Just Get it Done

On the legal front, the NFL and the players have done all they can to posture themselves in front of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now both sides must wait and in doing so each is losing valuable leverage. And as each day passes, the three wise men in St. Louis sit in silence.

I've already written about as much as I can in regards to the maddening situation known as the NFL lockout. What else can be said about the spoiled billionaires and their employees the equally childish players.

As this dispute continues to unfold, both sides are wrong. At the core of this dispute four central issues remain a constant; salaries, lifetime health benefits, an 18-game regular season and shorter off season programs. In the end though the battle lines are drawn because of money, the players want more of the same and the owners want to pay less.

But as talks continued this week progress was made. That was solidified when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Director DeMaurice Smith enjoyed some fine dining in New York City on Wednesday. Thus since both had steak knives and they didn't use them to carve into each other, one can only assume that this darn thing is almost over. Now over to me could mean two days, two weeks or two months. Who really knows for certain?

Still optimism suggests that since this madness began in March, I don't feel like the fans are going to miss any regular season games. Now none of us know how good the play will be when the players return from their turbulent offseason. But it shouldn't be too bad in about half of the 32 NFL cities.

I'm just glad we finally got to this point. Because for the first time in this stalemate both sides are feeling the crush from the players association, NFL general managers, NFL coaches and the fans base that has turned the sport off and moved onto baseball and summer vacations, that it's time to bring this to an end.

Thus that's why the not-so secret meetings began nearly two weeks ago. And that's the strongest indicator to those hurt by this impasse, that both parties were willing to concede some of their hard line approach. It was also the first true negotiating session that didn't include legal counsel and in my view their presence prior to these current meetings has set back these negotiations to the stone ages.

So what does this all mean?

Both sides realize that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals isn't giving either side a strong feeling that either side is going to be happy with their verdict in regards to the briefs submitted thus far in court.

And that's why both sides are adamant and motivated to get a deal done now so they can save the 2011 regular season. So how long will it take to get a common sense deal?

I'll leave you with this. As reports leaked out Wednesday about this saga taking another month or so to get done that tells me, that they are much closer to getting a deal done that is being leaked to the mainstream sports media. To me when reports surface along those lines, that tells me a deal is in sight and within reach.

And should the report by Bill Burt of the Eagle-Tribune be accurate in regards to the lockout nearing an end, just maybe we could see free agency before the first of July!

And that's good news for all the fans and the media, who can finally write about something else than the stupidity we've been forced to drivel about since March.

What's your prediction on when the lockout ends?

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