When the most successful sports league shuts down, everyone pays attention. The NFL employs directly or indirectly hundreds of thousands from coast to coast and is the most watched telecast not only from week to week but every year with the Super Bowl broadcast that’s watched by tens of millions around the globe. It’s truly an international brand with national dominance in a way that the MLB, NBA and certainly the NHL must be jealous of. And it’s all been on hold.
So any news that the parties are talking is good news. And when you dig further, the signs are even more overwhelming that a labor deal could be finalized by later today or certainly this week. Negotiations like this when there is literally billions at stake are always fragile, yet there is evidence that the light is breaking on the upcoming season’s horizon, so NFL fans might have much to celebrate soon enough.
Consider the upcoming Hall of Fame match-up between the Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Rams that opens the preseason on August 7. The official word is that the game is still on time and both owners and players have gone on record as saying they not only want to play but they’re planning on having the game played as normal.
The Dallas Cowboys recently set their plans to begin practice near the end of July at the Alamodome and scheduled days to move their equipment accordingly. The Washington Redskins have done the same with the Washington Post reporting, “Despite continued uncertainty about when the NFL lockout will end, the Redskins are planning to start training camp July 28th.”
There is no way for the NFL to leave every slate blank until a deal is reached and then begin to piece together massive events that each hold tens of thousands of people. To pull off an NFL sized event, you need as much lead time as possible — which will inevitably tip off the public to what is going on. Some may say that games can be postponed and camps can be packed back up as much as they are planned for, but at this point everyone is ready for more football — not just the fans but the players and owners as well. You can bet a deal will be done within days.