The NFL's Collective Fumbling: A Lockout Primer

The current collective bargaining agreement between the owners and NFL Players Association expires at 11:59 p.m. on March 3rd, 2011. That much is clear. Not much else is.

Mike Florio from Profootballtalk led with a story yesterday suggesting that an impasse, not a lockout, is what could be in store come March 4th. Declaring an impasse based on the league's last best offer would potentially put the ball squarely into the players' court: barring further negotiations, the players would ultimately have to strike (unless of course they challenged that an impasse had actually been reached).

The NFL world this week is focused on the Super Bowl, but you can rest assured that behind the scenes the labor dispute is heating up, and will dominate the headlines once the Super Bowl hype dies down next week. To get you ready and primed to follow what's going on, and perhaps see through the rhetoric of both sides, we've put together a little lockout primer with some links that will help you navigate the treacherous waters of the labor dispute.

NFL players contract: NFL players and owners leaping into the great unknown - chicagotribune.com
The offseason is full of uncertainty for the 32 NFL teams. This handy little Q&A explains the key issues in an easy to understand way.

NFL Labor pains - National Football Post
In the sixth part of his labor pains series, Andrew Brandt continues to provide a Q&A on some of the hot labor topics and offers an opinion on what an eventual deal could look like.

What’s at Stake in the N.F.L.’s Labor Talks - NYTimes.com
Judy Battista argues that both sides are starting to feel the pinch of a potential lockout. Local sponsors and luxury suite holders are threatening not to renew contracts, which is going to hit small-market teams and owners with new or renovated stadiums particularly hard. And Major sponsors are unlikely to negotiate extensions without knowing what's in store.

Labor leaves NFL with uncertain season - NYPOST.com
Bart Hubbuch offers a guide to the NFL labor dispute, and argues that what everything boils down to is a case of big-market owners vs. small-market owners, with the players as unwitting victims and the fans as innocent bystanders. He also details the main sticking points in a dispute that NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith last week compared to "war."

Ten things to know right now about the labor situation - ProFootballTalk
This basic overview of what could happen once the current CBA expires is already two weeks old, but is an excellent, though lengthy, summary of what could unfold this year. Required reading.

NFL: Owners, players have ‘lot of risk’ if no labor deal - DailyHerald.com
The NFL already is feeling financial effects from the uncertainty of its labor negotiations. The league estimates its cumulative gross revenue losses could reach $1.7 billion by 2015 if there is no agreement with the players union before the next regular season is scheduled to start.

The NFL's Collective Fumbling - adweek
Anthony Crupi explains how a lockout could cost the four networks as much as $3 billion in ad revenue. Fox generated about $975 million in ad dollars with its Sunday NFC package, NBC hauled in some $850 million, CBS  churned up around $825 million and ESPN’s MNF round out the sum with ad sales of $175 million.

NFL lockout would be a losing move for everyone - Times Record News
Zach Duncan is sure that a lockout will happen in March, and thinks it's about as unavoidable as one of those Category 5 hurricanes swirling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sports books could take big hit if NFL has work stoppage - Las Vegas Review Journal.com
As all sorts of stakeholders in a potential lockout begin to add up their potential losses from a prolonged labor dispute, news reaches us from the Las Vegas sports books that a season-long NFL work stoppage could cost them an estimated $850 million.

Chiefs lay off eleven, including Pete Moris - ProFootballTalk
Spotted at the Super Bowl XLV media center, where Moris is one of many team P.R. staffers assisting with the mammoth credentialing and media relations undertaking, Moris was in very good spirits. He spoke favorably of the Chiefs, and he jokingly taped the words "unrestricted free agent" over the Chiefs logo on the shirt he was wearing.

Matt Hasselbeck, Antonio Cromartie engage in Twitter war over labor talks - Sporting News
Only if you did not watch any sports this weekend could you have missed that Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie got into a war of words Thursday via their Twitter accounts. Cromartie had been critical of union leadership's slow pace of negotiations earlier this week, leading Hasselbeck to call out Cromartie.

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