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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
    Phil McConkey
    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
    Jerry Jones
    NFL Draft Expert, has published the acclaimed Drugstore List since 1978.
    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
    Andy Freeland
    Statistician and researcher for NBC's Sunday Night Football.
  • Bold Prediction Time: When Will First NFL Game Be Played This Year?

    Twitter is fun, but when you have to try and make a point with 140 character limits, it is tough. So after I kicked the hornets nest on Twitter with my November 1st prediction for the start of the season, I thought I would leave it open for discussion. Here is my prediction:

    1) Lockout stays in place: (Hope I am wrong).

    2) Negotiations never really get serious until the first regular season game is missed. Entire country slams owners and players for missing 9-11 weekend. Should have been greatest ever.

    3) After much posturing, the CBA negotiations finally get serious on September 12th. Players are missing checks and owners are getting worried about big stadium mortgages without a revenue stream.

    4) After 3 to 4 weeks a deal is finally reached in which the players get a slightly lower percentage in exchange for slightly better benefits. Both sides claim victory. Fans hate everybody.

    5) Free agency begins immediately after the CBA is signed, around October 1st. College and NFL free agents finally have a team. Feeding frenzy for top players. Big money contracts paid.

    6) Training camps open around October 5th. New coaches are scrambling. Veteran teams have a huge advantage but nobody cares.

    7) Training camps last for 2 weeks. Owners want to play 2 pre-season games, fans go crazy, and NFL settles for one.

    8) Regular season opens around November first.

    9) Super Bowl is moved back one week. See you in Indy.

    Anybody more optimistic?

    Comments 28 Comments
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Cris I think you nailed it. If something doesn't happen by August 1st then your scenario is exactly what will happen.

      The NFLPA union leader is now collecting billable hours as "class counsel". I think he's more interested in the potential cut (30% of $1 billion) of an anti-trust lawsuit than he is in the NFL.

      The owners have huge egos and are more interested in "winning" the labor war than they are in the NFL.

      Neither side seems to give a <censored> about the game or the fans. I'm honestly hoping a meteorite strikes the next "mediation" session and frys all of them.
    1. Russell S Baxter's Avatar
      It would be interesting if the league was reduced to an 8 or 9-game season if the playoffs would go like they did in 1982, which was a 16-team Super Bowl tournament. The best 8 records in each conference seeded 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc...But let's hope we get this thing figured out...
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      Nice Cris; I'm sorry to say that games missed will happen but I say it'll be in the Preseason and nowhere else. I think egos are in play now but reps are gonna be damaged with each game slipped by. I say the RegSea starts on time but will delete all PreSeas.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      1) Emergency stay is upheld to a Normal Stay, or the Normal Stay is simply omitted. LOCKOUT holds until 8th decision.

      2) Doty rules to NOT put 2011 TV revenue in Escrow. Damages set at $150M. Ruling in June.

      3) 8th UPHOLDS Judge Nelson's INJUNCTION in July. NFL appeals to full Circuit. Asks for another STAY. Stay Denied.

      4) Football starts normally.

      5) Negotiations never really get serious until trial is set. Trial set for Sept, 2012.

      3) After much posturing, the CBA negotiations finally get serious in March, 2012.

      4) After 3 to 4 weeks a deal is finally reached in which the players get a slightly lower percentage of the gross after a bunch of exceptions come off the top and administration of the relationship stays in the courts. Both sides claim victory. Fans hate everybody. It is a 6 year deal.

      5) Helmet litigation starts against BCS/NCAA/NFL in Utah Federal Court. Darvon becomes a daily sports business/llaw blogger for new Google Sports startup. Fans everywhere revolt.
    1. Skycatch's Avatar
      Contract settled in August. Football begins first Sunday in October.

      Women who hated Sunday afternoons with the NFL playing, suddenly realize what a good thing it was.

      Also, birthrate surges next spring. None of the boys will be named Roger or De Maurice.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      The way this is looking, I think the players somewhat cave around June and the combination of getting major concessions from the players and the actual fear of losing football causes both sides to get something negotiated in July.

      No games are missed, limited free agency, 2 game preseason, 16 game season. But players cede more revenue to the owners. Maybe a true 50-50 situation. Instead of the 59% it is at now, IIRC.
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      I am very close to what you say, Cris. I had roughly the same process in my head with no pre-season at all and came up with October 16.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      In 1982 when we played a 9 game season, the players nevered regained that lost revenue of almost half a season. With the averaqge career at about 4 years, that is a serious hit to a short window of opportunity to potentially earn the biggest $$$$ of your working career. I just don't see players forfeiting regular season game checks. I think they cave earlier than your timeline Cris. It wouldn't surprise me if a ruling forces the NFL to play while settling their labor dispute as has happened in the past. I just hope when it is settled it is for a lengthy amount of time, like 7 years or more.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      @polish

      I would like to point out that MNF comes to Detroit Oct 12 for the first time this millenium, so a start date of Oct 16 makes a lot of karmic sense.
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      @polish

      I would like to point out that MNF comes to Detroit Oct 12 for the first time this millenium, so a start date of Oct 16 makes a lot of karmic sense.
      Wow. And the hits still somehow keep coming a bit for Detroit. You guys are getting mighty scary, though.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      13) Sellouts are lacking league-wide, until the last two rounds of the playoffs, regardless of how it turns out. Owners squawk.
    1. Jerry Jones's Avatar
      Cris,
      If the situation plays out as you have suggested, I think that there might be a significant backlash from the people who (a) pay for all this in one form or another and (b) don't get a seat at the table - Joe Fan and friends.
      They have turned off other sports for periods of time and they can do it again if they feel that way.

