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Tag:NFL
Posted on: June 6, 2011 8:15 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:40 am
 

NFL files Motion to Dismiss, hearing set for 9/12

Posted by Will Brinson

On Monday, the NFL filed a motion to dismiss the original antitrust complaint from the players in Brady v. NFL. More interestingly, this motion will now be heard on September 12, 2011.

Yes, that does happen to be one day after the first Sunday of the NFL's regular season, thanks for asking.

The motion to dismiss in and of itself was brief -- just two pages -- but the purpose that the motion serves is a greater one because it pushes back the deadline for the NFL to file an answer in response to the players' complaint.

Now that answer won't be due until after the motion is heard, which is after the season begins. This is beneficial for the NFL, the players and the fans because it allows the two sides to continue negotiating without being obstructed by a public legal document, especially one in which the NFL responds -- perhaps in a personal manner -- to serious antitrust allegations.
NFL Labor

And then there's the fact that if both sides have to actually end up going to court for this hearing, it will occur one day after 9/11, when the NFL and the players have decided to skip the first week of the season.

Whether or not memorials for fallen Americans should veer into the realm of public relations is beside the point; missing the first week of the season would be an abject PR disaster.

Hopefully, this would-be extension of time allows the two sides to avoid that nightmarish scenario.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.


Posted on: June 6, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 7:15 pm
 

NFL season ticket sales now down from last year

Posted by Will Brinson

Late in May, we inked a story about the increase in NFL season-ticket sales relative to this time last year.

Well, the league has reversed course, according to Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal. The NFL is now reporting that sales are behind the pace at the same time in 2010.

Yes, it seems like odd timing, considering the league's report that sales were up came just seven days ago. However, Kaplan notes that the timing of the report could make sense; the NFL's data during the previous report was thru May 7. Now the data is current through the end of May.

What makes this a bit bizarre is the fact that it took 24 days to generate the data thru May 7, and yet the current data took less than seven days to generate.

It's also entirely possible that the NFL felt the news about the ticket sales was off-base with their current state of financial affairs (after all, Roger Goodell openly lamented the state of the NFL's business) and wanted a more current assessment.

Kaplan notes as well that the league informed him "suite and club seat renewals [are] at a crawl."

The flummoxing state of affairs from the first report -- after all, there isn't any guaranteed football for next year -- was only really explainable by tickets going on sale earlier than previous years as well as earlier deadlines for getting tickets applications in.

This new report makes much more sense, even if the timing of the various pieces of released information is a bit odd.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 5, 2011 11:11 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 11:12 pm
 

How does a ruling 'neither side will like' occur?

Posted by Will Brinson

Following the now-infamous June 3 hearing in front of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kermit Bye indicated to the NFL and the NFLPA that the court wouldn't be insulted if the two sides reached a settlement before the court reached a ruling.

And Bye also said that if the two sides couldn't find common ground, the court wouldn't exactly be opposed to rendering a ruling that "neither side will like." That seems like a difficult proposition, but it's not entirely out of the question.

In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (who's an actual licensed attorney) put together a pretty good explanation of it on Sunday.

Basically, the Court of Appeals can rule that 1) the lockout is still on and that the lockout can last for a full year, and 2) there is a six-month limit on the non-statutory antitrust exemption.
NFL Labor

And what that means is while the lockout could last throughout the entire 2011 season, the antitrust exemption would end on September 11. And what that means is that if the lockout did last for the entire year, the owners would potentially be liable -- in the Brady v. NFL antitrust suit -- for triple the entire 2011 NFL payroll.

Obviously, that's a LOT of cheddar; such liability creates a highly unfavorable scenario for the owners even as the idea of missing a year's worth of paychecks would create some substantial panic amongst all the NFL's players.

Which is precisely why, as our own Mike Freeman reported recently, that it actually makes a ton of sense for the two sides to get together and hammer out a deal before the 8th Circuit has to issue a ruling.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:40 pm
 

DirecTV: No Sunday Ticket cost til after lockout

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE: Turns out that the customer service person we spoke with was wrong -- DirecTV will NOT be charging you until the lockout is resolved.

