NFL lockout seems inevitable, but how long will it last?
As March 4 quickly approaches, the reality should be setting in that a lockout is inevitable. The question is, how long will it last?
If I'm understanding all of the information circulating correctly, it would seem that court rulings will dictate the strength of leverage on both sides. Judicial support will play a very critical part in which side will have to adjust its terms to come to an agreement.
No case is bigger than the fight over the television licensing agreement money. If the owners don't have to share that money with the players, it gives the owners a distinct advantage over the players' union, but if the players win, then the same applies the other way around.
With all this in mind I do believe both sides have a understanding of how dangerous a game of chicken this is. Both sides need to take into consideration that no football hurts both the owners and players. If a deal gets done before the season begins, I don't see the work stoppage affecting the popularity of the sport. However, if it goes into the preseason and beyond, I don't think anyone can predict how much damage that may do.
I would imagine the decision makers didn't build the most popular game in America by not understanding the consumer. If there's no football come regular season, it's because of greed, stubbornness or both.
If greed is too much of the driving factor in negotiations, then there will never be enough for either side. Both sides must have a little give to get a deal done.
Stubbornness is a product of ego, and we all know it's never a good thing when egos get involved. Both sides need to check the egos at the door and be open to doing what makes sense -- even if the terms don't match up exactly with original figures.
Most believe a deal will be in place before the season gets here. I believe there's too much that will be lost if a deal is not done, so I'm also expecting an agreement to be in place no later than July, but there will be a work stoppage before that happens.
| February 22, 2011; 11:54 AM ET
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