The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the team owners continue their mediation with the NFL players union in Washington, D.C. starting yesterday and will end on Thursday, March 3rd. So far, President Barack Obama hasn’t made a public relations spectacle on behalf of the American public yet, but that might not be out of the question within the next few days — or for that matter, within a couple of months. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the independent U.S. government mediator, hasn’t done much to build common ground between the two groups it seems despite its varied attempts so far.
New York Giants John Mara has joined the group representing the NFL group with Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay and Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen. Although Jeff Pash, the league’s head labor negotiator, commented that there is a sense of urgency in these negotiations, the negotiations appear to be stalled.
The topics of the collective bargaining agreement include rookie wage scale, the increase of two games from the current regular schedule to 18 total games, the benefits for retired NFL players and most importantly, the division of the annual $9 billion profits accumulated in the NFL as a whole. It’s all about the money, reminiscing of Jerry Maguire, the sports romance movie of 1996, but this won’t have a happy ending with one day left.
However, there are some remaining options out there. The owners may consider extending the deadline to the middle of March or perhaps a bit longer, which may bide some time at least. The second option is that the owners make a substantial counteroffer, but that is highly unlikely given the amount of money in play. And the last option is having the lockout, as some teams expect.
The clock is ticking now with two days left for this collective bargaining agreement to come to a conclusion. On the bright side, the NFL draft will still happen to some extent, and the NFL Combine can give some entertainment. But without a quicker conclusion, all the speculation concerning the potential draftees will remain speculation.
The countdown has begun…