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League huddles to figure out next steps

Dallas Cowboys v San Diego Chargers Getty Images

Roughly 30 minutes ago, a source with knowledge of the situation told us that a collection of NFL big shots had been on a conference call for 45 minutes and counting, aimed at figuring out the next steps.

Coupled with a general sense coming from our network of sources that the league is confused and rattled by the ruling lifting the lockout, it appears that the league truly believed that it would prevail before Judge Nelson on the question of whether the lockout would be lifted.

That’s one of the dangers of hiring one of the best lawyers in the country to handle the case.  David Boies, who demonstrated at the April 6 hearing why he’s indeed among the finest ever practitioners of law, quite possibly mesmerized the owners at the league meetings in March into genuinely believing that they would prevail.

And they remain confident they’ll win at the appellate level, even if that’s a longer shot than the league would admit.

That said, it’s more than a little surprising that the league didn’t have a predetermined plan in place for this specific eventuality.  It’s not as if the outcome was one of 1,000 different permutations.  The ruling came from a fairly narrow band of possibilities.  And yet in some ways it seems like the league has been caught with its proverbial pants down.

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109 Responses to “League huddles to figure out next steps”
  1. commandercornpone says: Apr 25, 2011 8:31 PM

    union judge. the league had the right to end the agreement. the judge is basically saying they didnt. they are well within their rights to appeal.

    and put boies at 2nd string.

  2. jsesquire says: Apr 25, 2011 8:32 PM

    great photo.

  3. dewalt2990 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:33 PM

    Lets get back to football.

  4. 3crowns says: Apr 25, 2011 8:33 PM

    I’ve been saying all along it was likely the players win this ruling. Not sure why the owners would think otherwise. If they did, clearly they fall under the old saying about fools and their money, and it appears that saying is about to come true once again. I’m not a lawyer but have read enough contracts to know that the players’ case was extremely solid and the owners’ tenuous.

  5. moochzilla says: Apr 25, 2011 8:35 PM

    Was the last judge, appointed by Reagan, a union judge too?

    And you need to learn about the CBA and its relationship to the anti-trust exemption before you write. Your statement is incorrect.

  6. hobartbaker says: Apr 25, 2011 8:35 PM

    I’m pretty sure they know the “next step”, the call is probably for appraisal and information purposes. If they’re going forward with the appeal and Boies, then they must feel they have a case. Certainly from a logic point of view they do.

  7. moochzilla says: Apr 25, 2011 8:35 PM

    Anyone who doubted the owners would lose, and lose badly, had zero knowledge about the situation.

    This should come as NO surprise.

  8. footballfan292 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:36 PM

    I bet you all that guys like Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson sure wish they could ring Tagliabue’s neck for talking the owners into approving that 2006 deal. If the owners dont win on appeal, everything they’ve been planning the past 5 years goes up in smoke. The opt-out plan has backfired more than they could have possibly imagined.

  9. trbowman says: Apr 25, 2011 8:37 PM

    People are getting too excited for Nelson’s ruling. It might be good short term, but if the players get their way you can kiss the NFL as you know it goodbye.

    Kiss competition balance and possibly even the draft goodbye.

  10. vahawker says: Apr 25, 2011 8:37 PM

    Could owners now say that because they are 32 separate entities, they have to scrap the schedule and each team needs to negotiate with the other teams to schedule a game, much like colleges? All 30 teams would be looking to play 16 games against the Browns and Bills.

  11. danspeakmanpe says: Apr 25, 2011 8:38 PM

    Shouldn’t free agency start now?

  12. friendlylittletrees says: Apr 25, 2011 8:38 PM

    Maybe Charlie Sheen will get custody with these kind of decisions coming out of the blue!

    #Winning

  13. Gordon says: Apr 25, 2011 8:40 PM

    I gotta laugh at the owners. They caused this mess by their initial approach (“Let’s hammer the NFLPA*!”). The players obviously felt they had no leverage so they went the legal route, thus creating this huge mess. Had the owners been more tactful on their initial approach, I’d bet they would have avoided this.

  14. seabreezes51 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:40 PM

    This is gonna be one hell of an NFL week.
    Trades and signings will be announced beginning tomorrow, just you wait and see.
    It will only take ONE GM/Owner to start the ball tumbling.

  15. lololnpnp says: Apr 25, 2011 8:44 PM

    Man, can I tell you how much I love reading a blog where the owner knows everything that is going on. It’s like you’re in the owners’ back pockets with all your ‘sources with knowledge.’ I sure hope you pay these mythical creatures handsomely. If you think a bunch of highly successful businessmen led by top notch lawyers don’t have various plans for various outcomes then I have to question your logic. Either that or you are once again posting something to bait your commenters into….aaww crap!!

  16. kom2k10 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:45 PM

    Anyone who is supporting this ruling or the players because they are “going to get football this year” is a short-sighted moron…

    Everytime the players “win” the PLAYERS MAKE MORE MONEY. That doesn’t mean the owners just fork over more money to the players… it actually means the owners will CHARGE YOU MORE MONEY to pay for the added expenses!

    So keep rooting for the players… you’re basically rooting for higher ticket prices, higher prices for merchandise, higher Sunday Ticket prices, higher beer prices, higher parking prices… etc.

    It hurts my brain that some “fans” don’t understand that concept. When the players get more of the $9 billion pie, the FANS have to pay for it!

  17. duanethomas says: Apr 25, 2011 8:45 PM

    Why didn’t the “collection of big shots” huddle like this for mediation? They better hurry up and get a back-up plan because players will be back tomorrow. 8 a.m. Eastern

  18. terpface says: Apr 25, 2011 8:47 PM

    Union judge is right. The owners have just as might to lock out the players as the players have to go on strike if they feel like theyre on the short end. The owners runs this business, but its looking more and more like the players do

  19. willycents says: Apr 25, 2011 8:48 PM

    Perhaps, instead of being confused and shocked, the NFL is contemplating which of the options to use. Perhaps, they are discussing whether to appeal, or simply cancel the draft, all contracts under an “illegal” system, and allow all teams to institute their own rules. Hmmmmm, maybe a nuclear option that the players cannot imagine?

