Whew. I don't know if I have the energy to talk about a lockout, but Chris Collinsworth's appearance on PFT Livetoday contained a few interesting points about the subject. Most importantly he explained his earlier prediction that the 2011 NFL season would not start until November, shaving almost two months off the normal 16-game season.
Why would the season start so late? First and foremost, it would take players missing some paychecks to give up their antitrust lawsuit weapon, where they have a pretty good case to make. Here's Collinsworth:
Now, would the players be willing to capitulate to some degree and take a lesser deal during the months that would be training camp? Possibly. But I don't know what's in it for the players from that point of view, because all they'll be missing is training camp. And remember, they dont' get paid during training camp. They may get $1,000 a week or something, but obviously, for those guys who make that much money, it's not much to speak of. So now there's no motivation to have to give in until they have to get a paycheck, which is opening day. If opening day comes and there's no deal struck, let's pick a number. Let's say it takes three, let's say it takes four weeks, and maybe they come to a settlement. So that takes us somewhere close to the end of September, first of October.
From there, you add on time for at least a shortened version of free agency, training camp, a preseason game before regular season football starts. If it comes down to players losing a paycheck, that won't happen until September. If that's what it takes to get a deal done, then the NFL will really be up against the wall to get back on track in enough time to have a meaningful enough season to tack on some playoffs.
Collinsworth takes a little different tact on the idea of leverage.
But, I was actually cheering for the owners to win on their side because I thought if they didn't have the right to a lockout, there wouldn't be that balance that would create a negotiating possibility. Now I think that the players have a hammer with the anti-trust, I think the owners have a hammer with the lockout, and my hope is, that they both realize the strength of the others hand and it leads to a settlement.
That runs counter to the prevailing notion that a deal would get done only when one side had the other over a barrel. However, his point makes some sense.
Let's just hope Collinsworth timeline is off for a deal to get done.
Thanks to Cincy Jungle for some of the transcribing work.