It’s not exactly Opening Day, but we’ve heard about April 6 for so long that we’re relieved it’s finally here.
Florio broke down the 10 things you need to know before Wednesday’s antitrust lawsuit starts, but what happens after this is all over? Albert Breer of NFL.com took a look at what could come next if the players ultimately win and force the end of a lockout.
It will be a win for the fans, but it would also create a strange structure for the NFL to temporarily move forward with. League rules from last year would likely be carried over.
“It would be almost impossible to operate under those circumstances,” one league executive told Breer. “Teams couldn’t make any significant investments for the future. There would be no way to build stadiums, expand into new markets, increase television coverage, bring new technologies into play. . . . Conflict would be the norm.”
Frankly, that’s what we’d expect a league executive to say. It wouldn’t be a good situation for them. Some player movement would be restricted, but overall the players would survive even if some have to wait longer for free agent money.
“The scenario outlined would be damaging in a lot of ways,” said the league executive. “The entire sport would be focused on court hearings, trials and appeals.”
This is where we disagree. Football wasn’t less popular last year. If there is football news to focus on again, that’s what we’ll do. Perhaps the league’s entire focus would be on the courts, but that’s their problem. Fix it. Fans would turn back to the field.
“The league operated without a CBA for all of 1987 through 1993 and it did just fine,” an NFLPA source told Breer. “There is no reason to think the NFL will be any less popular with fans, sponsors or networks without a CBA.”
We agree, although the players and owners ultimately don’t benefit from any more time in CBA purgatory. They need to put all this drama behind them and come up with a structure that works long-term.