UPDATED 8:32PM ET - This is really big news, but it's definitely no surprise, which you know if you've been rolling with us. All along, it's been pretty clear that the law was on the players' side. A union can decertify if it wants to, and you can't lock out a non-organized labor force. Individuals are free to file suit, where a union can't, and that's the vehicle through which a new CBA is going to be eventually reached.
I am a little bit surprised that Judge Susan Nelson declined to grant a stay, pending appeal. That indicates that she considers the probability of her decision being overturned to be low, but often, if a stay is requested for a timely appeal, it is granted.
The 8th Circuit could stay the decision, and to me, as a chaos-averse fan, it would be preferable. In a stay, the lockout would effectively continue for a while, until the Appeals court can rule. If they agree with Judge Nelson, which is likely, it's game over for the lockout. It's virtually certain that the Supreme Court isn't going to hear this case.
The reason that a stay is probably preferable for a fan is because if there's no stay, the owners will be ordered to impose rules and get back to business. Say they're required to begin a new league year by May 1st. A bunch of free agents get signed, and then the 8th Circuit overturns Nelson's ruling. What then? Are there take-backs on those signings? It'd get pretty chaotic.
Ever have an argument with the missus and accidently slip and shatter a glass vase?
Happens all the time, right?
Brandon Marshall is particularly susceptible to slipping, despite being freakishly athletic. He just can't stop falling into glass. First it was a slippery McDonald's bag. Late last night, after a
profound discussion about John Rawls' Theory of Justice heated argument with his wife, he got all klutzy again. Unfortunately for the receiver known as The Beast, authorities had other ideas. From the Palm Beach Post:
Marshall was hospitalized last night and sent to the intensive care unit after being stabbed. According to a Broward County Sheriff’s arrest report, Nogami-Marshall said she stabbed Marshall in the abdomen with a kitchen knife out of self defense....Marshall initially tried to shield his wife from responsibility. When officers arrived at his Southwest Ranches home around 7:40 p.m., Marshall said in a sworn statement that the injury occurred when he slipped and fell on a broken glass vase. But officers did not find any blood in the immediate area to substantiate his claim.
Adam Schefter reported that Marshall's wife happened to miss his vital organs, so the wideout is expected to make a full recovery.
We can all be thankful for that, and, of course, for Marshall's attempt to "shield" his wife.
When your weekly column coincides with the opening day of the Major League Baseball season, you might as well be writing the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner for all it's worth:
Baseball, baseball, everywhere, and Roger Goodell did shrink.
Baseball, baseball, everywhere, nor a CBA to drink.
If you skipped your last two years of eligibility in order to declare for the NFL Draft (or you wear a silver and black thong), you may not get these two lines. I don't blame you; you've bigger fish to fry. In the case of the thong, I'm talking dirty laundry, holmes.
We'll leave the laundry for another day. It's a day to focus on baseball.
So let me get right to the point: baseball is for total weenies.
When the NFLPA decertified at 5 PM, they made it highly unlikely that there is any meaningful lockout this season. This is being widely misunderstood and misreported by the mainstream football media, but it allows the players to sue to in order to block an owner-imposed lockout. They’ll also file a bunch of specific suits alleging violations of antitrust laws, in the absence of a CBA.
The players are going to eventually win those lawsuits, in the face of clear and established antitrust law, and they’re going to eventually wind up with a better situation than they could have with continued negotiations. The NFL was intransigent, and was determined to lock out the players and pressure them into major concessions. David Doty's recent ruling that the NFL acted in bad faith in negotiating the payment of television fees even in the case of a work stoppage took away all of their leverage for the war of attrition which they were planning.
It's finally over, Broncos fans. The 2010 NFL season is in the books.
During perhaps the wildest year in the history of the Denver Broncos, the Super Bowl was won yet again by an unexpected wild-card team.
I saw it fitting, then, to give you one last wild Gut Reactions--a dollar late and a day short.
Let's get right to the Positives, the Negatives, and the Who The Heck Knows.
Did Jay Cutler quit on his team today in Chicago?
As much as I hate Cutler, I want to say yes. But the truth is, we really don't know. Cutler had the same poor mechanics when he came out injured during the third quarter as he had on the first series. So it's hard to tell from his play.
The early story coming out of Chicago is that Cutler has torn ligaments in his knee; it was Lovie Smith's decision to keep him out of the game.
You'd think that might stop the fans dead in their tracks and give them some measured perspective.
For the most part, it has (outside of some Bears fans burning Cutler's jerseys). One can't say the same for current and former NFL players, though.
Cutler isn't just being criticized by players, he's being crucified.
Quick, what do the remaining playoff teams have in common?
Yes, all of them could double up the Broncos. But I was thinking about something else.
All four teams are ranked in the top ten in both takeaways and defensive 3rd-down efficiency.
What's the lesson?
Don't pee on an electric (de)fence, that's what.
Oh, and the Broncos need an electric fence real bad.
Now, on to The Positives, the Negatives, and the Who The Heck Knows from this weekend.
Although the Broncos did not play this weekend, I have to tell you - I didn't miss them one bit.
It was time to put this season out to pasture. Did we really need to see another backyard Slip 'n Slide party from the defense?
Sure, I could have used a few more game tapes on Tim Tebow. And I would have liked to have watched Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas work themselves into more consistent wide receivers. I would even have enjoyed listening to Brian Xanders tell us that he would have drafted Arian Foster instead of Knowshon Moreno if not for Josh McDaniels' Napoleonic tendencies.
But, of course, it's time to move on. So let's get to some smaller Gut Reactions from this weekend. I'll do my McDaniels' best to keep everything Broncos related. What does that mean? I guess it means I won't (supposedly!) tell Brian Xanders.
Despite all of the excitement late in today's game, the Denver Broncos just finished the season a woeful 4-12. This was their worst finish since the War of 1812.
So what do the Broncos do now besides pick 2nd in next year's draft? Bring in their own war veteran, John Elway.
Good luck, John. I know you're about the closest thing to Chuck Norris the Broncos have ever seen, but the NFL you left a dozen years ago isn't the NFL you're about to re-enter.
You once drove 98 yards while being pelted with dog biscuits. That's going to seem like a cakewalk compared to what you're getting into now.
Your owner wants to win now; the boss' right-hand man is a guy who measures success by dollars spent per box seat; your general manager is a guy who just said that the ideal way to win in the NFL is to run the ball half the time; after you find a head coach, your other order of business it to try and figure out who is going to be the franchise's quarterback for the next decade.
Oh, and the fans? They've seen so much drama in the last two years, they'd prefer an re-run of Lost to yet another Broncos front-office change.
And God said, "Let there be two halves."
How could the Broncos look so bad in the 1st half and so good in the 2nd?
They let their quarterback play one on TV.
The first half was one of screens (slip, bubble, running back, silver?). The Broncos' coaching staff either didn't trust their young quarterback or they simply wanted to continue to take his development as slowly as possible. Did they realize they were facing the league's worst defense in the Houston Texans?
The 17-0 deficit was actually a blessing in disguise. It forced the Broncos' coaches to finally unleash the Tebow. In the 2nd half, they had no other choice.
Tim Tebow may be a lot of things (young, inexperienced, and still under development), but there's one thing he's not--boring. He gave the Broncos energy today. Energy to burn.