It’s still Wednesday, so call this premature, but I’m conceding.
NFL lockout: 1
My prediction the lockout would end July 6: 0
I’m hanging up my prognostication hat – at least regarding this issue – but I remain confident a deal will happen soon. Â Just don’t ask me for a date; turns out I’m lousy at league-related guesswork.
NFL.com reports legal teams representing the league and players’ union are meeting for a second straight day in Manhattan, hammering out details and language of a *gasp* potential agreement.
That paper agreement, a rough draft of sorts, means nothing until an actual agreement happens.Â The earliest thatâ€™s expected is late this week. Â NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players association head DeMaurice Smith are set to join talks Thursday, as will U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.
The sticking point remains revenue sharing, the longstanding issue thatâ€™s divided both sides for months.
Insiders say it will take up to two weeks to make an agreement an official signed document.Â Hypothetically, letâ€™s say an agreement happens next Wednesday, July 13.Â Add the expected 10 to 14 days to that date, and youâ€™re looking at July 23-27 â€“ training camp season.
Thatâ€™s why this week is especially critical.Â If a deal isnâ€™t reached by the end of next week, weâ€™re faced with the real threat of losing preseason games.Â Sure, the NFL preseason isnâ€™t tremendously exciting, but by my count, it serves three primary functions (in no particular order):
- For the fan: Itâ€™s been a long six-month drought for our football-deprived senses.Â We need something, even if that â€œsomethingâ€ doesnâ€™t really count.Â Any football is better than no football.
- For the franchise: Player evaluation.Â Itâ€™s the hallmark of building a NFL team; determine who fits and who doesnâ€™t, check out new additions, fill out a depth chart, and for teams like the Broncos, see the new coaching staff at work for the first time.
- For the league: Money, and lots of it.
So what about those court rulings?
Remember the legal battle about networksâ€™ rights fees?Â What about that lockout-lifting injunction?Â Both rulings are pending, but itâ€™s a safe guess decisions have already been made.Â According to legal teams involved in the latest negotiations, both courts are keeping mum while the league and players try to work out their differences.Â If that doesnâ€™t happen, and talks stall or even break down, itâ€™s possible, even probable, the courts will share reveal their rulings.
What about the free food?
Last month, Buffalo Wild Wings promised free food if the NFL lockout ends by July 20.Â To be eligible for your free six chicken wings, you must first sign Buffalo Wild Wingsâ€™ â€˜Save Our Seasonâ€™ petition on Facebook.Â So yes, that offer stands for two more weeksâ€¦at least I think it does.Â Does â€˜endâ€™ mean agreement reached or document signed?Â Hereâ€™s hoping itâ€™s the former, because the last thing Buffalo Wild Wings needs is mutiny over a technicality (or lacking disclaimer).
PR nightmares = Bad.Â Free food = Good.