MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 17: NFL lawyer Jeff Pash (L), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Art Rooney II (R), president of the Pittsburgh Steelers arrive for court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
NFL lockout settlement talks have moved to the bottom of the ninth, goal-to-go, shootout...sorry, my sports writer's lame metaphor instinct malfunctioned. Anyway, word from on high is that NFL owners and players have made significant progress with the July 15 deadline rapidly approaching, hence the woeful analogies.
Lawyers worked an 11-hour day yesterday (around $27,500 worth of work at $2,500 per hour) hammering out the language of the deal. Today, owner and player reps join the process. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, they'll be working on a couple of key areas which are a big part of the revenue sharing deal.
Items still needing to be attended to, or as Breer says needing "breakthroughs" include rookie salaries and retiree benefit funding. Those issues are getting plenty of attention lately as retired players have filed a complaint against players and owners, claiming their interest is not being represented. Leave it to old people to screw up the future.
There has been considerable push back on this notion. Players claim that they do represent the interests of retirees since they themselves will one day be retired. Like Social Security or any other pension program, there's always a tension between those drawing benefits and those paying into the system currently. There's a little more bad blood in the NFL as players from years ago, when the league wasn't a $10 billion business, used to get something of a raw deal after sacrificing their bodies for the game.
Today and tomorrow will be the most important days yet for the talks.