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NFL Lockout: Could League Completely Shut Down If Owners Lose Appeal?

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I don't know how much of this report/commentary is chatter or how much is simply just throwing crap up in the air and seeing where the fan takes it when it hits, but this would be a devastating blow to pretty much everyone connected to the game of football on Sunday, whether it be players, employees or fans. Pro Football Talk has thrown the idea out there that, rather than open for business if the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with Judge Nelson's original ruling on the lockout, that the league would then in turn shut down business operations until an agreement was in place with the players.

As absurd as it sounds, it could be a sound legal strategy. With the NFLPA decertified and if the ruling is the NFL cannot lock out the players because their union is no more, the league could simply change the plan. Instead of maintaining business operations minus anything to do with the players, they could simply close up shop. 

They would not be locking out players, so they would be in compliance with the courts and the courts can't tell a business that they must remain open. 

Now, would the league actually do this? I would hope not. I would imagine that this would irreparably harm the sport for a long time, perhaps permanently.  

Could this happen? Absolutely. It would create that same leverage the owners were seeking for negotiations with the players in the first place to get a new CBA that is less favorable to the players in general. Will it happen? I really, really doubt this. If the court comes back and rules no more lockout, I think the owners would take their medicine and start off the NFL year.

Since the league has been using the cry to say that they want a fair deal and they want football to be played more than anything else, then shutting down everything so that there were no chance for football would come across as extremely hypocritical. The owners have already lost enough in the eyes of the fans. They can ill afford more gaffes like shutting down the league completely.