Friday, January 14, 2011

Top 10 reasons why an NFL Lockout Will Happen

Audi alteram partem is Latin for hear the other side, and it's a key part of every con law class. Which means that it's time to engage in the doom and gloom that is why NFL Nuclear Armageddon will happen. Because nothing will make for a popular post that you will all appreciate than pre-law work that speaks to the NFL going away. Let's have at it, shall we?

10) The league wants it. From wanting to get more of a taste than the fantasy football remora give them to getting out from under some minus markets, you should never let a crisis go to waste. The lockout will let the Lords of Football clear out a lot of agenda items on their wish list.

9) The NFLPA is lying in the weeds. They've had years to prepare for this, and might actually have spent that time to good use in terms of preparing their people and making things well and truly militant. It's not incredibly likely, given their history, but it's not impossible, either.

8) Hurting billionaires. With the collapse of the real estate market and some big over-reach stadium moves, the NFL+ players are not ready to accept anything but a big gain at the negotiating table. They'll take the short-term hit to get what they want in the long run, because they are convinced that they won't be able to achieve their goals without it.

7) Puppet commish. Roger Goodell is clearly seen as the owner's man, from the helmet-to-helmet fine situation to the 18 game season and piecemeal morality police (aka, the failure to prosecute The Favre). The rank and file of the NFLPA, which is a group where African-Americans are in the majority, have seen all of this, and do not trust what is usually a neutral party to be, well, anything like that. That can't be good for a speedy negotiation.

6) The rookie cap. When a bonus baby takes down a big contract in baseball or basketball, it causes some small rankling among the veterans, since the career span of so many players goes long. But in football, where the average player is done in about as much time as a civilian might take to get a college degree, rookies getting paid doesn't upset anyone in the locker room. So while owners might think that being able to protect themselves from the next JaMarcus Russell isn't going to be a deal breaker... well, it just might.

5) Hubris. The NFL isn't the straw that stirs the drink in American sports; it is the whole damn drink. So neither side is going to think that a work stoppage is going to cause any real damage to the sport's long-term prospects, and they are probably right. It's not as if there's a rival league to keep things moving, or that the whole world is just going to start watching college and high school ball and be OK with that.

4) Healthcare. You don't have to be particularly aware of your world to notice, as an NFL player, that there's a very good chance of severe head trauma and a debilitating later life for your choice of career. With the expansion of the schedule and an increasing number of studies and stories about yesterday's heroes, a work stoppage might just strike some as sanity. Especially the older players with enough sense to have a bankroll, or who have had their ears taken over by family.

3) Pensions. Any number of bitter old guys have made their current sad lives known. Not that the current members of the NFLPA much care, and when it comes to a negotiation, that's the kind of thing that gets thrown over the bridge first... except for, well, the fact that the media is going to look to these guys as a human interest story in the event of a labor stoppage. So even the point of negotiation that should move, won't. If you are starting to wonder how this negotiation is going to get any kind of positive momentum, you are not alone.

2) Location, location, location. With the losses that are inevitable in a lockout, the weakest franchises are going to be looking to leave Jacksonville, Buffalo, Minnesota, Charlotte and possibly even some other markets behind, especially if they can be the lucky ducks that get to claim Los Angeles first. (And yes, I know, stadium issues. That can be overcome in the short run with the Rose Bowl, and in the long run, there's money to be made. Someone in the City of Angels will figure out a way.) That's bound to complicate things.

1) Media insanity. A half dozen networks televise the NFL, and all of them fear the league's own network. Satellite dish providers count on Sunday Ticket for a sizable percentage of their customer base, and cable networks who live in fear of cord cutting customers who watch very little "live" television desperately need the league to drive ratings. Which all means that in the event of a stoppage, there will be any number of movers and shakers who will be whispering in the ear of various negotiators... which, again, has a way of complicating things. As if this isn't going to be complicated enough.

Feel free to add your own gloom and doom in the comments...


snd_dsgnr said...

Not that it would break my heart to see them leave or anything, but I don't think that Charlotte is really that weak of a market. It's a top 25 tv market, and they finished 6th in attendance this year even though the team went 2-14.

DMtShooter said...

Almost took a job there once; the trouble is that if Bank of America takes a downturn, the city goes with it. They certainly makes more sense than Jacksonville or Buffalo.

Personally, as an NFL Road Fan, I just want teams in places that I want to go to on vacation. That ain't Charlotte.

snd_dsgnr said...

Can't argue with you there. Charlotte is definitely not a vacation destination.

Hell I live only about 2 hours away and haven't been there in over a decade if you don't count passing through on I-85 on my way somewhere else.

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