I firmly believe that former NFLPA executive director the late Gene Upshaw would have taken the last deal that NFL owners put on the table.
That got me wondering did Upshaw have a plan?
Upshaw knows that collective bargaining is about giving and taking. In 2006 Upshaw knew that NFL owners had to include luxury box revenue into the formula for figuring out the salary cap as they were making huge amounts of money that way.He knew if they didn’t they would face some serious backlash from fans for being greedy.
Upshaw figured that the owners would cave in fear of losing that revenue stream, which is purchased mainly through businesses. Also, with the pressure from the fans to keep things going, along with the uncharted waters of inclusion of luxury box revenue, Upshaw must have figured that he could get it all included into the formula even if it was bad for some owners.
That way the next time CBA negotiations came around he could give up some of the pie in return for some other stuff like lifetime health insurance and increased pensions. Unfortunately, Upshaw died from pancreatic cancer suddenly.
What made me convinced that Upshaw would never desertify the union is that he oversaw the 1987 strike and anti-trust litigation. So, he knew that desertification before the CBA expired would be labeled a sham and thus be locked out. The other alternative is after the CBA expires is having to wait six months to desertify and then sue, but he knew that would never happen as players would start cracking when the bills start piling up from lack of money coming in.
In the end, the NFLPA better be careful what they wish for, because it could come back to haunt them.