Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
The five longest work stoppages in professional sports history
On March 11, 2011, the NFL owners locked out the players for the first work stoppage in football since the 1987 players' strike. Nearly three weeks have passed and no progress has been made. Many people are beginning to get worried about the possibility of at least part of the season getting canceled. I am not sure any professional football fans want to see another set of games played by replacement players and "scabs", but if an agreement can't be reached by the time the season rolls around, then they may not have a choice. Unfortunately, just like touchdowns, home runs, dunks, and goals, work stoppages are also a part of the American professional sports culture. Between the 1982 NFL strike and this current lockout, there have been many other professional sports stoppages, one of which eliminated an entire season. With that in mind, and as we sit and wait for the NFLPA and the owners to reconcile and get back to work, here is a list of the five longest work stoppages in American professional sports history.
5.) 1982 - NFL - 57 days:
Two games into the 1982 NFL season, the players decided that they wanted a raise. How much of a raise? They wanted 55 percent of the gross revenue. The average NFL player lost about $24,000 and after 57 days, and many, many concessions, the strike was ended and the games (although only a total of nine of them) resumed. The players definitely made out well following the strike as they received a salary raise and retirement packages. The strike also changed the way contracts were written and obeyed by the owners. Incentives were no longer scribbled on the back of the contracts and the contracts, themselves, were now made public, rather than being hidden in the desk drawer of the owner's office.
4.) 1994-1995 - NHL - 104 days:
On October 1, 2004, the NHL began a lockout that cost the league a total of 468 games, including the annual All Star Game. The previous year was played without a collective bargaining agreement and that wasn't about to happen again. The lockout ran all the way to the middle of January, 2005. During the lockout, the players found various ways to remain active, and of course, make some money. A tournament called the "4-on-4 Challenge" took place. It was comprised of four players and a goalie on each team. The finals saw Team Ontario defeat Team USA. Another way the players stayed active was by joining Wayne Gretzky's "Ninety Nine All Stars Tour", which traveled the world playing in exhibition games. After 104 days, on January 13, 2005, the lockout ended, and the season continued. It was shortened to 48 games and led to two Canadian teams, the Quebec Nordiques and the Winnipeg Jets, moving to America to become the Colorado Avalanche and the Phoenix Coyotes, respectively.
3.) 1998-1999 - NBA - 204 days:
Many basketball fans will agree that on July 1, 1998, the state of the NBA would be changed for a very long time. Michael Jordan's career was winding down and basketball fans were looking for a new hero follow. Instead, they turned to a group of players who they would soon label as greedy, money hungry and selfish men. While most lockouts or strikes will draw mixed reviews and reactions, this one was fairly one sided. Most fans agreed that it was the players who were being unreasonable. While the strike lasted 204 days, and caused the season to be shortened to just 50 games, it was the after effects that that really shook the NBA to its core. The players may have returned to the hard-court, but unfortunately for all involved, the fans did not. Ratings and attendance plummeted and it took over ten years for the league to recover. In 2011, with exciting young stars like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, and Dwight Howard, the NBA is almost back to where it was before this devastating strike, but if the players and owners would have known the impact the strike would have on the future of the league, I truly believe both parties would have figured out a way to settle before it ever got to that point.
2.) 1994 - MLB - 232 days:
In 1994, there were a lot of firsts for Major League Baseball, but none of them were good. San Francisco Giants third baseman, Matt Williams, was headed towards Roger Maris' single season home run record. San Diego Padres outfielder, Tony Gwynn, was on pace to be the first player since Ted Williams to hit .400. The Montreal Expos, who had stockpiled their team to make one good run at a World Series title were dominating the National League and seemingly on their way to doing just that. It should have been a year to remember, but it turned into 232 days to forget. Williams and Gwynn were not afforded the opportunity chase the records and even worse, the Montreal Expos' dreams were also dashed when the World Series was canceled for the first time in 90 years. On top of that, just like in the NBA strike, the fans were fed up. When baseball returned, many of the fans did not. This "boycott" was not even close to the extent of what happened in the NBA, but nonetheless, it still cost the owners about one billion dollars. The players also lost millions of dollars during the strike. It took the MLB about three years to recover, but I think it is safe to say that today, in 2011, Major League Baseball is alive and well.
1.) 2004-2005 - NHL - 310 days:
The longest and perhaps the most devastating work stoppage in American sports history came in 2004 before the 2004-2005 NHL season began. It was the first time in 85 years that the Stanley Cup was not awarded and it is still the only time in American history that an entire professional sports season was canceled. Not one NHL games was played and because of that, the already low percentage of American hockey fans nearly disappeared entirely. It is not uncommon in 2011 for televised hockey games to receive ratings under one. With the NBA gaining its fans back and the end of hockey season conflicting with the beginning of the baseball season, many sports fans have completely tuned out the NHL. While the lockout was damaging, it was probably the most reasonable one in American sports history. Players had been receiving nearly 75 percent of the clubs' revenues and the owners lost over 270 million dollars during the 2002-2003 season. A change had to be made, but unfortunately for the NHL, the drastic measures taken have led to a decrease in fans and even more financial concerns.
More from Associated Content from Yahoo!:
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.