On March 11, the NFLPA decided to dissolve, the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and the NFLPA had elapsed and we now have a work stoppage in the NFL for the first time since 1987. As has been reported, the brunt of this is over how to split $9 billion (that's with a "b") in revenue.
And now comes reports this morning that the owners have enough money to cover a lost 2011 season, which pretty much means they had an inkling a lockout was coming all along and were prepared for it.
In case you want a definition of a lockout, because I don't know what it all entails either, here's the details according to ESPN: "A lockout is a right management has to shut down a business when a CBA
expires. It means there can be no communication between the teams and
current NFL players; no players -- including those drafted in April --
can be signed; teams won't pay for health insurance for players."
Once the player's union dissolved and the lockout began, it pushed forth a series of moves, once again best described by ESPN:
"On Friday, the union decertified, meaning it declared itself out of
the business of representing players. In exchange for giving up their
rights under labor law, the players are able to take their chances in
court under antitrust law. That paved the way for 10 players, including MVP quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning,
to sue the owners in federal court in Minneapolis in a class-action
claim. The players also sought an injunction to block a lockout -- even
before one had been imposed. The antitrust suit -- forever to be
known as Brady et al vs. National Football League et al -- attacked the
league's policies on the draft, salary cap and free-agent restrictions
such as franchise-player tags."
If that injunction is stated above is granted, the NFL 2011 season could be played with no salary cap in place.
Whew. So what does this all mean? Well, there are going to be a lot of court meetings and rulings before negotiations start back up again. And they will. Both sides know they have far too much to lose by not playing a season.
All of this offseason nonsense doesn't directly impact fans/collectors until they can't watching training camp or a preseason or regular season game. Then people get pissed, turned off by the sport and move on to something else.
While the die-hards stay with their sport, there are far too many alternatives in life these days to take for granted that fans will come back when the owners and players are ready. That's not a given any more.
I still think something will get worked out before too long, and it better, because there are a lot more impacting situations going on around the world right now than grown men fighting about a game.
FYI: This site - direct referral from the NFLPA site, keeps tabs on the situation: www.nfllockout.com.