Much was made of the so called $4 billion "warchest" that the owners had negotiated with the TV networks to ensure that they'd still get paid in the event of a lockout. It gave the owners tremendous leverage over the players, who obviously wouldn't be getting paid if no games were played.
But the players won a major victory when Judge David Doty ruled that the league hadn't negotiated in good faith and potentially left money on the table in order to secure the deal. Now, the players are back in court asking for damages... and they've got Doty again.
Doty, who has often sided with the players, will not be presiding over the hearing which will determine whether whether the players can win an injunction to end the lockout. However, he will get to decide what if any damages the players receive as a result of the NFL's TV deal.
It's just another part of the big game being played here where each side is trying to get an upper hand to strengthen their bargaining position. Certainly a big money judgment for the players in this case would help their cause. If they also won the injunction to end the lockout... the players will really be in the drivers seat. If you don't know about the original case, check after the jump for a quick explanation.
Basically, when the NFL negotiated its last TV rights deal, it included a provision that the networks would make the yearly payments whether football was played or not. This mean that if a season or games were lost, the owners would still get TV revenue, estimated to be $4 billion.
The players argued that the NFL took less money than they could have gotten from the networks to get this provision. Part of the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players is that the owners must act in good faith to get all the revenue they can since the players share in a percentage of this revenue. Judge Doty ruled that they did not.
The players asked for 57.5 percent of the so-called forsaken revenues that Doty ruled was left on the table in 2009 and 2010 to put the league in better position for 2011. They cited DirecTV's 42 percent nonrefundable fee for 2011, digital and advertising rights given to Fox and CBS without payment in 2009 or 2010, and an extra game given to NBC in 2010 at no charge. (Last month, a special master ordered the league to pay $6.9 million for that game. The attorneys argued Thursday it's worth more.)