Sense of urgency apparently has arrived, but will it last?

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When the NFL and the NFLPA* embarked on their recent strategy of weekly negotiations, which began secretly but have become increasingly less so, the fact that the parties were together only two days or so per week wasn’t particularly troubling.  After all, communications could continue to occur in other formats when the two sides weren’t in the same room.  Besides, at that point any meetings were better than the previous pattern of no meetings.

Within the past couple of weeks, the failure of the principals to make these talks their principle focus has become increasingly alarming.  With much to do and not much time left to save the full preseason and the $800 million in cash that goes along with it, meeting for two days per week fails to create the kind of personal inconvenience that will cause the human beings involved in the discussions to focus on efficiency and productivity in order to get home to their spouses, their children, their beds, and their routines.

Perhaps the recent reversal of a slow-but-steady march of the tortoises was needed in order to grab the parties by their respective hair.  Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that Thursday’s negotiations, which Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports pegged earlier via Twitter as, on a scale of one to 10, at “about a 2” (he’s promising a comprehensive column later tonight, and I’ve promised to stop calling him a tease if/when he finally delivers it), have extended into the evening.

“I’ve heard the cries for weeks now — ‘Why aren’t they locked in a building, ’round the clock?'” Breer said.  “Looks like people are getting their wish.”

It’s about damn time.  With the talks at a crucial juncture, and with each side likely pondering whether there’s a way to walk away from the table without disappearing in an avalanche of negative P.R. (given that the media and the fans have been led to believe for a month that a deal is coming), it’s time to show the media and the fans that the parties are taking this matter seriously.

Come early.  Stay late.  Order in food.  Work 18 hours a day.  Do whatever is necessary to create the sense of personal frustration (and, in turn, razor-sharp focus) that will get the owners to quit playing the same games they were playing in March and that will get the players’ lawyers to accept the fact that a “run out the clock” strategy won’t derail the negotiation of a new deal.

The next question is whether the talks will continue on Friday.  And then whether the assembled negotiators will decide to sacrifice their three-day holiday weekends in order to ensure that the season will be saved.

Both sides make billions from a nation of sports fans.  It would be fitting, then, for the two sides to lock the doors and stay put on the anniversary of the nation’s birth.

The fireworks can wait until an agreement is reached.

30 responses to “Sense of urgency apparently has arrived, but will it last?

  1. You said it best Mike.

    “It’s about damn time.”

    But I refuse to be optimistic. I refuse to be hopeful. I’m tired of getting my hopes fired up just to get them doused with ice cold water.

  2. They are just feeling the sense of urgency, what a bunch of bull. I wanna see both the players and owners start losing money. Since they don’t care about their fans, who pay their salaries. Let them go all out now take the whole to split 9 billion.

  3. In other news this lockout idea just hit the NBA, look at basketball all dressed up in big brothers clothes. As someone that never believed that baseball was the national past time, looks like we’re screwed folks. At least there is the college game with it’s no playoff system.

  4. As much as I would love to have this done tonight and as much as I wanted to get excited about this, I can’t… I’m scared of cold water in 30 seconds.

  5. Nice piece. I think it is safe to say that none of the folks that are actually involved in the bargining are in any way financially strapped. I would venture to say that everyone around the table players, owners and lawyers could survive very well without another paycheck coming to them.

    The sad part is that these selfish folks are impacting the survival of those the represent and those they employ.

    I doubt if anyone of these folks will give up a long weekend to protect those they represent.

  6. The owners are the ones playing games? Really?

    I haven’t heard of the owners union decertifying. (Yes, I know there’s not an owners union).

    I’ve heard of proposals from the owners.

    I don’t see the owners spouting “This is war” hyperbole.

    But yeah, OK. The owners are the ones playing games. Only on PFT folks.

  7. This is getting beyond frustrating. Why has PFT not touched base on the report that the owners have gone back on their 48% offer & lowered back down to essentally 45% after demanding the players give up the $400-500million in expenses off the top? I have blamed both for this but the owners are about to piss me off (and Im an NFL junkie). Get a deal done

  8. Get a deal done, Im sick of making mind numbing comments about the lockout. Im running out of material.

  9. Between all of the posts on this site and what’s happening in the NBA, perhaps it’s time to rollout JeffreyKesslerTalks.com…

  10. Honestly this article is one of the few that tick me off. I am ticked because the title is very deceiving. He makes it sound like they are urgent now, but gives no “meat” on how they think its time to be urgent. Okay, quote a couple media people, then somehow turn that into a title that implies the owners and players have come out and are doing something to show urgency? No, instead we don’t know if they are going to stay and meet on Friday

  11. Superdave

    Where are you seeing this. NFL network only said they met for an additional sox hours passed the 4 scheduled end (so till 10). I worked for 12 hrs today for my measly 60k salary, if 9 billion was on the table you’d have to beat me out with a stick.

  12. I am almost hoping that they don’t get a deal done. I have some exciting projects started that I can immerse myself in, and frankly they will profit me more in many multifaceted ways. I dare you guys to screw with me. Once gone, I will never be back, and I am one of many.

  13. Something happens to people when they work around the clock. Deals start to look better when you’ve been arguing and negotiating with each other and you’re exhausted. Not saying that this will happen with these two sides, but you never know.

  14. boedavis says: Jun 30, 2011 10:04 PM

    They are just feeling the sense of urgency, what a bunch of bull. I wanna see both the players and owners start losing money.

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

    I’m starting to feel the same way. Let these morons wreck the season and then decide how to split 4 billion a year instead of 9 billion. Would serve the whole lot of them right.

  15. Valman61

    I had heard it on ESPN Radio earlier & just saw they posted an article as well (“aourse close…”). So frustrating. They so do not place enough importance on the fans. The NFL simply cannot see how ridiculous it costs (except on free tv) & THEY already have a golden egg. Damn it

  16. superdave4good says:
    Jun 30, 2011 10:17 PM
    “This is getting beyond frustrating. Why has PFT not touched base on the report that the owners have gone back on their 48% offer & lowered back down to essentally 45% after demanding the players give up the $400-500million in expenses off the top? I have blamed both for this but the owners are about to piss me off (and Im an NFL junkie). Get a deal done”

    Glad you brought that up!

    The owners rescinding their “word” stretches the concept of sincere negotiation.

    One hopes they cut the gamesmanship, so we can get on with the games.

  17. I picked a good time to start playing guitar again. Now I’ll have plenty of time to practice. If, in July, they’re back to where they were in March, why would anyone think they can make enough progress to lift the lockout anytime soon? It’s time to find something else to do.

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