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Looking at what would happen if the lockout is lifted

Players File Antitrust Lawsuits Against The NFL In Federal Court Getty Images

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.

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20 Responses to “Looking at what would happen if the lockout is lifted”
  1. endzonezombie says: Apr 6, 2011 8:47 AM

    It is no surprise that the media’s self interest has it siding with the players cause at least to have the lockout lifted. Neither fans or journalists benefit from no football operations. All these pro-owners shills have to ask themselves: how do they benefit from siding with the owners? There is no benefit. They cannot be true fans if they are supporting an extended lockout.

  2. commoncents says: Apr 6, 2011 8:51 AM

    The owners need to win today so we can move forward with football the way we know it. If the players win today, maybe the lockout ends but the mess will continue on.

  3. eagleswin says: Apr 6, 2011 8:52 AM

    endzonezombie says:
    Apr 6, 2011 8:47 AM
    It is no surprise that the media’s self interest has it siding with the players cause at least to have the lockout lifted. Neither fans or journalists benefit from no football operations. All these pro-owners shills have to ask themselves: how do they benefit from siding with the owners? There is no benefit. They cannot be true fans if they are supporting an extended lockout.
    ———————
    I support the longterm health of the game. That means supporting the salary cap and draft. The key is to be able to see how this effects things 5+ years from now, not just 2011.

    If I was dying of cancer and knew I only had 12 months to live. I’d want football this year at any cost as I would never live to see the 2012 season.
    That is how some of the player supporters are acting, like they will die without football in 2011.

  4. Marv says: Apr 6, 2011 9:08 AM

    If the players win this day will mark the end of football as we know it… it will be a sad day.

    How can you say it’s a win for the fans if we have a problem rather pushed (and increased) then solved?

  5. txchief says: Apr 6, 2011 9:16 AM

    The NFL needs to reformulate as a single business entity to stop all of the crap once and for all. They would then be free to set reasonable pay scales for their employees and avoid the spiraling labor cost that drive up the cost enjoying game the FOR THE FANS!

    I’m no “owner’s shill,” but i’m tired of having to pay thousends of dollars for NFL tickets to watch idiotic, unmotivated, multimillion dollar players perform poorly. I also resent having to pay fulll price for meaningless preseason games.

    I am a fan of the teams, not individual players. Even though they don’t realize it, the game of football will outlast the current crop of geedy, entitled players and their lawyers!

  6. chapnastier says: Apr 6, 2011 9:18 AM

    ““It would be almost impossible to operate under those circumstances”

    Yet the article says it would be a win for the fans? Come on guys, we aren’t buying the spin anymore. No CBA would be great for someone like me who is a fan of a team with an almost unlimited cash flow but it would destroy the game itself. One of the best things about the NFL is that any team can win on any given Sunday. That is why the NFL is so popular. If there is no CBA then the NFL will slowly turn into the MLB. Big market teams will win every superbowl. How is that a win for the fans?

  7. airraid77 says: Apr 6, 2011 9:32 AM

    This is a sad day for all people if the players win…As far as I am concerned, This is setting dangerous precedent for buisness, beyond pro sports….And the worker ultimately loses.

  8. shooliganza says: Apr 6, 2011 9:35 AM

    Endzonezombie, the other thing the pro-Owner guys can’t stand is capitalism. Wicked, wild capitalism where people compete for compensation and companies have to be smart about how they spend and what contracts they sign. Many of the pro-Owner guys who have taken over the boards indicate they are conservative and Republican and even Libertarian.

    I smell a new movement: Libertarians Opposed to Capitalism (LOC-out) or Republicans for Rigidly Regulated Capitalism. Perhaps a Tea-Party Against Free Markets movement?

  9. bluepike says: Apr 6, 2011 9:48 AM

    Actually, the best scenario would be for Judge Nelson to order each side back to the mediation process and get a new CBA in place. She can order this without ever rendering a decision concerning the injunction that the players seek.

    Once this is done, if both sides can reach an agreement on a new CBA, her decision will not be necessary and any further litigation will not be needed either. I’m kind of surprised that she didn’t order more negotiations in the time leading-up to this day – she had the powere to do it. Let’s hope she does it now and everyone finds “labor peace” – in spite of De Smith.

  10. oldbyrd says: Apr 6, 2011 9:58 AM

    Even Mr. Lerner a former high profile union leader said”Unions are on their way Out” This is why. They destroy and disrupt everything they touch.

  11. pixelito says: Apr 6, 2011 10:25 AM

    Congratulations to the players when they get their victory in court today! Nothing better than watching greedy Billionaires lose.

