Saturday, March 05, 2011
Friday, March 04, 2011
Then, about 8 hours before the current agreement was set to expire, they decided to extend the agreement for 24 hours. Then, with 8 hours left on that clock, they voted to extend for 7 additional days.
The prevailing rumor is that they've made some progress and there is at least a *ray of hope* that they may come to an accord in that time.
I still say don't count on it. But stranger things have happened, and you never know.
Anyway, during this coming week, there is what amounts to a work stoppage. There can be no coaching, no signings, nothing. Its as if the NFL doesn't exist for the next 7 days, or until they reach an agreement, or elect to extend again.
I, for one, will enjoy the break. You won't see any posts from me until something happens (a collective cheer erupts, I know).
I had planned a podcast for today to talk about "things" .... but that will have to wait for a while longer.
(1) Shockey played for the Saints this past season, and he signed a free-agent contract with a new team. I'm not sure how that happened since there is - technically - no free agency period. Every other player that was signed was either a re-sign with the same team or a guy who was not playing with a team last season. Was he released off of IR, and therefore fell into a unique category? Or is his signing subject to further scrutiny once the CBA is finalized? Weird.
and (2) he decided to not sign with the Fins, in spite of interest by them. I think the decision was two-fold: they low-balled him and offer, and he felt he had a better opportunity for success elsewhere - without Schmoe Montana and a new OC.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Nice way to talk to the fan base, some of whom supported him throughout the process.
Dude, you don't belong in the ring of honor. You shouldn't even get an aqua jacket. Go be a Jet for life.
Score this one as a "win" for the players, because the money will be placed in escrow, to be doled out after the CBA is finalized - meaning the owners don't have that money to use during a lockout.
A federal judge in Minneapolis handed NFL players a key ruling Tuesday in their fight to strip the league of $4 billion in television revenue they contend was unfairly and illegally secured as a way for owners to survive a lockout that could begin by the end of the week.
U.S. District Judge David Doty backed the NFL Players Association in its closely watched fight over the so-called "war chest" of broadcast revenue that the union contends is leverage the NFL is wielding against it in the labor fight.
The NFL's current collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight ET Thursday.
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In his 28-page ruling, Doty criticized special master Stephen Burbank for legal errors and erroneously concluding earlier this month that the NFL can act like a self-interested conglomerate when in fact it is bound by legal agreements to make deals that benefit both the league and its players.
Doty instead declared the NFL violated its agreement with the union, which had asked that the TV money be placed in escrow until the end of any lockout. A hearing, yet to be scheduled, will be held to determine potential damages for the players as well as an injunction involving the TV contracts.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello downplayed the significance of the ruling, saying the 32 teams were "prepared for any contingency."
"Today's ruling will have no effect on our efforts to negotiate a new, balanced labor agreement," Aiello said. He told The Associated Press that the NFL hadn't immediately determined whether or not it would appeal.
The case, however, has billions at stake.
The union accused the NFL of failing to secure the maximum revenue possible when it restructured broadcast contracts in 2009 and 2010, and claimed the deals were designed to guarantee owners enough money to survive a lockout. The union argued this violated an agreement between the sides that says the NFL must make good-faith efforts to maximize revenue for players.
"The record shows that the NFL undertook contract renegotiations to advance its own interests and harm the interests of the players," wrote the judge, who has overseen NFL labor issues since he presided over the 1993 decision that cleared the way for the current free-agency system.
Doty cited an NFL "Decision Tree" as a "glaring example" of the league's intent, and quoted from it: "Moving forward with a deal depended on the answer to the questions: 'Does Deal Completion Advance CBA Negotiating Dynamics?' If yes, the NFL should 'Do Deal Now'; if no, the NFL should 'Deal When Opportune.'"
Said George Atallah, the NFLPA's assistant executive director for external affairs: "This ruling means there is irrefutable evidence that owners had a premeditated plan to lockout players and fans for more than two years. The players want to play football. That is the only goal we are focused on."
The NFL has described the $4 billion as a loan that the league eventually would need to repay -- or make up to -- the networks, with interest. Doty said $421 million of the total would have been guaranteed without repayment.
