The Top 5 Sports Lockouts and Strikes of All Time

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Lockouts and strikes. They are cancer for the American sports fan. Millionaires fighting with billionaires over, what else? Money! Lockouts are like owners treating the players like an angry spouse. The players can’t come home and the ownershave changed the locks on the house. Strikes are often like kids who don’t get their way, so they take their ball and go home until they do. No matter how you look at it, the ones caught in the middle and wind up getting screwed in all this is we the sports fan.

Replacement players, replacements referees, shortened seasons, and in some cases, entire seasons cancelled. And let’s not forget all those poor slobs who work at stadiums and arenas, and whose very livelihood depends on these guys showing up to work. And then there’s the athlete. Here’s some poor bastard who just can’t get by on his several million dollar a year salary. Hey! Paying child support to eight kids from eight different mothers can be a bitch. It’s a no-win situation for everyone involved. But fans are such lemmings that after all the complaining and players and owners go back to work, fans welcome them back by filling the stadiums and arenas spending tons of money. Here’sa look at a list of the Top 5 Strikes and Lockouts of all time.

5 NBA Lockout (1998-1999)

Los Angeles Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said of the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs that their title wasn’t really legit because this lockout shortened the season to just 50 games. You can’t blame him for feeling that way seeing that his Lakers were eliminated by the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals. No one heard from Jackson again when the Spurs rolled off three more titles in non-lockout seasons and became a thorn in the Lakers’ side ever since.

4 NHL Lockout (2004-2005)

This is the only major North American sport that had its entire season cancelled. The NHL hasn’t been the same since as it went from being one of the true Big Four North American sports to now having to look up at Major League Soccer. The NHL had its Game of the Week, regular season games and playoffs televised on outlets like ESPN and FOX. Now you can barely find games on the Verses Channel and NBC if there isn’t a important episode of “30 Rock” or “The Voice” in the way. On the other hand, for 10 months and six days we were without hearing those stupid Canadian accents during hockey highlights on SportsCenter.

3 NBA Lockout (2011)

This 161-day lockout began in July and lasted until December 8, and cut the regular season from 82 to 66 games. Six more lockouts like these and LeBron James will get those seven championship rings he guaranteed when he signed with the Miami Heat, because he sure couldn’t win one in an 82-game schedule!

2 NFL Referee Lockout (2012)

No one could possibly know how much of an impact a referee lockout in any sport could have until this year. Everyone from players to coaches to fans to Las Vegas odds makers have been jumping out of buildings over the incredible screw ups by these Pop Warner refereeing rejects. We won’t know the full impact of this lockout until the Green Bay Packers, or anyone in the NFC West, are screwed out of a playoff spot or home field advantage to the Seattle Seahawks.

1 Major League Baseball Strike (1994-1995)

There have been enough work stoppages in Major League Baseball to have its own Top 10. This eighth one was especially painful, because it was the first to cancel the World Series. But who are we kidding? This strike might have prevented us from having to endure something as painful as a Montreal Expos vs. Texas Rangers World Series.

Honorable Mention

NFL Strike(1987)

The owners learned their lesson from the 1982 strike and were determined that the show must go on. The season was interrupted in week two, lasted 24 days and was the first strike of its kind to use replacement players. By week four, the league trotted out players who were cut from their college teams at places Occidental College, Prairie View A&M and the USFL. At least the players were better than the replacements used in the 2012 NFL Referee strike.


NFL Strike (1982)

The players decided to strike and the owners in turn lock them out, which pretty much had one cancelling out the other. But give the NFL credit. When all the smoke cleared and everyone went back to work, the league got really creative and went with a 16-team tournament for the playoffs. That was 30 years ago and we still don’t have freaking playoff system in Division I college football!


Major League Baseball Strike (1981)

How bad was this strike? It happened in the heart of the season in June, ended in August resulting in 38 percent of the games cancelled. MLB went with a split-season format for the playoffs. Some teams ended up playing more games than others, and the teams with the best overall record got screwed out of the playoffs. It worked out well for Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans. It was one of the few times the boys in blue were able to beat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

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