We'll file this under the heading of "crap that none of us even wants to think about."
National Football League owners will continue to generate much of their revenue in 2011, even if next season's games are cancelled due to a labor dispute, according to a note Monday by rating agency Standard & Poor's.
In fact, some teams may be able to survive two years without any games being played, according to S&P, which said it has confidential debt ratings on various stadium bonds for facilities used by NFL teams and also tracks teams' finances.
Now, color me skeptical, but as far as teams that could weather a two-year work stoppage, I would have to think that a) those teams are very few in number, and b) the Minnesota Vikings are not one of those teams.
But even while the league could financially weather a two-year work stoppage, if there wasn't any NFL football for two years, the league would be deader than dead. If you want to know what a one-year work stoppage can do to a professional sports league, look no further than the NHL. That league had a lockout that started on September 16, 2004, and wasn't resolved for 310 days. Nearly a full year passed, and a whole season went by the boards, as the owners and the players simply couldn't come together on an agreement. It's taken them five or six seasons, but they're finally starting to gain some real ground on the American sports scene again. They're still not on ESPN like they used to be, however, and there are a bunch of teams that are talking about potential relocation, so you can't say that the league has fully recovered yet, in my opinion.
That was a one-year work stoppage. Now double that.
Major League Baseball had a similar situation with their 1994 strike, but MLB was eventually brought back by
Cal Ripken, Jr.'s streak Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa steroids. It might not have been quite as severe as the NHL lockout, but it took MLB a while to come back, too.
Make no mistake. . .people would find other things to do on Sunday afternoons in the fall in the event of a two-year work stoppage. I don't think it's going to get anywhere near that far. . .of course, I didn't think there was going to end up being a lockout at all, and that's going to end up being incorrect, too, from the looks of things.