    Furthermore, by including the public’s interest in this ruling, did the judge create a new law; ruling the public’s interest is reason to force a private business to continue operating when it is detrimental to their best interests? Sounds to me like her ruling simply passed the solution up to the supreme court if that is the case. Maybe someone can help me out on this interpretation by quoting case law or analysis on this point?

  20. 6thsense79 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:49 PM

    I only wish I could see the face of the ignaramous on this site who were so blinded by their fanatical support for the owners they didn’t see this obvious ruling comming. When it comes to the courts and anti trust laws the owners will almost always lose. That Sherman Anti trust act is b*tch to overcome in court.

    At least now the lockout the owners put in place is lifted.

  21. nfl25 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:49 PM

    anyone who thought that the players winning this thing wit judge nelson was going to start the season has no idea what they r talking about.

    this is goin to delay things so long. if the owners won it would force the players to negotiate and a deal would be struck in a few weeks. now that the players won they will never negotiate unless they get everything and the owners wont do that. but i guess that what alot of you people wanted, to get your favoritest player in the whole wide world filthy rich. who cares about the game of football, lets just get the players filthy rich

  22. lovesportsandsurfing says: Apr 25, 2011 8:49 PM

    I like football, but there comes a time when people should just find another hobby,…the NFL is Hell bent on destroying itself,..so let them…if they go away forever it wouldnt take long for us all to not miss it anymore,..I hope the NFL goes away forever.

  23. whathappenedtovox says: Apr 25, 2011 8:50 PM

    This is like calling a timeout in basketball when you’re down 15 with 30 seconds left, and you’re planning on fouling to stop the clock.

    It’s over owners. You lost. L.

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSERS!

  24. donttouchthedirtypenny says: Apr 25, 2011 8:52 PM

    No lockout becuase there is no union? Does this mean decertification is not a sham? Looks like the league woud lose that arguement too.

  25. laeagle says: Apr 25, 2011 8:53 PM

    To all the Fox News clowns calling out “union judge!”, perhaps there’s a reason why the league keeps losing every time it gets to court. Judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike have ruled against the league. Instead of crying foul, maybe you need to start accepting the fact that the league maybe isn’t the righteous good guy fighting the good fight against all the nasty bad unions.

  26. donttouchthedirtypenny says: Apr 25, 2011 8:53 PM

    So take the last CBA and add a rookie wage scale and get on to the draft.

  27. pmars64 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:53 PM

    It is really hard to believe that the league is surprised by this ruling. Judge Nelson made it clear from the outset that it was the league’s job to win her over. I have to think that the owners are confident they can get a stay in the next couple of days. Otherwise, they really over-played their hand and totally over-estimated their position in this. If so, it’s ineptitude and incompetence of the highest order.

    The decision of the stay is really the key decision now.

  28. jo3jo says: Apr 25, 2011 8:57 PM

    “And yet in some ways it seems like the league has been caught with its proverbial pants down.”
    – I’m sure there’s a Dez Bryant joke in here somewhere…

  29. Chris Fiorentino says: Apr 25, 2011 8:57 PM

    Why don’t the owners just fire them all and start from scratch. Now that there is no union, why can they do? Football is bigger than the players. How many of us would not watch a full 32 team free-for-all for anyone who wants to play under the NFL rules in NFL stadiums? Players want to play? They have to re-sign for much, much less. Ryan Clark…you want to show up tomorrow? Go ahead…and clean out your locker…YOU’RE FIRED!!!! Hope you guys saved your signing bonuses…that’s the last windfall you will ever see unless Mickey D’s starts handing out 7-figure salaries!!!

  30. dirtmcgirt24 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:57 PM

    I sat in 3 meetings today that went in excess of 45 minutes. And I don’t have an ownership stake in a $9B/year business.

    So perhaps it’s not confusion but more “a federal judge just handed down a pretty significant ruling, let’s talk about it”.

    Or, they’re idiots.

    I could go either way, given how dumb the entire chain of events has been, when it’s been obvious all along the owners had no leg to stand on in locking out a labor force not organized under a union.

  31. moochzilla says: Apr 25, 2011 8:57 PM

    Players want a season, the owners don’t. That’s the way it’s been all along.

    This is a lockout, not a strike.

    End of story. Thanks for playing.

  32. footballisking says: Apr 25, 2011 8:57 PM

    humble pie baby!!!!!!!!!! If all these court room losses dont humble them nothing will

  33. fivetwos says: Apr 25, 2011 8:58 PM

    Mike–I know you’ve gone over this before, but if you could touch on it somewhere along the lines again soon, because I’d like to be clear–and don’t want to listen to what some hack with a communications degree has to say elsewhere..

    The appellate court, in order to overturn Nelson’s decision, needs to find some sort of flaw in the law(s) she applied, correct? It’s not a separate opinion of the same facts? Thanks…

  34. ErikW65 says: Apr 25, 2011 8:58 PM

    So sure of themselves they didn’t even have a Plan B. The Owners don’t look so much smarter than the Players now, do they?

  35. bpjensen says: Apr 25, 2011 9:00 PM

    I wonder how many millions of dollars have been wasted on this shibacle so far?

  36. bucforever says: Apr 25, 2011 9:01 PM

    Maybe the pants are down so that the players can kiss their you know what.

  37. odessabucs says: Apr 25, 2011 9:01 PM

    Judge Nelson is an Obama appointee. Surprise, surprise a pro labor decision.

    Surely the NFL owners are not so naive to believe they had this in the bag.

  38. goawayeverybody says: Apr 25, 2011 9:03 PM

    Wow lots of idiots’ heads exploded today with the ruling. It was kind of fun to watch bwwwahahahahahahahaha!

  39. tinopuno says: Apr 25, 2011 9:04 PM

    Apparently some would rather see the 2o11 season go down the drain than have the players prevail against the owners.

    At first blush that seems a perplexing stance for football fans until you take into account the strong possibility that what at least SOME owner loyalists really want above all else is to see these “over-payed, uppity blacks put in their place”!

    If that’s true, that’s very sad!

  40. dccowboy says: Apr 25, 2011 9:04 PM

    Hard to believe the league didn’t have 6 different scenarios already plotted for each contingency.

