Goodell: No 'drop-dead date' for NFL season
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There is no "drop-dead date" drawn up by league officials that would cancel the entire NFL season in the event that the current lockout extends into the regular season, commissioner Roger Goodell told Steelers season ticket holders this afternoon.
In his 17th such conference call held this spring with individual club's season ticket holders, Goodell said the league and the teams are preparing to conduct a full 2011 football season but also are prepared if the lockout lasts into September or beyond.
"First, our objective is to have a full season, we scheduled a full season, we are planning for a full season and that's our intent," Goodell said. "If we're not capable of doing that we will play as many games as possible and want to finish with the Super Bowl."
The question is, how many games must be canceled before it would be determined that resuming the season would be unreasonable? Goodell said while "obviously we want a credible season ... There is no drop-dead date."
A 1982 strike by the players after the first two regular-season games, canceled eight games. The league played a nine-game season and then conducted what it called a "tournament" in each conference rather than playoffs. A 1987 strike canceled one regular-season game and the league played three weeks worth of "replacement" games with substitute players and some veterans who crossed the picket lines.
Goodell repeated points that he has made on similar conference calls and in the media since the beginning of March, that the only way to resolve the two sides' issues is through bargaining and not litigation and the courts, the need for a rookie salary scale and that the owners made a much better offer to the players on March 11 on their final day of mediation in Washington, D.C.
There have been several days over the past month of mediated talks in St. Louis, most recently two days worth that ended on Tuesday. New talks are not scheduled until June 7 in St. Louis but Goodell said he hoped there could be "conversation" between the two sides before that.
He also said that the owners "are seeking a system that puts balance back into the collective bargaining agreement," saying that the pendulum swung too far in the players' favor in a 2006 CBA that the owners approved 30-2.
First Published May 19, 2011 3:36 pm