The pending 2011 NFL lockout is getting too close for comfort now. Not only could the 2011 NFL lockout threaten offseason movements by teams, it could put the upcoming football season at risk of getting canceled. That is of course the worst-case scenario in all of this, but if the NFL owners and the Players’ Union can’t come to an agreement very soon, the reality is that NFL fans will be the ones to suffer the most.
On Monday, New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie took out his opinion on the whole ordeal to the front page of newspapers. He attacked both the union and the league for failing to make progress on a new collective bargaining agreement, and he certainly didn’t hold back on his opinion about it. He noted that the two sides need to stop complaining about money and make this happen. Many fans are going to agree with him very soon, even if he seemed to be re-routing his frustrations about losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Many NFL fans might not even understand what a lockout even means, or what it could cost the fans and the teams in the 2011 regular season. Good source material for this can actually be found in Hollywood, with a movie that stared Keanu Reeves called “The Replacements.” We won’t debate about whether that movie was a great addition to sports movie history, but what it dealt with was the repercussions of an NFL lockout. The main result was that many of the owners in the movie ended up hiring replacement players to take the field just to get games played.
Many liberties were taken in the film, but the whole point was to show what could possibly take place if the current NFL players and owners stay on separate sides of the fence. When the current collective bargaining agreement comes to an end at the end of February, a shockwave of consequences will reveal itself. During a lockout, it basically means the owners are no longer allowing players to report to practice facilities, team events, or anything else that has to do with the franchise. Think of it like a parent changing the locks to the front door.
The immediate consequences are that no new contracts can be signed, no trades can take place, and the 2011 NFL Draft will be at risk. No new deal between the players and the league (basically the owners) means that no rookie contracts can be signed either. If the labor disagreement goes for too long, it could start affecting the early training camps, and eventually start cutting into the 2011 preseason and regular season schedule. Game cancellations could soon follow that, causing a lot of disdain around the league.
With only two games remaining on the schedule this year (Pro Bowl and Super Bowl), we could be looking at a gap between major football news that might make this an extremely boring offseason for football fans. We will surely hear daily updates about the owners and players refusing to give up their paychecks, and each side will play off the media how they are being hurt by the other side.
Get ready NFL fans, because we might be in for a long offseason packed with bickering and negotiations between the millionaire players and billionaire owners that show no respect for the people actually buying the tickets.