    Good God, even as a raw 2nd LT I was doing that kind of pre-planing (and it saved my rear).

  41. commoncents says: Apr 25, 2011 9:05 PM

    I think the fans spoke. It would be nice if the players reps started to negotiate in good faith.

  42. tommyf15 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:06 PM

    Don’t shoot the messenger here: I don’t think you guys understand how insane things could get. How would you like to see the Dallas Cowboys sign their own deal with a network, and put the games on at 2:30 PM EST to lure eyeballs away from the other games?

    Does that sound crazy? Then let me point out that is EXACTLY what Notre Dame football and NBC have been doing for 20 years.

    The owners are like a boxer that’s getting knocked around the ring- they need someone to toss in the towel before some serious damage is done.

    If I were running the owner’s side, I’d ask the NFLPA for an offer and I’d accept it.

  43. bhooks says: Apr 25, 2011 9:07 PM

    The huddle isn’t about what to do next, it is about some of the owners thinking that they should not continue with the appeal…

    They have some fan support now, why alienate everyone?

  44. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Apr 25, 2011 9:08 PM

    A reality check is in order. Let’s not mischaracterize, overdramatize, or play Monday morning quarterback with what’s just transpired. Today’s adverse ruling—from the owners’ perspective, that is—was widely expected. As a result, the league is likely NOT “confused and rattled by the ruling lifting the lockout.” Rather, the league and owners are probably caucusing tonight with counsel on how to best deal with the practical challenges they’ll face tomorrow morning with some players reportedly preparing to knock on the door. The last thing the NFL wants here is confusion—or a finding of contempt, for that matter. Some “45 minutes and counting” hardly qualifies as an all-nighter.

  45. joe6606 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:10 PM

    Simply put, the league’s argument that the NFLPAs decertification is a sham and therefore should not be recognized as valid, is about the lousiest piece of lawyering I’ve ever seen.

    Anyone with an ounce of labor law experience knew the NFL was going to lose today, and will lose again when it’s appealed. It’s just a flat out ridiculous position. If union members agree that their interests are better served by dissolving their union, and thereby reliquishing any and all benefits that union membership provided, there is nothing that the opposing side can legally do to prevent this without violating antitrust laws.

    the effects of where this may lead, aka a MLB type system worry me greatly, but from a purely legal viewpoint, the owner’s position that they can lockout the players is just not viable.

    get back to the table and work out a new CBA asap

  46. glen1904 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:16 PM

    As with most things going on in this country right now its all smoke and mirrors and not what it seems. I truly believe the owners have known all along the steps that have happened since they opted out and came into negotiations with a very heavy hand. They want to get rid of the union and draft, caps. franchise tag all of it because they think they can operate and keep away from a collusion case and boost their profits then reform the league in a few years when there is a strike and be ahead of the game. I just have this gut feeling its just like wall st. the gov and everything else in this country these days. i know it doesn’t make sense but what does anymore.

  47. Uncle Leo says: Apr 25, 2011 9:20 PM

    If I am an owner, I do what the players argued for. No draft, everyone is a free agent, no cap or FLOOR. Pay the players what I think they are really worth after all of this.

  48. moochzilla says: Apr 25, 2011 9:20 PM

    “Why don’t the owners just fire them all and start from scratch. ”

    Oh, Chris.

    Because every single owner, with the exception of Jones and Snyder and maybe 1 or 2 more, need this system in place. To survive. Your system would ensure 4 Super Teams and 8 would go our of business within 4 years.

    The less-rich or cheap owners (80% of them) fear for their lives that this would ever become MLB, where a team like Jacksonville ins’t subsidized by the successful franchises, where they don’t have a socialist salary cap that keeps them from being outbid / outspent.

    They like the draft. They like ‘owning’ players rights. They enjoy revenue sharing.

    Believe me, if it went to unfettered FA, salaries would SOAR (don’t believe me? I think Adam Eaton made more than Peyton Manning)…

    …and they’d all be concentrated on the Cowboys / Redskins / Giants / Patriots.

  49. stanklepoot says: Apr 25, 2011 9:20 PM

    @commandercornpone,
    Do you even have any clue as to what you’re talking about? This has nothing to do with the no longer existent cba, nor with the owners decision to opt out of it. The injunction to the lockout came about because 32 supposedly separate companies came together to lockout a non-union workforce. That is a clear violation of anti-trust laws.

    The only way that the NFL can win in this case is if the judge finds that the NFLPA is still a fully functioning union. If that’s the case, then there is a collective bargaining force to counterbalance the joined forces of the team owners, thereby continuing the owners anti-trust exemptions. If, however, the Judge finds that the union had a right to decertify and actually did so (as Judge Nelson did), then all of the league’s arguments are moot. The case moves beyond the NLRB to the courts, and the Norris-LaGuardia act only refers to labor disputes between employers and unions. There is no way for the owners to prove that they aren’t colluding against the players, because they clearly are. That is why the owners are so desperate to have the NFLPA exist as an active union. The owners need those exemptions for the league to continue to function as it has. If the owners convinced themselves they’d win this first round, then they’re foolish. They never win these cases…all the way back to the USFL case.

    The league’s best option is probably to negotiate a settlement that requires the union to reform and establishes a new collective bargaining agreement. The owners can also negotiate a settlement that insures that any cba disputes be handled by an arbitrator rather than the courts. Those are the issues that matter most to the owners, and what they wanted out of cba negotiations. The reason the owners have avoided such negotiations is that, under the auspices of settlement negotiations, the players have additional leverage and can avoid some of the give back that the owners have demanded.

  50. saints25 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:20 PM

    ‘m surprised but the “lockout” is over….owners lose..they’ll have to get back to medation…Draft day could be the best ever!!!!!!Trades an all that.Did they 2 sides set this up? Damn they both got us again!!!!!

  51. jebdamone says: Apr 25, 2011 9:26 PM

    this seemed like a pointless maneuver to me from the beginning and one of the (many) reasons i have been on players side. what were the owners thinking was gonna happen, the judge was just going to ignore precedent and the law? good luck with you appeal and stay of ruling owners and while you’re at it suck it and go $*%& yourselves.
    i hope the two sides do still continue to negotiate and come to another CBA sooner than later but am glad the players have the leverage that should have been theirs from the beginning. owners signed the contract and now they want out of it, just like when CJ blows it up and starts bitching about how he wants to get paid…except its worse cause the owners are banking and CJ actually does have a gripe considering his talent. if the contract was so terrible owners, you shouldn’t have signed the damn thing in the first place, im not going to feel sorry for you now.

