Last Tuesday, the NFL learned that it will lose $1 billion as a result of a lockout that ends before any regular-season games are missed, including $400 million in March 2011 alone. Also on Tuesday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed optimism regarding the possibility of getting a new labor deal negotiated by the end of the year.
We believe that the message from Kraft, an influential member of ownership, is significant. He wouldn’t be expressing optimism publicly that a deal will be accomplished if he wasn’t aggressively pushing privately for a deal to be accomplished.
Recently, Kraft reiterated his optimism in an interview with Albert Breer of NFL Network.
“I must clarify, I was speaking for myself,” Kraft initially said of his views, before expanding on them. “We had a presentation at
the league meeting and it’s pretty clear to me, and I think a number
of other owners, that we’re in a situation where there will be
significant losses for both sides if we’re not able to come to a
resolution quickly. And in this economic environment, to lose a
billion dollars before playing another game — even if we start playing
in September — both sides are going to be big losers if that happens.
And I have a feeling that [NFLPA Executive Director] De Smith also — he’s trying to represent
the players in an especially unique way — we believe he has a fresh
approach of how he does things and can come in as someone who hasn’t
been deep in the game and can lead his side. And Commissioner Goodell
and Jeff Pash and their staff are doing a great job for us.”
It sounds to us as if Kraft is using his influence to push the process forward, because he personally realizes the time has come to get a deal done. And we doubt that he’d be taking his case public if he didn’t firmly believe that, in the end, a deal will get done by the end of the year.