The above quote can be attributed (from CBS Sports) to John Mara, the New York Giants president and co-owner. It was spoken to a Indianapolis broadcast crew while the NFL Owners were in Indianapolis for their annual spring meetings. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell adds:
"It's our intention to be here, to play a full season and to conclude the 2011 season here in Indianapolis,"
Really? Free agency is still on hold, the undrafted free agents are still waiting for jobs, some mini camps never took place, teams are cutting payroll, and now the recent cancellation of the rookie symposium has even the most optimistic football fan wavering.
Colts owner Jim Irsay floated July 4th as a cut off date before games have to be canceled. Roger Goodell isn't focusing on a particular date:
"We don't have a date, but, obviously, that time is coming," said Goodell. "We're getting close enough now where those will have to become considerations. We would prefer to get a negotiated agreement so we don't have to make those decisions. This is going to be resolved through negotiations, and the ownership knows that, and the ownership believes that."
In my opinion, with all the owners meeting the chances of them getting a little antsy goes up. According to NFL.com, a lot of what's being discussed in the owners meeting is the lockout. From Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson:
"I can speak for the owners -- we had a very productive day yesterday," Richardson said Wednesday. "Pretty much, the day was spent discussing labor -- there were some playing rule discussions, too -- but I think we know what our options are. And we're in a waiting mode. I think we all need to see what's going to happen in July (when a ruling is expected). And then we'll go from there."
The NFL Coaches Association is starting to feel the effects of the lockout and have sided with the players, and have done so legally by filing an Amicus Brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. From NFL.com:
"To me, this is a real simple deal: Coaches are opposed to the lockout because it's negatively affecting coaches," said Larry Kennan, director of the NFL Coaches Association. "If it were a strike, we would be against the strike, like we were in '87. This just happens to be the owners, and we're opposed to them, because they're locking out. But if it was a strike, we'd be against the players."
The coaches aren't the only entity that has filed an Amicus Brief with the Court of Appeals, a few weeks back the Sports Fans Coalition filed a brief on behalf of all football fans asking the court to uphold the trial order to end the lockout. More can be found about that by clicking here.
Some coaches are basically coaching the 2011 season for their jobs. Even though no individual coach was named in the NFLCA's suit, several were referenced by name as being directly effected by the lockout. From CBS Sports:
"The lockout, if left in force, will prevent the coaches from meaningfully preparing and readying themselves for the season," the brief reads. "While all the coaches will be exposed to greater risk of failure, the eight teams with new coaching staffs are at particular risk."
In a citation for that portion of the brief, the NFLCA also points out that "there are also three additional coaches who have only spent one season with their teams (Mike Shanahan, Chan Gailey, and Pete Carroll)" who will be significantly affected by the lockout.
Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak are specifically mentioned as coaches who "reportedly received an ultimatum from their team's owner that their teams must make the playoffs to keep their jobs."
In short, the NFLCA believes that close to half of the coaches in the NFL are being put at a systematic disadvantage by the the court's decision to continue the lockout.
The next big date for the lockout is June 3rd, when the players and the NFL will argue in front of the Court of Appeals. June 3rd is also the day the Bears are set to start their mandatory veteran mini camp. Something needs to get done.