  52. Gordon says: Apr 25, 2011 9:27 PM

    kom2k10…are you clueless. You think the owners wouldn’t raise prices if player salaries never increased? You obviously live in a fantasyland. Owners will raise prices as long as fans are willing to pay the price. It’s not just a function of player salaries. Welcome to capitalism.

  53. friendlylittletrees says: Apr 25, 2011 9:29 PM

    Huddle or Duck and Cover?

  54. glen1904 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:29 PM

    komo2k10 says

    it hurts his brain, “when the players get more of the 9 billion dollar pie the FANS have to pay for it”
    perhaps he just needs a bigger cap? because anyone with a brain knows the player are not asking for more, the owners are. that’s what this entire thing is about, that is why they opted out K!

  55. willycents says: Apr 25, 2011 9:29 PM

    and the next announcememt from the Mn Vikings, “Due to the adverse atmosphere in this area, The Minnesota Vikings are ceasing all negotiations concerning renewal of the stadium lease agreement and looking forward to finding a new locality in which to operate their business where there is a better environment for success. The Minnesota Vikings organization wishes to thank the fans of this area for their support over the time we have been in business here, and look forward to their continued support in our new location.”

    Think that is possible?

  56. jebdamone says: Apr 25, 2011 9:30 PM

    and everyone has been talking about how stupid the players are…

  57. nflfan101 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:32 PM

    The owners need to simply say ok, “no rules”. Then cancel the draft, allow teams to hire any college players, allow teams to hire as many or as few players as they want, and to pay as much or as little as they want.

    If the owners did that, how long would it take the players to form a union to strike because the pay would be so low?

    If this ruling holds up on appeal, then I believe that D. Smith just killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. I hope that the average player is happy.

  58. stanklepoot says: Apr 25, 2011 9:33 PM

    Chris Fiorentino says: Apr 25, 2011 8:57 PM

    Why don’t the owners just fire them all and start from scratch. Now that there is no union, why can they do? Football is bigger than the players. How many of us would not watch a full 32 team free-for-all for anyone who wants to play under the NFL rules in NFL stadiums? Players want to play? They have to re-sign for much, much less. Ryan Clark…you want to show up tomorrow? Go ahead…and clean out your locker…YOU’RE FIRED!!!! Hope you guys saved your signing bonuses…that’s the last windfall you will ever see unless Mickey D’s starts handing out 7-figure salaries!!!
    __________________________
    You do realize that such an impulsive act would only guarantee a series of future anti-trust findings against the NFL, each coming with triple damages, right? For now, it’s just a lockout injunction that gives both sides a chance to negotiate a settlement. Pipe dreams like that would be worse than the owners shooting themselves in the foot. It would be like shooting yourself somewhere that you’d miss much more. Besides, a huge drop in the competitive level of the NFL would only lead to a huge drop in ratings, attendance, and airing rights fees. Americans want to see the best on the field. Why do you think European Championship league soccer games do so well compared to MLS games on tv? Americans will spend top dollar for quality entertainment, but not for second rate players.

  59. momar3000 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:34 PM

    The fact that the NFL has an anti-trust exemption makes the normal legal rules moot. They only have it because…well because we are idiots…but also its a national good, the majority of citizens want it so we accept giving them a rigged playing field to make easy money. They could never run the league so profitably without it.

    My point is if they are gonna keep the exemption they better play some goddamn football. They think they (owners/players/commissioners) are so smart to create such a big powerful “business”, we made the rules so they could easily make a succesful “business” and willingly give them our money.

    Its cool cause we love football. They better play football.

  60. ydnubm says: Apr 25, 2011 9:37 PM

    The Sherman (Antitrust) Act, Section 2:

    “Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony…”

  61. moochzilla says: Apr 25, 2011 9:39 PM

    Oh, and a HUGE part of the owner’s PR advantage was the fact that many would confuse all of this for a strike. Then they would blame the players. Because, after all, it’s easy to hate on people making a lot of money to play a game.

    What happens when the players show up tomorrow is that this Big Lie will begin to unravel among a sizable percentage of the fan base who was only passively following this or not dwelling on details.

    As of then, it’s 100% on the owners. The question will go from “why aren’t they working this out” to “why are the owners preventing the players from playing”.

    And that’s a critical PR loss that the owners don’t recover from.

  62. bpjensen says: Apr 25, 2011 9:39 PM

    This ruling does not by itself guarantee us football this season; however, this ruling and a ruling by the 8th Circuit denying the owner’s stay does. The 2011 season would be played under the terms of the CBA from last season. The 8th Circuit granting the stay will do nothing for salvaging the 2011 season.

    The appeal of Judge Nelson’s ruling to end the lockout would likely not be decided for months, and without the stay, the teams would have to operate under some rules. Even then, that ruling is not the whole case, just whether the lockout should or should not be allowed. The anti-trust lawsuit would still need to continue. And that could take years.

    Judge Nelson has stated the players stand a good chance to win on the merits of their case. Thus, the NFL were to lose the anti-trust lawsuit they could be facing a situation of setting up a BP oil spill fund for all the businesses harmed by the NFL’s illegal actions. Throw on top of that the likely $4 billion in damages from the lockout insurance case and it does not look great for the owners.

    Now that both sides have had their fun saying how they are doing this for the fans, let’s get a deal worked out and get back to the greatest game in the world. Enough of the lawyer, courtroom, propaganda bullcrap.

  63. stanklepoot says: Apr 25, 2011 9:41 PM

    odessabucs says: Apr 25, 2011 9:01 PM

    Judge Nelson is an Obama appointee. Surprise, surprise a pro labor decision.

    Surely the NFL owners are not so naive to believe they had this in the bag.
    _________________________
    Really doesn’t have as much to do with who appointed the judge as many people seem to think. Doty was appointed by Reagan. Judges tend to focus on the law more than their political beliefs, and the only way the NFL wins this case is if there’s a finding that the NFLPA had no right to decertify. All of the league’s arguments depend on the presumption that the NFLPA is still a fully functioning union. Only then would the league have the anti-trust exemptions necessary to allow them to collectively lockout the players.

