NBC broadcaster and former player Chris Collinsworth offered a dire prediction on the fate of the 2011 NFL season today. In his mind, the season will not start until at least November and probably not at all if the 8th Circuit Court reverses Judge Susan Nelson's decision to lift the lockout.
If the lockout is not lifted, I predict no football until at least November, and maybe a season lost.
Should the court's decision leave the lockout in place, Collinsworth sees the owners simply leaving the negotiating table. I don't quite understand his logic on that, and he hasn't responded to numerous tweets asking for more info. If the lockout is in place, the legal battle continues.
An interesting outcome in this whole thing is just how the NFLPA, which I'm assuming will be reconstituted once the thing gets settled, comes out in the jurisdictional argument. The league would like to remove the union's ability to use the courts to fight the labor battle, but labor would hate to lose that trump card, their only one. Presidents come and go along with the partisan politics which dictate the makeup of the NLRB. However, were the players willing to give up court oversight of the new CBA, they'd likely exact better concessions from owners. It's a mess.
In the court room today, in front of Judge Doty, the players revealed a hefty asking price for damages in the television contracts case, upwards of $3 billion by the time it's all said and done. Doty is expected to deliver a decision next week. He'll award something to players, a decision that will be appealed to the 8th Circuit Court.