Imagine you are a new CEO hired to take over a company that has languished in futility the last decade under the current owners after two straight decades of being one of the best companies the industry had seen with the previous owners. As the new CEO your first task to turn the tide of losing ways is to hire and surround yourself with management personnel you trust and are confident will get the job done. As the new CEO you are able to accomplish said objectives and now you start to develop your schedule for the next fiscal year when you will be able to evaluate your labor force and decide which holes to fill in and what avenues to take to accomplish this. You develop your schedule knowing that the owners of your company and the labor force you were hired to steer back to winning ways is in a heated dispute with the owners threatening to lockout labor. Now if the lockout happens at the start of the next fiscal year your schedule is thrown out the window while you and your management personnel wait for the owners and labor to sort out their grievances.
Substitute Jim Harbaugh for CEO, Harbaugh’s coaching staff for management personnel, the York Family for the owners, 2011 NFL season for the next fiscal year and 49ers players for the labor force and you have your current state of the NFL and your San Francisco 49ers. The jubilation felt by most of the 49er Faithful after Harbaugh was hired as the 49ers next head coach in late December will come crashing down on March 4 when the current collective bargaining agreement expires. After March 4 Harbaugh and his staff can continue looking at film and developing their new offense and defense around the current players on the roster and those they will target/draft in April’s NFL draft. But all you can do is develop the plan with no one to neither teach it to nor implement to have a successful 2011 season and turn the 49ers back into contenders in a weak NFC West. The uncertainly of when the lockout will end affects the 49ers badly and its impact doubles with each day Harbaugh and his crew cannot meet and workout his players. Whether the lockout ends in March, April, May, June, July, August or even the start of the season in September the 49ers will be hugely affected. The sooner the lockout ends the less this is a concern for the 49er Faithful and the hopes that are riding with Harbaugh. Given the way negotiations have gone between NFL owners and the players it seems that both have dug in their respective bluchers/cleats and won’t budge anytime soon.
I am thinking the NFL lockout it will last until July. I have not picked sides but it is astounding to me that the owners would opt out of the current CBA because they think they got a bad deal surrounding the revenue sharing with players. The NFL grosses around $9 billion a year of which $8 billion is divided with the players 60/40. The owners want the players to take less money from the revenue while playing more games. Greed is a subtle term to use to describe the owner’s current position. Let’s not forget the owners will still have $4 billion worth of TV contact money coming their way regardless if football is played next season.
Brining this back to the 49ers they are not the only team that will be most affected by the lockout. The Broncos, Panthers and Browns are the other three teams that have hired a new head coach that was not with the team last season and brought in a new coaching staff. All four teams will be hurt by the lockout the most over any other team especially if the lockout lasts past the summer and into the new season. No matter when the lockout ends the 49ers will have to implement their new offense and defense quickly in a shorten off-season with new players they have not worked out which won’t mean the success we expected for the 2011 49ers with Harbaugh in charge.