NFL and players will now take labor dispute to courts
Now that the NFL Players Association has
Assuming NFLPA wins the NLRB hearing, the nuclear outcome would emerge: no union, no bargaining (since decertification removes the NFLPA's power to collectively bargain) and no football. Such a stalemate could go on potentially for years, but that would not necessarily mean no football the whole time. If the owners wanted to restore football, they could end their lockout while the NFLPA was decertified and NFL players and teams would operate as if the expired CBA was still in effect. The NFLPA could then be recertified when NFL players were ready to strike a new CBA with the owners. This is what happened in the late '80s/early '90s, with games played in spite of an expired CBA and a decertified NFLPA.
In such instances, when NFL players have no collective bargaining entity, a judge or mediator would likely facilitate negotiations between players and owners, and once a deal between them is reached, the NFLPA would recertify and sign off on the new CBA. This happened in the early 1990s in antitrust lawsuits brought by Freeman McNeil, Reggie White and other NFL players against the NFL over various player issues -- these players brought their lawsuits while the NFLPA was decertified. The judges in their cases settled the specific legal issues at question and, in doing so, helped to broker an agreement between the NFL and NFLPA.
The risk for the players this time is if the NFLPA decertifies (and assuming NFL fails to block that) and if the owners commence a lockout (and assuming NFLPA fails to block that), then the players had better be prepared for the owners not restoring football and just waiting out the players to see if they capitulate and walk back to the bargaining table almost like beggars, offering to recertify and take whatever offer the NFL gives them.
The loser in this could petition the U.S. Supreme Court for writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court rejects approximately 98 or 99% of writs, with accepted ones usually involving splits in authority among federal circuits (not applicable here) or other novel questions of law (possibly applicable here).
It's not unfathomable to think that President Obama would eventually get involved, not by forcing any action by the NFL or NFLPA, but by using the power of the Presidency to pressure both parties to stop being so selfish. He could end up playing a huge role here, and with the 2012 re-election campaign gearing up, the timing may be ripe for that.