"In years past, we typically do start billing in July, but this year, due to the uncertainty around the NFL labor dispute, there will be absolutely no charge for your NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscription until it is confirmed that the 2011 NFL season will begin," Charles Miller, Director of Digital Care at DirecTV, told CBSSports.com. "What you and other customers will see on your July bill is a balance of $0.00 for the NFL SUNDAY TICKET portion and this will remain at $0 until the NFL dispute is resolved."

So, NFL fans have that going for them -- don't bother cancelling your subscription just yet.

DirecTV's "Sunday Ticket" package has become a staple for the hardcore NFL fan over the past few years. Whether it's the Red Zone channel or just an excuse to buy six more televisions, there's always a great reason to shell out $53.99 in six monthly installments to watch piles of football.

This year? Yeah, not as much, since the we're less than 100 days away from the NFL's season beginning and the lockout is still firmly in place.

Here's DirecTV's latest statement on the issue, posted on their website:
We at DIRECTV love football. That's why for over 15 years, DIRECTV has been the exclusive home for NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, the only way to watch your favorite teams no matter where you live. And DIRECTV will continue to be the exclusive home for NFL SUNDAY TICKET™. Like all football fans, we are hoping for a positive resolution to the current NFL labor negotiations. And when the NFL is ready to play, we will be ready to bring you every game every Sunday.

If the NFL negotiations result in a shortened or canceled season, rest assured that DIRECTV has you covered. Your subscription to NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ is risk-free: You will not pay for any game that the NFL does not play.*

Please return to this page for the latest updates and news concerning your NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ subscription.
Now, this SOUNDS pretty "risk-free," right? There's just one problem: DirecTV starts billing for Sunday Ticket in July. And, come July, the NFL will still have a concrete start date: September 8, 2011. The schedule won't change until the labor situation actually impedes on the season. And, sure enough, a quick call to DirecTV customer service confirmed this.

"We are going to start to charge for the NFL Sunday Ticket by … probably July 3 but there is no specific date," a DirecTV customer service representative told CBSSports.com. "But it will be in July."

See, that means if you had Sunday Ticket last year, per DirecTV's policy, you will have Sunday Ticket in 2011, unless you cancel. Making this infinitely more difficult is the fact that you can't cancel online. And because you're renewed, you will be charged beginning in about a month.

This is made even more confusing because on your June bill, you'll see a zero dollar charge for your Sunday Ticket automatic renewal.

That might seem to indicate you'll get it for free until the NFL season starts, but it doesn't.  Because the reality is you'll be charged for Sunday Ticket from now until the season is actually cancelled and/or moved.

It's nice of DirecTV to love the NFL and to [claim to] care about fans, but it would be a whole lot nicer if they waited until the labor dispute is actually resolved before charging the people who foot the bill for this entire football operation.

And, yeah, suddenly it's a lot harder to feel sorry for DirecTV getting strong-armed by the NFL in television negotiations.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Court: NFL decision to come in 'due course'

Posted by Will Brinson

On Thursday the NFL and the NFLPA argued in front of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals over the legality of a lockout in football. And by noon CST, court had adjourned and the 8th Circuit had let the NFL know that a ruling would come in "due course," but that both sides were free to settle their dispute.
NFL Labor

"We wouldn't be all that hurt if you go out and settle that case," Judge Kermit Bye said, with a smile, to each side's respective attorneys.

Bye was the dissenting judge in the when the 8th Circuit twice ruled 2-1 in favor of keeping the lockout in place, first temporarily and then in a more permanent fashion.

The questions from the panel of judges, as we noted earlier, seemed to focus on the issue of whether or not the NFLPA had "actually" decertified. The NFL contends that the union's decision to decertify is simply predicated on the goal of gaining legal leverage.

Bye also added that the ruling could be one "that neither side will like."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Lockout hearing focuses on state of the union

Posted by Will Brinson

A couple weeks ago, we mentioned that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision following the lockout hearing would directly relate to whether or not the judges on the court's panel believed the union "actually" decertified or not.

