With the players believing that the owners had reneged on a “verbal handshake” deal regarding the revenue split and with the owners insisting that everything remains negotiable until a deal is done (that’s fancy talk for “bait-and-switch”), the mood of the labor talks had turned gloomy on Thursday.
Enter Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, who by all accounts became much more than a fly on the wall and stepped up to prevent the talks from collapsing, as explained by Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com. Per Albert Breer of NFL Network, it was Boylan who pushed for the talks to continue late into the night. Boylan even wanted to continue past 1:00 a.m., but the principles were out of steam. (Free advice: Less Rob Roys, more push-ups.)
The result? Breer reports that “major strides” were made regarding the revenue split, both last night and this morning. Given the players’ perception that the owners changed the terms as to the most important term between the two sides, we think the immediate goal should be to strike a firm agreement on that issue, write it up, put it to bed, and move on to other issues, which will prevent the league from trying to later adjust the terms or alter the key definitions or otherwise take advantage of the perception that the players ultimately will agree to whatever the owners’ last, best offer may be.
It all starts up again Tuesday. Which means that every player, coach, assistant coach, scout, personnel director, G.M., other team employee, agent, and media member can look forward to a three-day weekend of answering this question from family, friends, neighbors, and/or complete strangers: “So, are we gonna have football this year?”