Former player and current analyst Cris Collinsworth doesn’t think the NFL season will begin until November.
That’s right, November.
In theory, that would make for a nine or 10-game regular season, preceded by a week of free agency, two weeks of training camp and one preseason game.
Collinsworth’s point is an interesting one. He thinks the appeals court will side with the owners and the current lockout will stay in place. If it does, neither side will be supremely motivated to move; the owners will figure they’ve already made a strong offer (the March 11 offer) and will wait for the players to budge. But the players, on a tremendous streak in the courts right now, will figure they’ve made sound arguments in front of a mediator in Washington and judges in Minneapolis, and even if the lockout stays legal, their antitrust case will have a good chance in the Eighth Circuit.
And the players won’t blink until they start missing paychecks. Collinsworth saw it twice as a player, in 1982 and 1987. “The only thing I’m absolutely certain of,” he told me, “is that there will be players broke by the middle of September. There will be pressure to make a deal. But there will be pressure by owners too. They’ve got payments to make too — stadium mortgages.”
Here’s where things get real interesting.
After this mess is over, the NFL could look completely different — no draft and free agency for every unsigned player.
The possibilities for changing the game are almost endless and aren’t terribly appealing to think about.
Players and owners resumed mediation today, but no one expects anything to get done — the “talks” will conclude tomorrow and both sides are waiting for the courts to let them know where they stand.
November seems somewhat crazy, but I’m losing faith this B.S. is going to end anytime soon.