  64. bigsuede says: Apr 25, 2011 9:44 PM

    Peyton Manning is now a free agent. The NFL should step very carefully about placing any rules- they are going to open themselves up to treble damages and the liability that they expose themselves to if they collude is SUBSTANTIAL.

    By the way- this was the likely ruling. It was TOTALLY PREDICTABLE- and would have to be ruled the same way by a conservative judge. The supreme court laid this all out last year in the needle case.

    But like everything- the media likes to play it out like it could go either way to rachet up the tension.

    I am amazed by the owners lack of understanding what their standing is

  65. Patriot42 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:44 PM

    Been a fan for 40 years but it is time to stop.

  66. dontcallmepete says: Apr 25, 2011 9:48 PM

    If politics favored anybody in court the owners wouldn’t have hired David Bois, a liberal. He is as good as they come and if he lost there’s little chance on appeal.

  67. realitypolice says: Apr 25, 2011 9:48 PM

    kom2k10 says:
    Apr 25, 2011 8:45 PM
    Anyone who is supporting this ruling or the players because they are “going to get football this year” is a short-sighted moron…

    Everytime the players “win” the PLAYERS MAKE MORE MONEY. That doesn’t mean the owners just fork over more money to the players… it actually means the owners will CHARGE YOU MORE MONEY to pay for the added expenses!
    ===============================

    WOW- You and the 40 people who gave a thumbs up to your post have absolutely no clue how a free market economy works.

    Ticket prices don’t go up because player salaries go up- player salaries go up because ticket prices go up. Player salaries are directly tied to revenues.

    Ticket prices go up because YOU KEEP PAYING FOR THEM. Plain and simple. End of story.

    If the players agreed to take a 75% pay cut in the new CBA, ticket prices would not come down, and in fact would continue to rise until YOU STOPPED PAYING FOR THEM.

    It’s supply and demand, free market economics 101.

  68. theblowtorchreview says: Apr 25, 2011 9:48 PM

    Any chance this gets to the Supreme Court? If so, the Republicans will win…….oh wait, that was another case.

    But as was stated, a vote for the players is a vote for $12 beers and $25 parking 3 miles from the stadium!

    I suspect the guys who are crying “I want my NFL” are watchng the games on sunday from the comfort of their own living room.

  69. ronithan23 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:49 PM

    fivetwos says:
    Apr 25, 2011 8:58 PM
    Mike–I know you’ve gone over this before, but if you could touch on it somewhere along the lines again soon, because I’d like to be clear–and don’t want to listen to what some hack with a communications degree has to say elsewhere..

    The appellate court, in order to overturn Nelson’s decision, needs to find some sort of flaw in the law(s) she applied, correct? It’s not a separate opinion of the same facts? Thanks…

    The 8th Circuit will review Judge Nelson’s decision on an abuse of discretion standard, not from scratch. Make of that what you will. The COA could still grant a stay however, in the mean time. ESPN indicated that if a stay is granted, it would likely be this week.

  70. arlingtonsynn says: Apr 25, 2011 9:50 PM

    tommyf15 says:
    Apr 25, 2011 9:06 PM
    Don’t shoot the messenger here: I don’t think you guys understand how insane things could get. How would you like to see the Dallas Cowboys sign their own deal with a network, and put the games on at 2:30 PM EST to lure eyeballs away from the other games?

    _____________________

    This is the big issue. The owners were always going to lose this in courts because of the antitrust exemption they were already granted. The very things that make football rock (salary cap, non-restricted contracts, draft) are illegal in this country without that antitrust exemption.

    If the players take this all the way, they destroy those things.

  71. drgreenstreak says: Apr 25, 2011 9:50 PM

    Coming out of the huddle, Jerry Richardson begins a long snap count under center Roger Goodell who is becoming nervously excited at his role on the team.

  72. dclimey says: Apr 25, 2011 9:50 PM

    @fivetwos:

    Lawyer here -I do a lot of appeals with the 9th Cir., but the standard of decision for the 8th Cir. is the same: “abuse of discretion.”

    In virtually all civil litigation – like here – both sides make fairly reasonable arguments, and the trial judge – Nelson, in this case- could reasonably go either way. That’s her”discretion.” When there’s no obvious winner, and a trial court must exercise discretion in deciding a question, it must do so in a way that is not clearly against logic and the evidence. So if the evidence presented and arguments made would allow the judge to rule either way, there’s never going to be an abuse of discretion.

    That seems like the case here, however, the appellate judges may see the evidence differently. To them, perhaps, the decertification was clearly a sham, thus, Nelson’s decision was “clearly against logic and reason.” But it’s not looking good for the league – I’d be hard-pressed to say Nelson’s decision was clearly wrong.

  73. tommyf15 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:54 PM

    realitypolice says:
    Apr 25, 2011 9:48 PM
    WOW- You and the 40 people who gave a thumbs up to your post have absolutely no clue how a free market economy works.

    Ticket prices don’t go up because player salaries go up- player salaries go up because ticket prices go up. Player salaries are directly tied to revenues.

    Ticket prices go up because YOU KEEP PAYING FOR THEM. Plain and simple. End of story.

    If the players agreed to take a 75% pay cut in the new CBA, ticket prices would not come down, and in fact would continue to rise until YOU STOPPED PAYING FOR THEM.

    It’s supply and demand, free market economics 101.

    Quoted for truth.

    As if NBA and NHL ticket prices were lowered after decisive victories by the owners in those leagues.

  74. toe4 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:55 PM

    I just want football.

    Players want football. Owners don’t.

    I guess I support the players.

  75. qj1984 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:56 PM

    The only way the owners will gain leverage back now is to just cease ALL operations. Dont hold a draft, dont allow the players back in, just shut the business down. And let the players respond to their profession effectively disappearing or seriously downgrading money wise, if they go UFL or CFL.

    Its extreme but that might be the owners last and best resort. It will beat entering into another bad deal where some owners are not making money, if thats the case.

