Last night, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with a few owners in the hopes of jump starting one of the most critical sessions of owner meetings intended to end the 102 day long lockout. Today, the Commissioner will meet with all 32 owners and that meeting could and likely will extend into tomorrow. At the very heart of the matter is whether or not the latest proposal on the table is acceptable to the 32.
Rumors began late last week that a contingent of owners opposed the direction that the current labor talks had taken. A total of 9 dissenting votes is required to block any player/league agreements. According to Profootballtalk.com, some owners feel that this is the time to get a better deal that a win/win for both sides. Many owners want a deal that is similar to the pre-2006 CBA that was brokered by NFLPA President Gene Upshaw and retiring NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
That deal, was rescinded by the league 2 years in and was the catalyst to the labor issues the league is facing today.
If the owners can agree on a more balanced deal, something that Roger Goodell must convince the owners is in the best interest of the game, then the lockout may be over with by the time fireworks light up the night skies on July 4th. If the owners decide that these current talks between the two parties is still not enough of a give back for them, or that enough concessions are not made by the players regarding economic downturn, then Goodell will fail to get the owners to vote yes and the lockout will not only continue, but likely end mediated talks between the two parties.
If Roger Goodell fails to sell the owners on the terms of what is currently on the table, if anything is actually on the table at all, it’s likely that the NFL season will not start on time. Goodell has said that July 15th is when the league will start to lose games, presumably pre-season games and then will start taking away regular season games. All the while, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to render a final decision on the Judge Nelson ruling regarding the lockout. Many believe that the 8th CCA will allow the lockout to continue for no more than 6 months which would be harmful to both sides.
The “Brady” case is set for a late August hearing that could drag on for over a year if a new agreement isn’t reached in time to save the entire season. Which brings us back to Roger Goodell. His ability or inability to sway the owners to do a deal now will go a long way to determining the length of the 2011 season. While no “deal” will be made over the next two days, it’s the ability of Goodell to convince the owners that the current round of negotiations are close enough to get a deal done sooner rather than later.