NFL Lockout: Why Complete Shutdown by Owners Would Be a Brilliant Move

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NFL Lockout: Why Complete Shutdown by Owners Would Be a Brilliant Move
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Rumors Flying the NFL Ready To Blow the Whole Thing Up

The NFL Lockout now is about to enter its second month, and there really is no end in sight unless a judge rules the lockout must be lifted. If that happens, rumors now are spreading the NFL will just close the doors completely.

The possibility of the NFL "going out of business" is a preposterous one to most people, but if the owners think the players' demands will put them out of business in a few years, then there is no reason to drag the process out.

The core of the labor dispute is the owners say they are giving up too much to the players. Whether that is an accurate statement or not is a matter of debate, but the owners have made their feelings clear and they are not going to budge from that point, so arguing it is a waste of energy.

The players do not want to give anything up and decertified as a union as part of a litigation strategy and to force the owners into a corner.

But now this news from Profootballtalk.com:

We’re hearing initial rumblings pointing to the possibility that a loss by the league at the appellate level will prompt the owners to completely shut down all business operations until the players agree to a new labor deal.  The thinking is that, if the owners cease all operations, the NFL would not be violating the court order because there would be no lockout.  Instead, the league essentially would be going out of business—something for which the NFL repeatedly chided the union in the weeks and months preceding decertification of the NFLPA.

As we hear it, the league accepts the reality that it will take a lot of heat if it pursues this path (and a lot of that heat will be emanating from this web address), but it could end up being the only way to squeeze the players into accepting the owners’ terms, especially if the Eighth Circuit agrees with Judge Nelson.

Before anyone starts going ballistic, think about it. This is a brilliant move. Whether the league locks players out or shuts the whole thing down, the end result is the same: no football in 2011.

The players have been trying to paint themselves as innocent victims in this whole mess, and that is about as far from the truth as you are going to get. The players want more than the owners are willing to give, and the owners drew a line in the sand.

Whether you agree with the owners or not is a moot point, they made their decision on how much they were willing to give up, and it was not enough for the players.

By shutting down completely, the players lose all leverage and now have to bargain with the owners again if they want to play.

Chances are the deal will not be as good as it was in February, but I am not particularly concerned about the players at this point.

The owners want football to go on as much as the players; anyone who suggests otherwise is just a shill for the players. I may sound like a shill for the owners on occasion, but that is because I know, sooner or later, the players are going to lose.

Rooting for the owners has been my way of saying I’m rooting for the house in poker. They are going to win; just give in and get this thing over with.

If shutting down completely gets the players to the table sooner, then I am all for it.

If I thought lifting the lockout would solve things, I would be in favor of it, but I know that is not the answer and actually could lead to the complete destruction of football as we know it, because then it goes into the hands of the lawyers.

By taking the discussion out of the hands of judges and lawyers, the owners may finally find the ray of light that brings a new collective bargaining agreement and a trouble-free future for the league.

Maybe the owners should have seriously threatened to nuke things six months ago? Who knows, we might be waist-deep in minicamps right now.

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