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Football is back in St. Louis...sort of

At least there will be some professional football action in St. Louis next month. The 8th circuit court of appeals today granted the NFL's request for an expedited hearing on Judge Susan Nelson's order to lift the lockout. The hearing is set for June 3 in St. Louis, one of several homes of the 8th circuit. 

The court has yet to hand down a decision regarding the NFL's motion for a stay of injunction to lift the lockout. That decision could come anytime or any day now. If the court grants the stay, it's no football until sometime in June, maybe. If the court denies the stay, the league year would begin, freeing teams up to sign free agents, trade players, workout, etc. 

A couple other dates on the horizon could impact the situation. The mediation session ordered by Judge Nelson (remember, she sent the antitrust case to mediation rather than start the court battle) is set to resume on May 16. That's significant. First of all, Nelson has some authority in this mediation, unlike the federal mediation in DC in March. If the stay is denied, there may be some more motivation to get a deal worked out at the mediation table. There's another big event happening before mediation resumes, a damages hearing in Judge Doty's court, for the lockout insurance/television contracts case, on May 12. 

To recap: football, courtroom football, comes to St. Louis on June 3...unless some miracle happens and the two sides get an agreement worked out before then. Ha! In the interim, keep your fingers crossed that the court decides against the stay and we can get on with this offseason again.