NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21: Indianapolis Colts NFL team owner Jim Irsay address the media at the Roosevelt Hotelon March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it's annual owners meeting in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, stated over the weekend that the July 4 holiday weekend would be the final time for a labor deal to be agreed upon in order to save the NFL season as we know it. In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, it's the early July timeline that would allow for free agency to take place and coaches and staff to get things in order quickly enough to carry out the preseason and regular season as currently scheduled. After that, the losses will begin to pile up.
"There's a window where we can get something done,'' Irsay said, "but we really need to get something done by the Fourth of July or thereabouts so we can get in and have training camp and preseason and get ready that way."
"There has to be some real urgency to get this thing resolved and really have a full season with a training camp and preseason games. It would be very unfortunate if we get a deal done Oct. 1 that we could have gotten done on July 10. The losses are great if we start missing preseason games and early (regular-season) games."
That's a tall order for two parties still far apart on many issues. Essentially the owners and players have four or five weeks to come together and work out the details for a new collective bargaining agreement, yet there's no sense of urgency on either side to meet that timeline. NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth recently predicted that the season wouldn't start until after November 1 given the current state of negotiation.
Here's hoping for the best and that all parties can come together for the sake of not only the fans of the game but the people whose jobs are affected by the industry. It's hard to feel sorry for either side in this when there are thousands of people affected by this ongoing struggle.