The moment we all feared as fans is upon us as we’re officially in clear and present danger of the NFL being locked out. I don’t know that even Jack Ryan will be able to save us from this mess. At midnight tonight, the current collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and the NFL Player’s Association will expire. At that point, the NFLPA has made it clear it will decertify so that players can individually sue the league for damages. What does that mean? Well, it means as far apart as they are right now to striking a deal, they’re only going to be further apart once the clock strikes midnight.
Once we hit midnight the lockout status will put both players and owners in a deep dark negotiation abyss that may be impossible to resurface from.
You guys remember how bad baseball got with their lockout? The 94-95 baseball strike lasted 232 days and scrapped the 1994 postseason and World series, costing major league baseball over 900 games in revenue. Once they did come back – the game was never the same. It gained a revival with the home run (or juicing) era with Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, but most will argue that MLB never regained it’s place in the hierchy of professional sports in our country. In fact, that revival period quickly fell back on it’s face when the aforementioned stars that gave the game new life turned out to all be exposed as cheaters. Quite simply, fans still enjoy baseball, but they spent their time enjoying other stuff when it wasn’t around. The NFL became more popular (if it wasn’t already), and baseball never regained it’s leading sport in the US popularity. Similarly, the NFL is getting close to pissing all their good will with the fans and all their success away. And why? GREED. I could see if the NFL was losing money, or if it was a failing business, but it’s never been more profitable. Sure, rookie contracts are ridiculous and the player’s health needs to be taken more seriously, but what league doesn’t have policies that need revision? The bottom line is they are killing it financially. The owners are getting greedy, and the players aren’t playing ball (no pun intended). At the end of the day, both sides refusal to compromise is shameful, and evidence that people at the top are too proud and greedy to realize they have such a good thing – and I include players in that statement. The owners and players of the NFL are lucky. They run the most entertaining business in the history of our country and they get paid incredibly hansomely for it. For them to all walk away from such success is baffling and stupid. And when they come back, it likely won’t be the way they left it.