  76. dclimey says: Apr 25, 2011 9:56 PM

    Just to clear up my comment above, the abuse of discretion standard of decision for the 8th Cir. is not how *all* appeals are resolved. This is just the standard of review for a preliminary injunction. Sometimes the standard is lesser (de novo, or essentially making their own opinion based on the lower court’s record), or greater (clear error – which only really happens when there’s no problem with how the facts are perceived, but the law that was applied, or the way it was applied, i.e., not following higher court precedent, was clearly erroneous).

  77. nflfan101 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:58 PM

    danspeakmanpe says: Apr 25, 2011 8:38 PM

    Shouldn’t free agency start now?

    —————–

    What free agency?

    Applying the law that the judge used, there cannot be any employment rules imposed on all teams by the NFL. Every player is free to deal with whatever team the player wants to deal with. And teams can pay as much or as little as they want and hire as many or as few players as they want. There cannot be free agency or a draft.

    That is, unless the judge isn’t really applying the law, but merely supporting the players’ union.

  78. melonnhead says: Apr 25, 2011 9:58 PM

    great photo.

    ——————————————————

    Yeah, it’s the one he uses when he’s trying to rally readers behind the union dogs. I would think that they already had a plan in place in case the court lifting the lockout. It’s called “an appeal” and they followed it to a tee.

  79. joey49er says: Apr 25, 2011 9:59 PM

    listen heres the truth.who says the owners have to pay these players top money..the owners will just stop paying all these bonouses..if ur profit margin is not where u want it to be quit spending money on these over paid players!!!period..look at the bengals every year their way under the cap..they keep that money they saved…now the game will suffer

  80. footballfan292 says: Apr 25, 2011 10:02 PM

    The owners lost 9-0 in the Supreme Court with the Needle case.

    Seems Republican/Democrat has little to do with how the courts are ruling with NFL matters. The owners are getting spanked no matter what they try to do and no matter who the judge is.

    Maybe they need to re-evaluate their legal strategy.

  81. moochzilla says: Apr 25, 2011 10:08 PM

    “But as was stated, a vote for the players is a vote for $12 beers and $25 parking 3 miles from the stadium! ”

    Went to a scab game back in 1987. Prices remained the same. And prices will not go down if the players make less. To think so is to ignore reality and history.

    Prices will remain the same / go up every year no matter what the expenses / costs are. Why?

    You have 70,000 seats, a 10 year waiting list for tix in many cities. Supply and demand dictates higher pricing.

    You have a captive audience, many of whom equate the NFL with getting falling down drunk. Capitalism encourages higher pricing. Rationing how much people can consumer on gameday argues for higher pricing.

    You can pay more to park close to the stadium, you choose to park farther out to save money (so you can buy more $8.50 Coors Lights). That’s called exercising a choice as a consumer.

    I love the conservatives. Now they want socialism and activist judges. Screw capitalism that allows for higher pricing! Screw the law, we didn’t get what we want.

    If you can’t afford the NFL game, give up your ticket. WE HAVE A 10 YEAR WAITING LIST IN PHILLY!

    You don’t have a ‘right’ to cheap tickets or cheap gas. Pay the money or get out of the line.

  82. ftball53 says: Apr 25, 2011 10:12 PM

    Ok, the draft is Thursday, what are the rules? Does the NFL appease GM’s and let them sign undrafted free agents/trade players and other things that would have been impossible during a lockout?

  83. msclemons67 says: Apr 25, 2011 10:13 PM

    The league needs to realize it isn’t going to have a leg to stand on in anti-trust rulings in the absence of a CBA with a union. They need to change tactics.

    1) Eliminate any rules that violate anti-trust laws: salary cap, draft, free agency restictions, etc.

    2) Rename the league to Major League Football so the fans will be ready to see a lot of failed franchises.

    3) Make it loud and clear that the minimum wage is now $7.50 an hour rather than $400,000 per year.

    4) Delete all benefits negotiated in the past CBAs. Each team decides it’s own health, pension and insurance benefits during negotiations with one-man unions.

    The league needs to make it obvious that the result of this litigation will be that 5% of the players get 95% of the money. If the players recertify and strike let them. The frantic reaction to the lockout proves that the players can’t survive long without a paycheck.

  84. melonnhead says: Apr 25, 2011 10:20 PM

    kom2k10…are you clueless. You think the owners wouldn’t raise prices if player salaries never increased? You obviously live in a fantasyland. Owners will raise prices as long as fans are willing to pay the price. It’s not just a function of player salaries. Welcome to capitalism.

    —————————————————–

    Player salaries ate up about 60% of total revenue under the CBA. I’d say that player salaries go a long way toward determining what the average NFL fan pays for a game. Yeah owners will raise and have raised prices in times of labor peace anyway because they want to keep up their profit margins and expand them when they can, but rising player salaries are going to have a much bigger effect than all other factors combined, even when you add inflation.

  85. melonnhead says: Apr 25, 2011 10:22 PM

    Ticket prices don’t go up because player salaries go up- player salaries go up because ticket prices go up. Player salaries are directly tied to revenues.

    —————————————————-

    Not anymore.

  86. realfootballfan says: Apr 25, 2011 10:25 PM

    You’re shocked that they don’t have a fall back plan in place with geniuses like Steven Ross, Jerry Jones, and Jerry Richardson (the new school buffoons) running the show?

  87. thomasreilly says: Apr 25, 2011 10:38 PM

    It would be pretty funny (as a Pats fan) if Peyton Manning signed a big contract with the Redskins at 8:01 tomorrow morning.

    If the lockout is over, what rules are in effect? The last CBA?

  88. moochzilla says: Apr 25, 2011 10:43 PM

    They’re huddling to assess their accomplishments to date:

    - Got lit up by De Smith in talks…check

    - Got lit up in court…check

    - Got lit up court of public opinion when fans finally realize that this isn’t a strike…check as of tomorrow evening

    Goodell should be replaced with that guy who oversaw the Katrina response. It would be an upgrade.

  89. Deb says: Apr 25, 2011 11:01 PM

    Great … we wait two hours for comments to post and mine is censored. Thanks.

