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John Madden tackles the NFL lockout – and its aftermath

July 27, 2011

Yes, the NFL lockout is finally over, but that doesn’t mean the league and its players won’t suffer from the fallout of their actions.

Frequent Rose Hotel visitor John Madden – football coaching, broadcasting and videogame legend – made that clear during a recent interview with the Contra Costa Times. The northern California-based newspaper reported that Madden was unhappy that the parties involved in the labor contract dispute weren’t more proactive about the situation long before it turned into crisis.

John Madden
John Madden

“What upsets me most is both sides have known about this for two years,” Madden told the newspaper, referencing the labor contract between team owners and their players. “The things coming up now are no different from two years ago. They wasted two years.”

The lockout was resolved on July 25 when the league and NFL Players Association agreed to a new 10-year deal – ending a 4½-month lockout, the longest work stoppage in league history. Still, Madden is concerned about the competitive imbalance the lockout has created for the upcoming season.

“Coach,” as he’s known by The Rose Hotel staff, said: “It’s going to impact the quality of play, and the less experienced teams will be impacted more, all the way down from new coaches, staff and players. There’s going to be competitive advantages and disadvantages.”

The San Francisco 49ers are a good example, according to Madden. It has a new coaching staff, lead by head coach Jim Harbaugh, that hasn’t been able to take advantage of offseason workouts and meetings. By contrast, Madden said, last season’s Super Bowl rivals, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, have experienced coaches, quarterbacks and defenses in place. They’re “stable,” he said, and won’t be so affected by shorter training camps.

“That’s really an imbalance,” Madden said.

Shorter training camps are especially unfair to rookies, he said, because they’ll have less time to learn their offensive or defensive schemes in a way that allows them to make an impact.

Although Madden left the broadcast booth two years ago he remains involved in pro football as an advisor to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and chairs a coaches subcommittee. Madden can also be heard offering his opinions on KCBS 740-AM.

With a 10-year labor agreement ready to be inked, the NFL has laid to rest its labor disputes for a good, long time.