There has been significant progress in labor talks lately. This week in Chicago, many of the owners that have not directly been involved with the negotiations will find out just how much progress there has been.
That’s one reason why Tuesday’s meetings mark such a critical time for Roger Goodell, according to an excellent summary of the labor situation by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports.
“Your first reaction to most deals is to poke holes in it. It’s human nature,” one owner told Cole. “You always want the perfect deal, everything to go your way, and you have to think it through to figure out what’s acceptable. In this case, you have to multiply that process by 32 . . . when we sit down and look over this deal, I’m curious how the room is going to react. We’re at a critical stage.”
The big question is whether there will be a large faction of owners that could derail the progress once they start to learn the details.
A few owners couldn’t stop a potential deal, but nine of them coming together could. Cole reports that the players “have come a long way” from the simple 50-50 split in revenue they offered in March, including what sounds like a compromise on the issue of “true up” money. (Check the details here.)
“There’s a lot on the line [next] week,” another owner told Cole. “I don’t envy Roger’s position because he has to make a lot of people happy. I think there’s enough common sense out there that we’ll get something done, but there are also some [owners] who still want to fight.”
Goodell will need help from the moderate owners to help push the hardline owners toward compromise. These types of meetings are where former Commissioner Pete Rozelle built his legacy.
As difficult as the last few months have surely been for Goodell, his most challenging and important work remains in front of him.