  90. 6thsense79 says: Apr 25, 2011 11:01 PM

    Chris Fiorentino says:
    Apr 25, 2011 8:57 PM
    Why don’t the owners just fire them all and start from scratch. Now that there is no union, why can they do? Football is bigger than the players. How many of us would not watch a full 32 team free-for-all for anyone who wants to play under the NFL rules in NFL stadiums? Players want to play? They have to re-sign for much, much less. Ryan Clark…you want to show up tomorrow? Go ahead…and clean out your locker…YOU’RE FIRED!!!! Hope you guys saved your signing bonuses…that’s the last windfall you will ever see unless Mickey D’s starts handing out 7-figure salaries!!!
    ——————————-
    Oh Chris my poor naive simpleton. If the owners act as whole and try to fire all the current players they open themselves up to even more damages and lawsuits not to mention many of the players are under contract.

    Also if you fire the players I’m fairly certain another league will spring up to collect that wealth of highly talented NFL talent that’s already been marketed and form a formable league to challenge the NFL. What league wouldn’t want a Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, etc? The XFL was a failure but would it be a failure with the top football players on the planet? And who would the NFL offer up to counter that? As much as you guys think the players don’t matter they do. If they didn’t nobody would be offering endorsement contracts to the players to sale products to the public….If it is all about the team fans wouldn’t care that they get a Peyton Manning Jersey just as long as it’s a Colts Jersey……we all know that’s horse sh*t.

  91. Deb says: Apr 25, 2011 11:02 PM

    Next steps? No brainer.

    Call the players. Sign a new agreement. Return to business as usual. End this nonsense.

  92. thefiesty1 says: Apr 25, 2011 11:07 PM

    JJ and the real owners should have hired better lawyers. The league should of asked for a change of venue to find a conservative judge instead of getting stuck with a liberal Obamaite. All her decision did was to jeparodize the season further.

  93. kom2k10 says: Apr 25, 2011 11:10 PM

    Gordon and Glen1904

    How can you deny the fact that when an owners expenses icrease, then the prices increase as well???

    Yes supply and demand do have a role in ticket prices, but that doesn’t explain why overall attendance in the NFL is down for the 4th year in a row, yet 65% of teams still increased their ticket prices last year! They need to increase the prices to pay for ALL of their expenses… the biggest one being PLAYER SALARIES.

    If you owned a business and you were forced to keep less of your overall revenue, the way you make up for it is increasing prices. That is in essence why a win for the players equals a loss for the fans.

  94. realitypolice says: Apr 25, 2011 11:22 PM

    melonnhead says:
    Apr 25, 2011 10:20 PM

    Player salaries ate up about 60% of total revenue under the CBA. I’d say that player salaries go a long way toward determining what the average NFL fan pays for a game. Yeah owners will raise and have raised prices in times of labor peace anyway because they want to keep up their profit margins and expand them when they can, but rising player salaries are going to have a much bigger effect than all other factors combined, even when you add inflation.

    ========================

    OMG- You still don’t understand. Despite all of the efforts to explain it to you, you still don’t understand.

    By the very definition of the system used under the last CBA, player salaries only rise AFTER REVENUE RISES.

    That means the process works like this: Owners raise ticket prices, revenue goes up, then and only then, player salaries go up.

    Because you see, the league has something called a salary cap- and it will in the new CBA too.

    Player salaries, on average, only go up when the salary cap goes up.

    And the salary cap only goes up WHEN REVENUES GO UP.

    And that happens when owners do things like, oh I don’t know, RAISE TICKET PRICES.

    Wow. It really can’t be that hard to understand, can it?

  95. thomasreilly says: Apr 25, 2011 11:33 PM

    Kom,
    Revenue is much more than ticket prices. Owners left TV revenue on the table in favor of lockout insurance, right? Maybe that is why they raised ticket prices over the past four years….they were preparing for a lockout and were hoarding money!

  96. davikes says: Apr 25, 2011 11:36 PM

    Yeah, draft night just got a lot more interesting. The tension will thick in that room. Bet they double the number of mics and cameras hoping to get some great quotes. And there should be more than a few priceless expressions. The network has got to be thrilled with the timing.

  97. msclemons67 says: Apr 26, 2011 12:10 AM

    Deb says: Apr 25, 2011 11:01 PM

    Great … we wait two hours for comments to post and mine is censored. Thanks.
    ======================================

    Clear your cache and refresh. The site gets wonky when there are a lot of comments. If you really did get censored that would be sad – your comments are great even when I disagree with you (most of the time). :D

  98. msclemons67 says: Apr 26, 2011 1:25 AM

    realitypolice says: Apr 25, 2011 11:22 PM

    Because you see, the league has something called a salary cap- and it will in the new CBA too.

    ======================================

    There can be no CBA without a union. The NFLPA has already decertified twice, can they certify for a third time? Even if they can certify again the owners will simply lock them out again.

    I don’t see any way the league can legally have a salary cap in the future. It’s now Major League Football.

  99. mick730 says: Apr 26, 2011 1:45 AM

    My understanding is that if there is no union, there can be no anti trust exemption. There would really be 32 individual businesses. If that is indeed the case, then the “NFL” if it is still in existence, cannot negotiate nor collect monies from television contracts. Each team will have to negotiate their own television contract. If that’s the case, it looks like the Cowboys, the Giants, the Jets, the Bears, the Eagles, and the Patriots are going to be the winners, as will their players. The rest of the teams and their players will be in big trouble. Green Bay may as well just close up shop, have a fire sale of all the assets and let them go to the local VFW hall as per their charter. I’m not even sure how the teams could have a season without being in violation of anti-trust laws. There are ten players suing the 32 teams now, and with where things stand, any single player or group of other players could sue the league at any time.

    I’m not sure how this can work. And seriously, I don’t think it can. What might be best for the 32 teams, considering that anti-trust violations carry treble damages, is for the 32 teams to suspend operations indefinetly and have their representatives try and work out some sort of rules of business and operations with the U.S. Justince department and the NLRB on how it is they can operate given anti-trust laws. Otherwise, the 32 teams will pay the players billions of dollars this year at the same time they’re being sued for billions more and potentially hundreds of players and their agent/lawyers lining up to collect hundreds of millions of dollars more.