      I tend to agree with Dave on a "follow the money" basis. Unless the players have built up large savings, they will miss any part of that $ 1.9 million check they earn on average over a year.
      The owners can take the hit for an indefinite time. The lowest net worth listed for a major partner is $ 150 million, a figure that could provide $ 1.9 million for over 78 years (and that's with no interest).

      Outside the sphere of influence sits Joe Fan, an average family man making $50-60,000 a year. He doesn't want this dispute. He'll miss this game he loves but all is not lost, there is a wealth of good college games to see- and, he'll save money- no more tickets or overpriced concessions, no more pay TV to keep up with the home team, no more hats or replica jerseys.

      No business can survive if it treats it's customers poorly. Joe Fan and his friends are the customers. It is not clear whether the employers (owners) and employees (players) recognize this connection.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Jerry, you raise an interesting possibility - does the NFL Network or the dish company that offers the Sunday Ticket dealie offer a refund to its customers for failure to provide content?
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      The way this is looking, I think the players somewhat cave around June and the combination of getting major concessions from the players and the actual fear of losing football causes both sides to get something negotiated in July.

      No games are missed, limited free agency, 2 game preseason, 16 game season. But players cede more revenue to the owners. Maybe a true 50-50 situation. Instead of the 59% it is at now, IIRC.
      Many people believe as you do. Here is my issue with it. Why would the players agree to major concessions for the right to go to training camp (they all hate) and get $500 per week? The players may hold out on negotiations JUST TO MISS CAMP.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Polishguy00 View Post
      I am very close to what you say, Cris. I had roughly the same process in my head with no pre-season at all and came up with October 16.
      I put this out on Twitter, sort of as a note of common knowledge, and got my head taken off. I really think the positive spin by the league about not missing games has lulled the fans to sleep. Unless the owners cave or the lockout is lifted (allowing football to move forward), I can't find a way that these negotiations get serious until September. The key factor is that when we had strikes in 82 and 87, we had already gone through training camp and 2 games. In this case, the teams aren't even set yet.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Jones View Post
      Cris,
      If the situation plays out as you have suggested, I think that there might be a significant backlash from the people who (a) pay for all this in one form or another and (b) don't get a seat at the table - Joe Fan and friends.
      They have turned off other sports for periods of time and they can do it again if they feel that way.

      I tend to agree with Dave on a "follow the money" basis. Unless the players have built up large savings, they will miss any part of that $ 1.9 million check they earn on average over a year.
      The owners can take the hit for an indefinite time. The lowest net worth listed for a major partner is $ 150 million, a figure that could provide $ 1.9 million for over 78 years (and that's with no interest).

      Outside the sphere of influence sits Joe Fan, an average family man making $50-60,000 a year. He doesn't want this dispute. He'll miss this game he loves but all is not lost, there is a wealth of good college games to see- and, he'll save money- no more tickets or overpriced concessions, no more pay TV to keep up with the home team, no more hats or replica jerseys.

      No business can survive if it treats it's customers poorly. Joe Fan and his friends are the customers. It is not clear whether the employers (owners) and employees (players) recognize this connection.
      But Jerry, net worth and cash on hand are two entirely different animals. We have seen families with large net worth's have to sell teams to pay estate taxes. Most of that net worth is due to owning a billion dollar football team.
    1. Swami's Avatar
      Geez, I hate this topic. This seems like a true labor battle with both sides believing they are on the side of the angels. Those almost never get settled early and without disruption. I would put Cris's suggestion down for the optimists at this stage. Schnapps suggested a silly 16-team playoffs last year - maybe we'll go him one better and just have a 32-team playdown starting in December.

      One comment I found interesting - "Entire country slams owners and players for missing 9-11 weekend. Should have been greatest ever. " I think this is true, and probably means we get SOME resolution this year. Hockey was able to have a full season lost, but somewhat less than the entire country cared. About 300 million less.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      The owners feel they have to get their economic model back in order. The players don't want to give back anything that has previously been collectively bargained. It is DeMaurice Smith's first negotiation. Ditto for Commissioner Roger Goodell. Neither wants their legacy to be on the losing end of such an important collective bargaining agreement right out of the box. All the pieces are definitely in place for a timeframe Cris lays out. I guess I am hoping vs. hope both sides will come to their senses sooner. There has to be an agreement whereby both sides can claim some sort of victory or this could drag on forever.
    1. Jerry Jones's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Cris Collinsworth View Post
      But Jerry, net worth and cash on hand are two entirely different animals. We have seen families with large net worth's have to sell teams to pay estate taxes. Most of that net worth is due to owning a billion dollar football team.
      Agreed, Cris, they are different elements and there have been some interesting financial crises (e.g. Mets) by people who appeared to have millions or more on paper.

      I think that most of the owners know how to earn and conserve money and several of them accumulated their great wealth before becoming NFL owners. There may be some bad money handlers among them but I would bet that the percentage of such types would run much higher among the players than with the owners.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Swami View Post

      One comment I found interesting - [I]"Entire country slams owners and players for missing 9-11 weekend. Should have been greatest ever.
      Man, am I sick of the football/war analogy. Two distinct points that folks insist on connecting to make a line. If football resumes and we have games on 9/11, fine to remember that day, but to make business decisions based on that day is crass. Almost hope there is no football yet to force everyone to sit at home with their own thoughts. Silence is golden.