That suspicion was confirmed within the first few minutes of the oral arguments from each side, as the NFL and the players were grilled on whether or not the NFLPA's decertification was a ploy to generate legal leverage.

Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the judges asked the players attorneys -- specifically Ted Olson -- about "tactical disclaimers" in decertification. The clear-cut indication is that the court, known as pro-business, is concerned about exactly what we believed they were concerned with: unions disbanding simply in order to generate leverage.

In fact Judge Benton apparently got "aggressive from the bench" and proceeded to read part of the LaGuardia-Norris Act to Olson and the players' attorneys.

"Doesn't that make the district court completely wrong?" Benton asked, per Breer.
NFL Labor

According to Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, the two judges who sided with the owners previously asked "many questions" to the players' side. Judge Bye, who was the dissenting judge in the stay rulings each time, didn't say a word early on.

Of course, the players' argument doesn't really center around their decertification -- they believe what they did is legal and very much real. In fact, their focus was on the antitrust issues facing the players now that they have decertified.

"[The] League deperately wants these players to continue to be in union so it can continue to violate antitrust laws," Olson said, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

And that's the crux of the players' argument. The only problem is, it might not matter at all if the Court of Appeals doesn't believe the union decertified.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:04 am
Edited on: May 31, 2011 11:23 am
 

NFL somehow ahead of 2010's ticket sales pace?

Posted by Will Brinson

There's one thing we're sure of: NFL fans are less happy right now than they were a year ago.

Or maybe the fans are unhappy -- but they aren't going away. Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reports that the "NFL [is] ahead of last year's pace for season ticket sales despite the lockout."

Kaplan also reports that the league is considering "changes to blackout policy."

Let's address the ticket sales issue first. Because, frankly, that seems absolutely impossible, given that there is no promise of football in 2011.

Of course, it's always easier to sell tickets when you a) start selling them sooner and b) provide an earlier cutoff for season-ticket holders to renew; I believe the NFL used both practices this offseason.

This news is surprising given that Roger Goodell recently took to the podium and pointed out that business across the NFL is down, and that the league is absolutely seeing the impact of the lockout on season-ticket sales.

This is the likely logic for the phrase "on pace." It's good news for some clubs if their sales are exceeding the sales from this point last year. And even if it's good news for the league as a whole,  some teams must be suffering a negative impact.

What will really matter is where these numbers are in August, when the season is about to -- or, should I say supposed to -- start.

Because if there's no football, there's no amount of sold tickets that will justify the problem facing the NFL.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:33 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:37 pm
 

2011 NFL Lockout Timeline

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

Because you need reminding, there's a lockout going on. Just kidding -- we did think it'd be helpful to break down the full lockout timeline.

July 25, 2011: And then ... there was football. The NFLPA voted unanimously to approve the deal. Now the issues of recertification, settlement approval and some collectively bargained issues will take place. But football's back.

July 22, 2011: NFLPA releases a statement that "leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification."

July 21, 2011: NFL owners vote to approve the proposed CBA, outlining key terms and including a tentative schedule for the 2011 season. Players decline to vote to ratify the proposal, prolonging the lockout, which is now 128 days old.

July 8, 2011: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a surprise ruling -- in terms of timing, not the decision -- that the lockout is legal. It was a surprise because the owners and players were in the midst of such positive negotiations and both sides seemed to make progress up until the ruling came out.

June 3, 2011: The NFLPA and NFL argued against and for, respectively, the lockout in front of the Court of Appeals, and the three-judge panel said a decision would come in "due course." Judge Kermit Bye, though, said he wouldn't be hurt if the two sides negotiated a new deal, especially since the court's ultimate decision could be one neither side likes. Also, in a somewhat strange twist, NFL lawyer Paul Clement charged the players with acting like a union while negotiating with the owners. Strange, because the NFL is actually the one who encouraged the union to negotiate with the owners.

June 2, 2011: Judge Boylan cancels the previously scheduled June 7-8 mediation session in Minneapolis because "the Court has been engaged in confidential settlement discussions." Also, reports confirm that a series of meetings took place that week, between NFLPA representatives, Goodell, and a small group of owners.

