UPDATE: Both the NFL and the NFLPA issued a joint statement today that the court decision will not change their work toward a settlement. That's good news, given how close the two sides are said to be on reaching a deal. Hell, two months ago they would never have issued a joint statement, so that's a positive sign in and of itself. Talks continue today, and may well continue into the weekend.
With so much progress having been made between NFL owners and players in settlement talks, the only question that matters today is how the 8th Circuit's ruling will impact those talks. For some insight, let's turn to the experts, the guys covering this thing every bloody day. The short answer is that the general feeling is that talks should continue, but let's go deeper.
Here's NFL Network's Albert Breer, via Twitter.
My opinion ... Too much progress made last 5 weeks for owners to hold this over players' heads. For now, I think, it's in their back pocket.
Remember ... Rulings, Judges going on vacation ... all that's secondary as motivation. Primary is hundreds of millions in preseason revenue.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen offers his take:
So, very doubtful this ruling impacts current negotiations; also, players anti-trust suit still lingers, especially in September.
So, two reasons as to why the talks should continue. First, the idea of losing approximately a billion dollars by sacrificing the preseason to the lockout was one of the leading motivators in both sides picking up talks, where they have by all accounts made serious progress toward a revenue split. Second, this ruling, though on the surface it favors owners by allowing the lockout to continue, does not necessarily change the playing field. Even without Judge Doty's ruling pending in the TV contract damages case, the court allowed the antitrust suit to go forward, leaving the league at risk. It also put a monkey wrench into things by allowing Judge Nelson to determine whether or not free agents and rookies can be locked out. It flows from her initial ruling that they cannot.
Mark Maske of the Washington Post offered what might be the clearest sign so far, in as much as there can be any clarity in this thing:
It does not immediately appear the appellate court ruling will have a great effect on the ongoing negotiations.
Stay tuned. Talks with owners and players at the table were continuing today after 11+ hours of work yesterday.