As you all know, the latest round of negotiations between NFL owners and the NFL Players Association is about one thing -- money. It's always about money.
When it comes to money and big globs of it -- lookin' at you, TV networks -- the latest news could be a game-changer for the NFLPA.
The NFL had previously negotiated contracts with the TV networks that would pay the league even in the event of a lockout or work stoppage. It was dubbed "lockout insurance" because it meant the league would have a stream of TV money coming in -- and no player costs -- in a lockout or work stoppage.
Sure, they'd have to pay it back but these negotiations are about leverage and part of that is who can survive a lockout the longest. The NFL's deal with the networks greatly helped their cause.
So, the news: Judge David Doty has ruled that the NFL's agreement with the TV networks violates the CBA. There will be a hearing to determine whether there will be financial damages and to determine whether the league will have access to the money in the event of a lockout. As of today, the league doesn't have access to the money and we're not sure when the hearing will be.
On the ruling, the NFL said in a statement: "As we have frequently said, our clubs are prepared for any contingency, this decision included. Today's ruling will have no effect on our efforts to negotiate a new, balanced labor agreement."
This has the possibility of being a bit of a game-changer in the negotiations. I doubt this has any affect on whether a deal gets done by the end of March 3rd when the current CBA expires. But maybe this is the kick the two sides needed to get moving.