May 24, 2011: A league source tells CBSSports.com that the NFL will cancel the Rookie Symposium. Not that this news should surprise anybody.

May 17, 2011: The two sides returned to mediation, but by 2:15 p.m., the talks Whad ended. Mediation will not resume until June 7.

May 16, 2011: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issues a permanent stay on the injunction ruling by Nelson. The lockout is back on, and the majority opinion questions the validity of Nelson’s ruling. Suddenly, the owners have big-time leverage.

May 16, 2011: Per court orders, mediation resumes. Neither side publicly expresses any interest in getting a deal done.

April 29, 2011: The lockout is reinstated during the middle of Day 2 of the draft after two of the three judges in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals grant the owners’ request for a temporary stay.

April 27, 2011: Owners request that Nelson issue a stay on her ruling while they begin working on their appeal to the conservative Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. That request, surprisingly, is denied. The lockout is lifted.

April 25, 2011: Nelson rules in favor of players in Brady v NFL, temporarily lifting the lockout.

April 20, 2011: Citing scheduling issues on Boylan’s end, bargaining is put on hold until May 16.

April 14, 2011: Bargaining begins in front of Boylan after two days of preliminary meetings.

April 11, 2011: Nelson mandates court-ordered negotiations between players and owners to begin in front of Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.

April 6, 2011: Judge Susan Nelson begins hearing arguments in Brady v NFL.

March 12, 2011: The lockout officially begins. The players file a lawsuit with Eighth Circuit Court in Minnesota (Brady v NFL) seeking an injunction for the lockout to be lifted.

March 11, 2011: After rejecting the owners’ final proposal, the NFLPA decertifies.

March 4, 2011: CBA deadline is extended by one week, an unprecedented move in NFL history.

March 3, 2011: With owners and players having bargained in front of Cohen for 16 days, CBA is set to expire, but the deadline is pushed back 24 hours.

March 1, 2011: U.S. District Judge David Doty rules that owners won’t have access to $4 billion in television revenue in the event of a lockout. This compromises a significant amount of the owners’ leverage.

February 17, 2011: With talks moving slowly, both sides agree to bring in federal mediator George Cohen.

February 15, 2011: Goodell writes an op-ed that appears in newspapers nationwide saying an agreement is needed.

January 31, 2011: Smith and Goodell agree to a series of meetings over the course of "a few weeks."

December 4, 2010: After months of public posturing from Goodell and owners and Smith and key players from the union, Smith writes a letter to the NFLPA saying the “deadline has now passed.” It’s an informal deadline but aggressive public posturing by Smith.

March 5, 2010: The 2010 League Year begins with no salary cap.

February 2010: At Super Bowl XLIV, Smith is asked about the chances of the NFL being shut down before the 2011 season. He says, on a scale of 1-10, it’s a “14”.

February, 2010: With the CBA stipulating that the salary cap be abolished in the final year of the deal (an idea initially meant to motivate both sides to extend the deal sooner than later), the NFLPA proposes to extend the salary cap system for another year. The owners reject.

March 16, 2009: DeMaurice Smith is elected as new executive director of NFLPA. Smith’s campaign platform centered on him being an outsider who, unlike Upshaw, did not have warm relationships with the league and owners.

August 21, 2008: NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw dies unexpectedly of pancreatic cancer.

May 20, 2008: In a unanimous vote, owners exercise their opt-out clause. CBA is now set to expire March 3, 2011.

September 1, 2006: Roger Goodell replaces Paul Tagliabue as NFL commissioner.

March 8, 2006: With CBA expiring, commissioner Paul Tagliabue passionately implores the owners to extend the agreement through the 2012 season. Every owner except Mike Brown of Cincinnati and Ralph Wilson of Buffalo votes to do so. But a stipulation in the CBA extension is that owners can opt out in ’08 and cut the CBA’s length by two years.

2003: CBA extended until 2006.

March 23, 1998: Owners vote to extend CBA until 2003.

June 29, 1993: Players and owners approve Collective Bargaining Agreement for first time since 1987 strike. CBA is set to last until 2000. This brings about the creation of free agency and the salary cap.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com