  100. stanklepoot says: Apr 26, 2011 6:18 AM

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    nflfan101 says: Apr 25, 2011 9:58 PM

    danspeakmanpe says: Apr 25, 2011 8:38 PM

    Shouldn’t free agency start now?

    —————–

    What free agency?

    Applying the law that the judge used, there cannot be any employment rules imposed on all teams by the NFL. Every player is free to deal with whatever team the player wants to deal with. And teams can pay as much or as little as they want and hire as many or as few players as they want. There cannot be free agency or a draft.

    That is, unless the judge isn’t really applying the law, but merely supporting the players’ union.
    _____________________
    Sorry, but you’re wrong on multiple points. First of all, this draft was accounted for in the outgoing cba. It’s the last vestige of the last cba in fact. Secondly, almost two-thirds of the players in the NFL are still under contract. Those individual contracts are still in effect, even if the cba no longer is. Furthermore, if there really were no rules, then all of the available free agents (both UFAs and players who would have been RFAs) would be free to sign with whatever team they want. That’s the definition of free agency. So, it’s not that FA would no longer exist, but that it would be expanded even further. Finally, if the lifting of the lockout is upheld, there will be some rules. The courts have already stated that some rules are necessary for the league to function. The most likely action will be for temporary rules closely resembling the last agreed upon set of rules to be put in place while both sides try to come to negotiate a more long term deal. That’s what all this is about anyway, leverage in negotiating the eventual deal.

  101. moochzilla says: Apr 26, 2011 7:52 AM

    “Make it loud and clear that the minimum wage is now $7.50 an hour rather than $400,000 per year.”

    GREAT IDEA. And then another league will form and buy up all the talent. This is essentially what the USFL / CBA (v NBA) tried to do, only now they can do it because you foolishly disqualified your league from buying talent.

    Nice!

    So now, your league has no talent. And do you know where the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF YOUR REVENUE COMES FROM?

    Television?

    The minute you tell CBS / ABC / ESPN that you have replaced your 5-star and 4-star and 3-star and 2-star talent with street Free Agents (across the board), they’ll renegotiate that contract down to pennies.

    And forget about the NFL specials like the draft, since no one of note will be there / selected.

    And forget about NFL Network. And merchandising, since no one will pay $60 for a Mike Kafka jersey (not that he’d play for minimum wage).

    And then you won’t be able to pay for your operating costs. And then your teams will start to fold, and then the league will be done in 2 years.

    Yeah, you have a GREAT idea!

    How can you be so clueless?

  102. moochzilla says: Apr 26, 2011 7:54 AM

    Wow, still marveling over how stupid that comment of yours was.

    I mean, the Michigan Wolverines make more than minimum wage!

  103. moochzilla says: Apr 26, 2011 8:16 AM

    “Yes supply and demand do have a role in ticket prices, but that doesn’t explain why overall attendance in the NFL is down for the 4th year in a row, yet 65% of teams still increased their ticket prices last year!”

    Because revenues from tickets are a drop in the bucket.

    Any discussion of owner revenues begins and ends with the TV money.

    The fans are merely extras for the broadcast.

    The owners are screwed because most of them would fare poorly if they had to survive on their own. They need the successful / big market franchises to drive the TV bus and share the profits. That’s why the players have always held the hammer.

    Is a 3rd string CB going to buckle and start saying we need to make a deal? Sure. He needs the money and won’t fare well as a street FA.

    But it is just as likely that the Jags owner will buckle when he starts to see the possibility of having a local TV deal in his small market (where his team isn’t even the most popular football team) as opposed to sharing that national deal.

    Who do you think can move the needle more in his respective organization.

    It’s over.

  104. melonnhead says: Apr 26, 2011 11:03 AM

    OMG- You still don’t understand. Despite all of the efforts to explain it to you, you still don’t understand.

    By the very definition of the system used under the last CBA, player salaries only rise AFTER REVENUE RISES.

    —————————————————-

    Right. Aaaand… there’s no CBA right now nor is there likely to be one in the near future. What part of that do YOU not understand? You’re hung up on the past, I’m talking about the present and future. THERE IS NO CBA. Forget talking about the old business model, it’s gone and it’s not coming back. The list of things that were but are no more is too long to list here. Player salaries WILL rise as a percentage of revenue since the better players will go to the highest bidder, and owners WILL jack up prices in order to preserve their profit margins because the market can obviously handle it. Business 101, what’s so hard for you to get?

  105. melonnhead says: Apr 26, 2011 11:15 AM

    You’re shocked that they don’t have a fall back plan in place with geniuses like Steven Ross, Jerry Jones, and Jerry Richardson (the new school buffoons) running the show?

    —————————————————–

    The “new school buffoons” as you put it are the ones that transformed the NFL into a $9 billion business, dragging the “old school guys who inherited everything they have” along, kicking and screaming all the way.

  106. Deb says: Apr 26, 2011 11:19 AM

    @msclemons67 …

    Thank you! Actually … I … uh … might have said the owners should call the players and stop being stubborn … um …

    It starts with a “p”–but I did replace the “i” with an amperstand! Still, it was an inappropriate thing to say … especially in all caps. So I can’t fault the censors on that one. Sometimes my passions get the best of me :D

  107. moochzilla says: Apr 26, 2011 11:23 AM

    “Forget talking about the old business model, it’s gone and it’s not coming back. ”

    No, it will. Because if it doesn’t you’ll have a 12 team league by 2020. And most of the have-not owners know this and will fight tooth and nail to keep the old agreement in place.

    They just wanted a handout from the players, they liked most of the socialist, protectionist measures that the agreement provided.

  108. toe4 says: Apr 27, 2011 8:45 AM

    Deb,

    You can’t call people those names. Unless of course you are referring to an entire race and calling them drunken idiots than it is fair game.

    Still a little steamed that the intern allowed that post on the boxing/pot article.

    Maybe the intern is a drunken idiot. Wait! Its Mike Vanderjagt! He found a job!

  109. giablommi says: Apr 27, 2011 12:35 PM

    @ moochzilla

    I’ve pretty much stopped posting on PFT due to the rampant censorship but I have to commend you on your utter and thorough destruction of the pro-ownership ignoramuses (ignorami?)

    Keep up the good work.

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