  12. purpleguy says: Apr 6, 2011 10:28 AM

    Two points that I’m not sure have been stressed enough. First, to prevail in an injunction, the moving party has to show irreperable harm will be incurred without an injunction — harm that can’t be compensated by monetary damage. Here, the players can simply be paid the salary they lost if the injunction isn’t granted and they ultimately win (actually triple damages in an anti-trust suit), meaning an injunction isn’t legally necessary.

    Second, this judge has a history of forcing mediation either before or pending her decision. She could try that route now, forcing the parties to mediate before a ruling is issued (or with it hanging over their head).

  13. skins359 says: Apr 6, 2011 10:34 AM

    Yet the article says it would be a win for the fans? Come on guys, we aren’t buying the spin anymore. No CBA would be great for someone like me who is a fan of a team with an almost unlimited cash flow but it would destroy the game itself. One of the best things about the NFL is that any team can win on any given Sunday. That is why the NFL is so popular. If there is no CBA then the NFL will slowly turn into the MLB. Big market teams will win every superbowl. How is that a win for the fans?
    ——————–
    Ironically turning into the MLB wouldn’t be the worse thing. Somehow, someway baseball has found a way to let small market teams to compete.

    The real problem would be turning into the NBA which is extremely top heavy and bias towards large market teams. The NBA is so bad that 7 teams have more then 50 wins in an 82 game season. All the while only one NHL team over the course of a similar season has more then 50 wins.

    Maybe it’s just the nature of the sport, but I don’t think the NFL would be as bad as the NBA or MLB for that matter. Still the cap has allowed for a golden standard of parity.

  14. mizzouram says: Apr 6, 2011 10:35 AM

    Everyone who is predicting the end of the world if the players win is on crack. If the players win there will be a settlement by the end of the season and we won’t have to talk about this for another 20 years (ie what happened in the Reggie White Case) .

    Also its interesting how many “thumbs down” pro-union comments get on this comment section. Some of the repubs on here need to stop spamming dislikes. No one cares.

  15. laeaglefan says: Apr 6, 2011 10:44 AM

    Let’s just hope that Judge Nelson is a football fan!

  16. thefiesty1 says: Apr 6, 2011 10:44 AM

    The union* was a sham. Surely Judge Nelson will see that and rule in favor of the owners/league. This will force the players to get off the spot and move on to football.

  17. airraid77 says: Apr 6, 2011 10:52 AM

    mizzouram,
    republican plants? what about all the democrat plants?
    if the owners win, it wont be the end of the world either for you dems…
    PEOPLE LIKE MAKING MONEY, and normal people like successful people.

  18. deljzc says: Apr 6, 2011 10:53 AM

    I am pro-owner for one simple reason: every other sport I’ve seen more power given to the players has resulted in a negative impact on the long-term health of the game. Be that MLB, NBA or the NHL.

    The more rigid the restraints (even if they are illegal in the “normal” business world) to both PLAYERS AND OWNERS almost always results in a better product on the field for fans to enjoy and follow.

    That includes restraints on player movement (via draft, rookie contract length, restricted free agency and franchise tags) AND restraints on owner spending (via a salary cap, rookie wage scale, revenue sharing, etc.).

    The players’ main legal gun, Jeffrey Kessler, has stated emphatically he thinks he can win in a court of law to get complete Lassez-faire principles applied to the NFL – no restrictions at all on player movement or salary limitations or revenue sharing.

    To be pro-player is to be pro-Jeffrey Kessler and his vision of a future NFL via litigation. I question anyone short-sighted or selfish enough to worry only about the 2011 season when that is at stake.

  19. endzonezombie says: Apr 6, 2011 11:33 AM

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the poeo-owner forces are also Tea Party activists. First they shut down the NFL, and as of Friday, they will shut down the US government. This is just further proof that the Tea Party is a cancer in this contry that needs to be erradicated.

  20. Deb says: Apr 6, 2011 12:05 PM

    A lot of the people going ape about the players succeeding are too young to remember anything about the league prior to the current structure, so the idea of change scares the wee-wee out of them.

    That’s how some of us felt when free agency came into the picture. Omigosh, the NFL will never be the same. Football as we know it is over. But football continues, and it’s great. Other than when my team sucked, the only time I recall football not being great was when the owners fielded scabs and every team sucked.

    Guys … get a grip. The game has steadily evolved from the Canton Bulldogs. You’ll get used to any changes the way fans before you got used to hard helmets, color TV, Howard Cosell, instant replay, and networks drawing first-down lines on the field.

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