Will NFL and players get a deal done by March 3?

February 11, 2011

Not a chance

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

No, they won't get a deal done by the March 3 deadline. Both sides are too entrenched, and the fact that they're canceling bargaining sessions is not a good sign.

The deadline will pass, the owners will lock out the players, and there's a very good chance there won't be a meeting of the minds until a regular-season game or two are missed.

That's when the pressure to work out a deal will be the highest, because players will be missing paychecks. The owners, meanwhile, have something of a bomb shelter because they will receive $5 billion in TV money whether there's a season or not (money they have to repay with interest.)

But, as is the case with real bomb shelters, you can't stay down there forever. At some point you have to come up and face the fallout.

sfarmer@tribune.com

Not until under fire

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

Deals of this magnitude never got done unless both sides have guns to their heads. It is the nature of these types of negotiations. So I would not anticipate the NFL and the NFLPA shaking hands anytime soon. An eleventh hour deal just before the deadline is possible but not likely.

There is much that separates the two sides now, and until everyone starts losing money, it's unlikely the necessary desperation will become a part of the negotiations. Many people anticipate the players will buckle, and they may. But if they do, they probably won't do it anytime soon.

The most likely scenario is both sides will remain strong and stubborn until July or August. That's when killing the golden goose becomes a strong possibility, and both sides are too smart to do that.

dpompei@tribune.com

Not before camp

Omar Kelly

Sun Sentinel

This impending NFL lockout is a battle of billionaires versus millionaires. With $9 billion annually at stake, and so much ground to make up on so many issues there's no chance that the NFL and the NFLPA get a deal done before March 3. That's merely the end of the first quarter of an expensive game to be played all spring and summer.

Training camp's start will likely be the time these two sides get serious and finally start negotiating to find common ground on important issues such as revenue sharing, an 18-game schedule, a rookie wage scale and improved health benefits for active and retired players.

That's when both sides will start to feel the financial pressure of missed paychecks and unhappy season-ticket holders and sponsors.

The winner will likely be the side that doesn't blink first. It's obvious the loser will be the NFL's fan base.

okelly@tribune.com

Rich men will hold out

Kevin Van Valkenburg

Baltimore Sun

Here is why there is no chance NFL owners and the NFL Players Association work out a new labor agreement by March 3: It takes only nine owners to shoot down whatever proposal both sides come up with.

This isn't just a labor dispute in the eyes of some owners. It's a battle for the future of the sport. Rich men do not like parting with their money, especially the richest and most eccentric of the bunch, and they can (and most likely will) block whatever proposal the two sides put together in the next three weeks until they get exactly the deal they want. They have the obscene wealth to wait it out.

The players aren't billionaires. Their earning power dwindles with each passing year, which is why they like the current agreement. They're not going to give up a huge chunk of money and play more games just so rich men can get richer.

kvanvalkenburg2@tribune.com

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