It could be due to the fact that my 2009 fantasy campaign across all my teams was one that I could never expect to replicated again.
It could be simply because before the season begins, the upcoming year holds so much promise for all of us.
I fully understand that most of us probably consider ourselves experts in our own minds, but that oblong ball of luck still needs to bounce in the right direction for us . In most cases we just aren’t in control of that aspect of the game. Past success or not, the new season begets an amount of enthusiasm that I welcome every year.
This year though, I find that there is a nagging, persistent, weight dampening my excitement. A little further introspection finds that the potential 2011 NFL stoppage is causing me a surprising level of concern.
On one hand, I’m certain in my belief that both sides understand the nature of what is at stake and the golden goose that they are in possession of.
On the other hand are the egos of two very stubborn and self-asbsorbed sides, joined by the great game that we all enjoy, but firm in the foundations of their own ideals that are likely to culminate into an epic battle over, primarily, money.
I want to believe the ghosts of the 1987 NFL strike have not been entirely banished or forgotten. I have to believe that the resulting damage of the 1994-95 MLB strike provides a frame of reference for those at the heart of the current ongoing negotiations. I absolutely believe that this, at best, is going down to the wire.
You have your choice of issues this time around including revenue sharing, pension benefits, 18-game schedules and rookie salary cap consideration. These are just a few of the litany of issues up for discussion over the next year.
While some of these have already been addressed in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), they remain topics of discussion going forward and points of conflict that further erode the relationship between the owners and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). Much ground needs to be covered before March 5th, 2011 (expiration of the current CBA). Note that, as an item within the existing CBA, a lockout or strike cannot not occur before this date.
The 2010 uncapped year affected many would-be unrestricted free agents (UFA) in previous months. By design, the termination of the existing CBA allowed for teams to retain these scheduled UFA’s through the course of the normal restricted free agent (RFA) tender designations. While perfectly acceptable by design, a significant number of players now harbor further resentment towards ownership over what they consider to be an unfair issue.
The two sides must come to some sort of agreement or common ground before we can hope to retain our favorite past-time in 2011. While the owners may not elect to lock out the players in 2011, by forcing what the players see as “unfair” business practices, the NFLPA may determine that a strike is necessary. Should that come to pass, the 2011 season could easily become a modern-day 1987.
No one wins and NFL fans are the ultimate losers.
As much as I would like to hide behind the easy phrases of “they won’t …. ” and “they wouldn’t….,” the politics and emotions of these negotiations, as well as the results from them, are no different than any other labor negotiation. Egos, money and ideals are on full display with little real consideration of the ultimate end-result should a stoppage occur – at least beyond the almighty wallet. It will be all too easy for each side to hold the other culpable for a stoppage and the war for public support to be fought in the media towards securing the final advantage in the court of popular opinion.
What does this all mean for you, the dynasty fantasy football coach?
- Regardless of the positive statements we are hearing, the 2011 season is very much in jeopardy
- You absolutely must consider this 2011 possibility in 2010, especially as it relates to aging players, trades, and contract periods
- You must prepare for a greater degree of player movement after a new agreement is reached
- As a commissioner (or player) in a dynasty league, how will your league handle a partial or full-year lockout with respect to the rookie pool and draft picks
- As a commissioner, consider the possibilities of a prolonged stoppage and the effects on rosters and your free agent market. You may want to consider freezing rosters after the Super Bowl until a new agreement is in place.
- As a commissioner, consider a moratorium on player/pick trades until a new agreement is reached.
- You should invest heavily in psychiatric counseling services because there will be a lot of NFL-related symptomatic depression that results.
Whether a casual NFL fan or a dynasty fantasy coach, any level of NFL stoppage is a hard thing to comprehend or imagine. As hard-core fans, many of us exist year-to-year bridged only by that period of time known as the off-season. Much of the allure of the dynasty format is that there is no off-season but, instead, only an extension of the end of regular season to the beginning of the next, filled wtih events such as the NFL Combine, Rookie Draft, OTAs, Training Camp and the preseason.
The thought of going without, if even for a short time, is not a pleasant one.
Let’s hope that our representing owners and NFLPA representatives understand the big picture and what is at stake, not leaving out of the equation perhaps the largest variable in the discussions that are to take place over the next year – us!
Until then, any takers for Brett Favre? Will take a 2012 pick in return. Surely he won’t still be playing …
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff