The NFL Lockout has stretched well into the triple digits. Over the past few weeks, we've seen several negotiation sessions aimed at reaching the framework of a new CBA. The sides met for an extended 15 hour session Thursday, and followed that up with two more hours on Friday. Some media worked themselves into a tizzy over the fact that the groups took the holiday weekend off and will reconvene their sessions on Tuesday. The reported target date for a deal to be struck in time not to miss any action was the July 4th marker. If a handshake agreement was in place by then, that would give enough time for the lawyers to chalk up the CBA, get it signed by July 15th and still have a two week free agency period before training camps were scheduled to start. When word started leaking out that teams were making alternative training camp plans, some fans saw the writing on the walls to mean a deal wasn't close.
We turn to the twitter world, once again NFL Network's Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer), so that we can show the timeline of events as they transpired. Again, Twitter is there for insta-news. It is intended to get the immediate reaction to what is happening, and sometimes it doesn't bear out to be correct. Here was the Tweet Beat for the latest in the labor negotiations. The time stamps aren't accurate, but are a pain to remove so use the day headers at the beginning of each string and the times mentioned in the tweets.
Jerry Jones' return is significant. Last meetings he was a part of was the initial set May 31-June 2.
Just sent this add-in to my story ... Much as sides have tried to fix it, the revenue split remains an explosive subject in these talks. ...
As we reported earlier, Monday was rough day, on the big (really only) issue: The revenue split. & issues from Monday cropped up again today
Follow the jump for more...
As @ProFootballTalk referenced... 8th circuit ruling could be coming. Was told 30-45 days after hearing. On Sunday, it'll have been 30 days.
Now in their 11th hour of talks here today, was just told talks will go longer. Not sure how much longer. But we're into the night here.
Worth noting that NFLPA conference call was at 4 CT. That was after 7 hours of negotiations. It was also 7 hours ago. They're still talking.
Still waiting. Players, owners still upstairs. Fifteen hours down. And we're into Hour 16.
Parties will return here to negotiations at 8 am tomorrow morning. Seven hours from now. Talks officially over for the night.
Once the parties broke off talks for the night on Thursday (1 am Friday) Michael Silver of Yahoo.com filed this report. Silver has been one of the better resources I've come across since starting to follow the CBA a few years ago. Here are some excerpts from his piece that will help fill in the gap on the different tone that was established only a few weeks ago.
A little more than two months before the scheduled start of the 2011 regular season, the players and owners are still fighting over money, and quarreling over who deserves the brunt of the blame. One side is speaking Russian, the other Japanese, and that sense of mutual optimism once enjoyed by the NFL commissioner and NFL Players Association executive director has been lost in translation.
"It’s just bizarre right now," one source on the players’ side said Thursday. "Two weeks ago, I was optimistic. I didn’t realize that we weren’t even close to close. It’s disheartening."
Silver goes on to try and assess where each side feels things went wrong.
Those on the players’ negotiating team are convinced that owners have played "bait-and-switch" games with them, belatedly asking for certain items to be excluded from the total-revenue pool after seemingly having agreed to a straight split. They view the recent wave of public optimism suspiciously, believing that owners have purposely tried to create an impression that a deal is near in order to persuade players to accept an offer in the next couple of weeks, thus ensuring that the entire preseason would be saved.
Conversely, owners continue to regard NFLPA attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and James Quinn as divisive forces intent on blowing up any prospective settlement in favor of continuing to pursue legal remedies, including the Brady v. NFL antitrust lawsuit, that could create monumental leverage for the players in the future. The owners trace recent player demands that they regard as unrealistic – i.e. an insistence upon counting sales taxes on tickets as part of total league revenue – to the two attorneys and charge that the players are the ones who’ve attempted to extract extra concessions in recent days.
At 8am the negotiations continued again, so we'll return to the Tweet Beat.
... Bottom line: best proposals come with backs to the wall. July 15, folks, is a date that's been there all along, thru all false alarms.
Filed to NFL Network: This set of meetings will wrap up today. Next set of meetings between NFL, players starts on Tuesday in New York. ...
... It'll be Goodell, Smith, staffs on Tuesday and Wednesday. Owners & players will rejoin, participate in sessions on Thursday and Friday.
Smith, Waters, Morey and DePaso are out. De: "We'll continue to meet next week and goal is to get a deal done."
Filed to NFL Network: Owners and players made major strides on the revenue split last night & this morning, after talks nearly broke down.
... It's to the point now where next week, it might not be a major stumbling block if the rest can be worked out. Huge rebound.
Another nugget I can pass on: A lot of the murkiness/bad blood over what constitutes "all revenue" was worked out over the last 20 hours.
Topsy-turvy 2 days & fair to say we're in for more ups & downs. But more now than ever, I'm convinced there's a fair-to-all deal to be done.