In his ruling, the judge also revealed previously confidential details of league TV contracts and said the NFL "consistently characterized gaining control over labor as a short-term objective and maximizing revenue as a long-term objective ... advancing its negotiating position at the expense of using best efforts to maximize total revenues for the joint benefit of the NFL and the Players."
Doty suggested that the NFL had acquired vast negotiating power and pointed to an unidentified network executive's comment from the case.
"(Y)ou know you've reached the absolute limits of your power as a major network ... (when) the commissioner of the National Football League calls you ... and says ... (w)e're done, pay this or move on .... (the NFL has) market power like no one else, and at a certain point in time, they'll tell you to pack it up or pay the piper," the executive said.
Doty said at least three networks expressed "some degree of resistance to the lockout payments"; that the NFL "characterized network opposition to lockout provisions to be a deal breaker"; and that DirecTV "would have considered paying more in 2009 and 2010 'to have (the work-stoppage provision) go away.'"
The decision revealed that DirecTV, in fact, would pay up to 9 percent more to the NFL if no games are played in 2011. And of the total amount payable if there is a canceled season, 42 percent of DirecTV's fee is nonrefundable.
Under the CBS and Fox contracts set to expire at the end of the 2011 season, the NFL would have been required to repay CBS and Fox that same year if there were a work stoppage. Under the contracts extended to the 2013 season, the NFL will repay the funds, plus money-market interest, over the term of the contract, Doty wrote. And if the season is canceled, the contracts would be extended another season.
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NBC's contract through the 2011 season contained the same work-stoppage provisions as the CBS and Fox contracts, according to Doty.
The judge wrote that during extension negotiations, NBC believed the NFL was "hosing" the network by its demands. To "bridge the gap," the league agreed to award NBC an additional regular-season game for the 2010 through 2013 seasons. The NFL didn't seek additional rights fees for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, and NBC agreed to pay increased rights fees for 2012 and 2013.
Although ESPN's contract wasn't set to expire until 2013, the work-stoppage provision was amended. In the negotiations, ESPN requested that the rights fee not be payable if there is a work stoppage, but the NFL rejected the request. Doty wrote: "The NFL stated that the digital deal and the work-stoppage provisions were 'linked,' ... To secure ESPN's agreement to the work-stoppage provision, the NFL granted the right to a Monday Night Football simulator via the wireless partner."
NFL lawyers that argued the league used sound business judgment to maximize revenue for both sides to share, but Doty wrote in his ruling that the NFL enhanced "long-term interests at the expense of its present obligations."
Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, a member of the NFLPA's executive committee, said the ruling was a "really good reversal."
"I'm not sure what all that means, as of yet," Saturday told The Associated Press as he left Tuesday's mediation session in Washington. "We haven't been debriefed. We just got the news when we were in the meeting, so I'm sure we'll hear more tonight. But it sounds very favorable."
Denver Broncos safety Brian Dawkins, who also attended Tuesday's mediation session, told NFL Network's Albert Breer that the judge's decision was "huge."
"We want to get a deal done, and we're all for anything that helps that process along," Dawkins said.
When Breer asked Tennessee Titans guard Jake Scott how significant Doty's ruling was, he said, "Very, I would imagine."
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
(b) the coaching staff is showing at least a desire to win which I generally like. My thought: they're also showing incompetence because they had to know this was against the rules.
(c) the fins may be playing one of their top secret games. By showing support for henne they may be trying to throw off other teams as to their needs. My thought: I put nothing past the fins. For all I know they're targeting a top qb but don't want to tip their hand.
Here's an article from ESPN that shows the latest in stupidity/absurdity...
"I took some vacation time, maybe a week or two here or there, but once we signed Coach Brian Daboll, I tried to get into there as quick as I could to learn the offense," Henne told Miami Herald reporter David J. Neal. "I've been meeting with him for the last month now. "I feel pretty comfortable with what he's teaching and what the offense is going to be about just in case -- who knows what's going to happen this Thursday? -- that I can pass it on to the guys and help the guys out."
Henne claimed to like Daboll's offense.
The problem is, Henne's not supposed to know Daboll's offense at all right now.
[T]eams aren't allowed to coach up their players at this time either because the CBA limits such interaction. No meetings are allowed. No direction from positional coaches is allowed.