Also pending is a suit by the City of Oakland to take the Raiders by the process of eminent domain. Reversing a lower court decision, the California Supreme Court ruled last month that Oakland had the right to use that process, and sent the case back to the lower court for trial.

The drug issue surfaced with the publication in the June 14 issue of Sports Illustrated of a first-person account of his troubles with cocaine by Don Reese, a former defensive lineman with three teams.

Since then Rozelle, who previously had said drugs in the NFL were "not a major problem," has acknowledged that illegal drug use by players might be more of a problem than in society as a whole. Reversing a lower court decision, the California Supreme Court ruled last month that Oakland had the right to use that process, and sent the case back to the lower court for trial.

The drug issue surfaced with the publication in the June 14 issue of Sports Illustrated of a first-person account of his troubles with cocaine by Don Reese, a former defensive lineman with three teams.

Since then Rozelle, who previously had said drugs in the NFL were "not a major problem," has acknowledged that illegal drug use by players might be more of a problem than in society as a whole.