NIGHTMARES COME TRUE: Remembering The Last 10 Sports Seasons Ruined By Stoppages

1994 mlb strike

We’d all like to assume that NFL owners and NFL players will figure out a new collective bargaining agreement before next season.

After all, billions of dollars are at stake.

But let’s not forget: major sports leagues have gone away for long periods of time before.

Just take a look for yourself.

1972 - MLB loses 86 games to a player strike.

A 12-day players strike over pensions and binding arbitration marked MLB's first ever work stoppage.

Winner: Players

Key takeaway: Salary arbitration

1981 - MLB loses 713 games to another players strike.

MLB players did it again nine years later over free agency, but to much greater effect. The midseason strike axed 38% of the Major League schedule.

Winner: Players

Key takeaway: Free agency

1982 - NFL players held a strike that canceled 98 games, shortening the season to 9 games from 16.

The players stuck over a revenue sharing rate they thought was unfair. During the work stoppage the NFLPA held their own All-Star games during the strike, although neither managed to sell well.

Winner: Both

Key takeaway: Salary data released to the union

1985 - MLB players were back at it, holding a short 2-day strike near the end of the regular season.

This time the MLB players struck over salaries and pensions, but it was quickly resolved. All 25 of the missed games were rescheduled.

Winner: Players

Key takeaways: Increase in pension fund, higher minimum salary

1987 - NFL players struck for a month, but only managed to cancel one week of the season.

The NFLPA wanted free agency, and they eventually got it at the cost of a salary cap. The movie The Replacements starring Keanu Reeves is loosely based on the Washington Redskins' ordeal during the strike.

Winner: Owners

Key takeaways: Salary cap, free agency

1992 - 30 NHL games over 10 days were canceled because of a players strike, but they were later rescheduled.

The NHL players held a strike over salary arbitration, revenue sharing, and free agency late in the season. They still managed to finish the regular season in its entirety, and the playoffs.

Winner: Players

Key takeaways: Increase in playoff bonuses, changes to free agency and arbitration

1994 - NHL owners locked out the players for 468 games, including the All-Star game.

The owners wanted a salary cap and the players didn't. The lockout lasted into January, but the league managed to get 48 games out of it, resulting in the first and only time the NHL played games in May.

Winner: Owners

Key takeaway: Rookie salary cap

1994 - A players strike canceled 920 games of the MLB season, including the World Series.

MLB players stuck over revenue sharing, the salary cap, and free agency, causing the league to become the first US pro sport to lose its entire post-season to a work stoppage. The Montreal Expos had their best season ever, only to have it left in limbo.

Winner: Neither

Key takeaway: A ton of angry fans caused a 20% decline in league attendance the following year.

1998 - NBA owners locked out the players, cancelling 464 games, including the All-Star game.

The owners wanted a cap on player salaries and were met with staunch opposition from the players. The union wavered, as the cap would only affect a small percentage of the player base.

Winner: Owners

Key takeaways: Players salary capped, rookie pay scale

2004 - The NHL lockout snuffed out all 1230 games of the 2004-2005 season, lasting 310 days.

A decade after the 1994 lockout, the league contested the salary structure again. As a result of the lockout, many players were forced to look for work in European and Russian leagues.

Winner: Owners

Key takeaway: New salary cap

Now see some of the owners on the league's side:

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