Count me in the "owners are greedily trying to force a lockout" camp. I understand that economically things have to change for NFL owners, but this lockout is seeming like a near certainty for 2011. Don't take my NFL away! I'd have to find another hobby, and I don't wanna! Seriously, the NFL is about the hottest brand going right now anywhere, and these guys want to mess with their own success by shutting down. From the reports I've read, the players don't have a lot of options except giving in or being locked out. And even "giving in" seems tough to do when by most accounts there aren't any real offers on the table for them to take. And of course they won't give in, unions rarely do before the pain really sets in. So what can the union do? Just wait for the inevitable. I say no!
Stick with me for a moment on this one, it is way out in left field. Most of my ideas are. The owners brought in scabs during a previous player strike to keep the game going, right? Remember that? Well, what''s keeping theunion from running their own league in the event of a lockout? Every few years someone tries to make a competing league with the NFL, only to have the NFL destroy them in ratings and interest due to a superior product (XFL and WFL) or shady TV deals (USFL). But if the NFL isn't playing, what's keeping the same NFL players we're such huge fans of from doing their thing in a whole new league? A player-owned league? A Vince McMahon league? Donald Trump? Who cares! Get the best players on the field to play the game we know as American Football and we will watch it! Can't put it on CBS or FOX due to NFL contracts? Put it on the Food Network, for cryin' out loud, fans will find it and follow it if there's no NFL to compete with. Of course there would be an enormous set up cost to such an endeavor, but hey, there's billions at stake in this labor showdown. Even a total bluff in this direction would only cost a few million and be well worth it. Imagine the owners realizing they might be out of football altogether if they continue this course, or relegated to a second-tier league! The players have the tremendous advantage of knowing way in advance that this is coming, more than enough time to prepare such an audacious plan. Current player contracts with NFL teams need not be honored if there is a lockout, surely? I am not a lawyer, there are probably a million reasons why they can do no such thing, but how awesome would that be to stick it to the owners in such a way?