Although this site is [and always will be] devoted primarily to Texas Rangers baseball, I might occasionally spend some amount of time talking about other issues elsewhere in the world of sports.
For instance, had I been around last summer, you can bet that I would have had plenty to say about that ESPN circus that was LeBron James’ Decision.
For once, I want to talk about the NFL. [Briefly.]
Back in 1994, people were just about tired of hearing about the strife between the millionaires and billionaires. Towards the end of the summer that year, the baseball players’ union went on strike.
When the strike ended in early 1995, the fans were not as quick to forgive as everyone had hoped. Attendance fell and it took a while for everyone to remember why they loved the game.
For some, though, baseball never really came back. [You can ask an Expos fan about that, if you know where to find one.]
10 years later we found out that the NHL hadn’t learned anything from MLB. In ’04-’05 there was no hockey at all. They canceled an entire season, something that the sport is still recovering from.
The NFL is at a similar crossroads and there’s a good chance that the players are going to go to war with the owners. This time it’s different, though, because the owners and the commissioner aren’t worried [and I don’t think they really need to be].
There’s no question that the NFL is cocky. They know what kind of product they have and they know how much money they make. They know how big a deal the Super Bowl really is.
They don’t care about their players and they sure don’t care about their fans. They don’t care because they don’t have to.
If there is a lock-out, the players are going to try to appeal to the public, but I doubt the public will care. The players will stand up to the owners, but eventually the owners will get their way [by adding 2 more games and further diminishing the power of the union]. Eventually football will come back and the public will be happy, even if the players aren’t.
The NFL owners hold all the cards. They know what their game is worth to the fans and they know that there’s a good chance that the players are going to fold once they realize how much money they’re missing out on.
For now, they can just wait everyone else out. I expect this to get a lot uglier in the coming months, but it’ll probably turn out to be a lot of wasted air.