Is this the day the NFL lockout ends? Or really, truly begins to end?
Although unresolved issues remain, owners are meeting in Atlanta with a vote expected on an agreement, possibly today.
“There are a lot of moving parts, but I think everything is moving in the right direction,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said, via Mark Maske (follow his tweets from Atlanta).
As he entered the meetings, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson likened the proceedings to selling a house, telling reporters that there are always last-minute issues. The meeting is so significant that reclusive Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen is in the building for the vote that, one person told The New York Times, was like a high-stakes game of chicken. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he expects a ”great majority” of owners to support the deal; 24 votes (out of 32) are needed to approve a deal.
As for the players, they will try to work out the rest of their issues and move toward taking a vote. Money — duh — and the players’ lawsuit against the NFL may be among those issues. Mike Freeman of CBS Sports.com reports that lawyers for Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson are asking for compensation in exchange for being parties to the suit. Jackson has denied that he is seeking money.
After 128 days of lockout, players are just as eager as fans to see some football players in football gear. “I'm to the point, man, I'm like, 'Look, just call me when it's ready,’ ” Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe told the Star-Tribune. “I don't care about all this other stuff. I don't care about any hypothetical dates. Just give me the date. That's all I care about so I'm going to be ready to go. I'm pretty sure a lot of other people feel the same way I feel. It's been a long, drawn-out ordeal.”
Looking for a positive sign in the dance of the snails here? Well, the city of Indianapolis is preparing to release hotel rooms that it had — as a precaution in case the lockout caused the Super Bowl to be delayed a week — kept on hold.
Mark Miles, chairman of the Super Bowl host committee, told the Indianapolis Star that he realizes he may be jumping the gun.
“If it blows up in the next couple of days and we’re right back where we started, we’ll go back to the hotels and say ‘It was a false alarm’ and ask them to be patient,” Miles said. “How many hours or days after [a deal] it will take to amend all that, I don’t know, but I think it would be pretty quick. For them [hotels] to sit on two weekends, knowing that only one would be used, was an issue. So the sooner it’s clear they can sell the second weekend, the better.”