Unfortunately, there are no current updates as the NFL and the players are set to meet in the courtroom on June 3 for the expedited appeal of the NFLPA-financed antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. Goodell emphatically stressed throughout the conference call that he shares in the fans' frustration regarding the status of the labor situation. Goodell is fully aware that the fans don't want to choose sides in this, they simply want football.
Some of Goodell's comments should bring a sense of optimism that an agreement will be reached in time for the entire 2011 season to be played. Goodell, in fact, said he "expects" a full 2011 season to be played, meaning all preseason and regular season games. In fact, Goodell said that playing a full season is the NFL's intention. At this time, there is no drop-dead date from the league to have an agreement in place in order to play a full season.
The Eagles are scheduled to open the 2011 regular season on September 11 in St. Louis against the Rams. It will be the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93, which perished in a field near Shanksville, Pa. It is no coincidence that on September 11, the New York Jets will host the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants will play at Washington and the Steelers travel to Baltimore. Goodell knows what a loss it would be if games were not played on that day.
"I understand how important our game is to (the military) and that's something I think about every day," Goodell said.
For a resolution to come to fruition, Goodell and Banner stated that the two sides must negotiate and stop wasting time with litigation.
"Whatever the courts end up ruling is just going to end up leaving us back at the negotiating table. Somebody may perceive they've gained some advantage, but that's really the only way to resolve this," Banner said. "We're really wasting a lot of time by not being there now and not trying to bring these issues to a successful conclusion."
Goodell reiterated that the proposal presented to the players before they decertified and walked away from the table was "very fair and reasonable." According to Goodell, the proposal would have generated a 14-percent increase in compensation over the next three years, a 60-percent increase in pension funds for retired players and improved player safety with reduced offseason workouts and fewer practices involving contact.
Once a new labor agreement is in place and the league year can finally begin, the biggest on-the-field story involving football can finally run its course. Will the Eagles trade backup quarterback Kevin Kolb? Do the Eagles have a trade already in place and, if so, will it be validated by the league? Goodell was asked about player trades in general during the conference call and said that as long as no rules are broken, any trade would be valid.
"If two teams conclude once we get through this to a trade or some type of player transaction, as long as it met the standards, then that would be approved," Goodell said, pointing out that trade talks could very well have taken place prior to the start of the labor situation.