As part of a promotion with SeatGeek – one of Fansided’s loyal business partners – a select group of NFL bloggers (including myself) has been asked to submit an answer to one of the most pressing questions ever to face the National Football League: when will the lockout end? The winner of the contest – the blogger whose prediction is closest to the actual end date – will receive $200 worth of game tickets courtesy of SeatGeek, along with the prestige of knowing he’s just smarter than everyone else..
Of course, we professional sports writers have no more access or insider knowledge than the majority of the public at this point, and even the most experienced among us is going to be shooting in the dark here. The talks have been confidential, the “sources” have been anonymous, and the general opinion of negotiations has waffled pretty consistently between gleaming optimism and catatonic despair since late March. This is a guess, pure and simple. I do not want to be held accountable for my hypothesis.
That said, here goes.
Tuesday, August 2nd. Between noon and 1pm. The way things stand now, it looks like we still have to endure at least another week or two of haggling between players and owners, before even a generic framework could be agreed upon. As close as we are to the point of no return, I think owners are still looking at the long term right now. They’re willing – and financially able – to sacrifice one year’s revenue in order to secure two or three more percentage points on a CBA that might last for the next decade. Most players – of course – are unable to make such a sacrifice, and the owners know it. The longer this goes, the better it is for the owners.
By the end of July, however, you’re going to see an unprecedented sense of urgency as all the hypotheticals fly out the window and the reality of flushing $9 billion down the toilet will start to set in. Both sides will give up a little bit more on different ends of the deal, a middle ground will be reached, and the whole thing will be sent off for a quick ratification by the legal teams. A preseason game or two might have to be cancelled, and each teams’ offseason training programs will be put to a serious test when rookies, vets, and everyone in between will hit the ground running together in training camp. But we will have football, and we will be happy.
At least that’s how I see it.
For more info on the contest, check out the SeatGeek NFL Ticket Giveaway page.