Guaranteed Lockout?


The NFL and the NFLPA, I am really getting tired of typing those out, have until March 4th to get a deal done. That isn’t going to happen.  Forget about your good feeling, forget about how the NFL and the players can’t let a good thing get worse, the March 4th deadline is going to come and go without a new agreement and there will not be any NFL off-season to write about.  At least outside of pro-days and the draft.

Face it, there will be a lockout.  It’s all but 100 % guaranteed.

The two sides do not have any meetings scheduled until March 3rd.  They have yet to come close to getting a deal done in the almost two years since the owners opted out of the last CBA so how could they suddenly get it done on the eve of free agency?  Simply put, neither side really cares enough at this point to go into deep rooted discussions to get this done.  It’s simply a matter of who needs the money more.

Consider that the NFL will announce on March 4th that they will lockout the players.  Perhaps late on March 3rd, the players will announce that they have de-certified the union and will then file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL to keep them from locking them out.  Confused yet?  I read the news on this stuff daily and I am.

The players don’t want to give up too much of their 60% share that they are taking in and the owners want a big reduction.  The truth is that the owners got screwed in the last deal and want to rectify it.  The players have enjoyed the fruits of that pie and want to continue eating it.  So who will blink first?

Regardless of whether the owners lock the players out or the players successfully sue the owners, the one certainty seems to be that on March 4th, everything will change and the bickering will become more public as each side tries to win a sympathy campaign from the fans.

The players will lose money because they will not get paid.  They will not get treatment for injuries, and they will not have a free agent period that almost 500 players are eligible for.  In other words they can go work somewhere else.  They can also drink, smoke pot, take performance enhancing drugs, date underage women, and the NFL can’t do anything about it.  Why?  Because the players are not under contract with the NFL.

The owners will still get money from the TV networks regardless of whether there is a deal or not, but they will lose ad revenue, they will lose season ticket renewals, PSL seat orders, merchandise sales, and will still have to pay rent on their stadiums.  But they can hold out longer.

When the March deadline passes, don’t expect a swirl of talks to ensue.  The damage is done, the parties have separated and the next course of action will be to hold their ground.  That is what will threaten the 2011 season.  The players can only last so long before they start feeling money pinches like the fans do on a regular basis and the owners will only go so long paying for their bills out of pocket without gate receipts and ad revenue coming in.

But they will hold out.  Both sides.

This is no longer a dire need to get something done by both sides to save the game, this is beyond that now.  The fact that both sides can’t even agree on marathon bargaining sessions simply says that both sides want that deadline to pass.  They need that deadline to pass.  The owners want to lock the players out and the players want hold out as long as they can.

If you thought that the public posturing is bad now, you haven’t seen anything yet.  This iceberg isn’t even visible from the crows nest yet and bulk of it won’t be below the water’s surface.  It will be far above it, for the NFL world to see.  In order for this all to be avoided, a guided finger by God may be needed to cause a miracle.  That isn’t going to happen, so bet on a lock-out.

You wonder why the Dolphins have yet to sign any of their impending free agents?  Because they don’t need to.  There won’t be a free agent period which means none of those players expected to be free agents will be switching teams.  They will all end up playing under one year deals that will be set with a inflation increase.  None of them will change teams until after the 2011 season.  How can they?

This is going to be a very quiet off-season and the real deadline for both sides is not March 4th.  That date is already past because of the fact that neither side is meeting until the day before.  The real deadline now becomes July when players are due to report for training camp.  If there is no CBA by then, the season become in jeopardy.  If a CBA isn’t in place prior to the second week of August, players safety becomes an issue and the season will start losing games.

If they start losing games, you can expect this to drag out a bit more.  Who is going to blink on this?  If the players de-certify the union then they may have a better chance at finding success, if they don’t, they won’t have a chance at all.  The owners have enough money to miss a few games.  The players do not.

Oh and by the way, kudos to you if you made it this far…this is some seriously boring stuff…:)