Monday afternoon Judge Susan Nelson wrote a carefully crafted ruling that essentially ended the lockout imposed by the NFL owners when the current collective bargaining agreement expired and a new deal couldn't be negotiated. Judge Nelson's ruling was immediately appealed by the NFL to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court could "stay" Judge Nelson's ruling and the lockout would resume but if that doesn't happen the already chaotic situation would get even crazier.
But that crazy period would only last so long as neither side is interested in operating without a CBA as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in his response to the ruling. Goodell went helmet first into the players for their legal tactics in his Wall Street Journal op-ed. The commissioner said the dispute can only be resolved through continued negotiations and a new CBA and that the legal path taken by the players "may endanger one of the most popular and successful sports leagues in history."
Obviously, Goodell is going to spin the court ruling this way. The owners win if the lockout drags out and the players lose cohesion and willingness to skip paychecks. In his hyperbolic op-ed Goodell is appealing to fans with the worst case scenario of no CBA. That's no going to happen.
This ruling, if upheld, will simply drive the owners back to the bargaining table sooner than they want to negotiate a new deal that's more fair to the players. The players after all, are the one's putting their bodies at risk every Sunday to satisfy our craving for football.