MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 17: NFL lawyer Jeff Pash (L), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Art Rooney II (R), president of the Pittsburgh Steelers arrive for court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
I have to admit that the reported "progress" and supposed optimism surrounding the NFL labor talks has annoyed me a bit. Every day some reporter claims to have a new bit of info about how a deal is imminent and yet, here we are still knee deep in this thing. How many weeks has it been now that an agreement was "just a week away?"
And whatever happened to July 15th? Remember when all the stories came out that said both sides targeted July 15th as the last possible day a deal could get done to allow training camps and preseason to go on as normal? That was supposed to be the day that this lockout could not pass if we wanted a normal NFL season. No one is saying that anymore. Apparently July 15th was just BS.
And now, Chris Mortenson has another shovel full for us to swallow that blogs and other media are jumping on like sheep. July 21st! July 21st is the the new July 15th, July 21st is the new black!
There is a growing belief inside league circles that the NFL and NFL Players Association will have an agreement in place that can be ratified during the July 21 league meetings in Atlanta, according to sources familiar with the state of negotiations.
This is actually the same assumption that was made back in late June. Remember when the owners scheduled meetings in Chicago and the reports were that they might be there to vote on draft of a new CBA? Yeah, that was BS too.
He further goes on to say that if a deal gets ratified on the 21st, that free agency could potentially begin on the 28th. Keep in mind that the first preseason game is scheduled for August 7th at the Hall of Fame. If this report is to be believed (and really why would it be?) that game is as good as canceled.
So just keep this in mind today when ESPN and every blog on earth acts all excited that the lockout has an "end date." It doesn't. Just like it has all summer, the "end date" just got pushed back a few more days. It's arbitrary. This is not to say that it might not end up being an accurate date, but the point is that absolutely nothing about the reporting of the lockout so far has given us any reason to believe this is anything more than just another arbitrary date that will probably get moved back too.