1) With the decision by federal judge David Doty to withhold the $4 billion the league would have brought in this year from television contracts as "lockout insurance", the balance in the CBA negotiations is swinging heavily toward the NFLPA. The NFLPA is threatening to decertify the union, which means that individual players and their agents will now deal directly with the franchises. This will prevent the owners from issuing a lockout, because you can't lockout players that are under a contract without the union involved. The result will likely end in court with multiple lawsuits against each franchise. We're pushing toward zero hour, and this chess match is heating up.
2) Robert Kraft was one of the principals that fought for the new television contracts with the "lockout insurance". He and other owners like Jerry Jones that have financed their own stadiums with private funds are among the first to feel the pinch without the guaranteed money coming in. Kraft, though, has an MLS soccer team that shares the stadium as well as concerts and events that can help foot the bill. Mr. Jones and JerryWorld may not be so lucky. I wouldn't be surprised if he is the first to blink in this staring contest.
3) Randy Moss has decided to test free agency. When motivated, Mr. Moss can still be, I believe, a freak of nature. The question at this point in time is, "What would it take to motivate him?" If three teams in one year doesn't do it, then I doubt there is any motivation that can. It's too bad, though, to see his career end with a whimper instead of a bang. One of the things I always liked about Barry Sanders was that he ended his career when he was still the best in the business. Some guys just like to go out on top.
4) With Stephen Neal retiring, Matt Light not having a contract, Nick Kaczur having a contract that's too high for a backup, and Logan Mankins being unsure about whether he'll sign the franchise tender, our O-line may be set to undergo the largest transformation in 10 years. While I have all the faith in the world that Dante Scarnecchia can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse when it comes to our offensive line, I wonder if we're going to run out of time for him to work his magic - especially if the CBA negotiations drag on. Our entire offensive output may depend upon it.
5) The Vikings have lost 4 Super Bowls. The Bills have lost 4 in a row. Those are two of the ten teams that have been to, but never won the big game. The Lions, Browns, Jaguars and Texans have never been to a Super Bowl. As a matter of fact, the Texans have never made it to the playoffs. The last time the Steelers lost a Super Bowl, it took them 10 years to get back to (and win) the big game. The Patriots lost in 1997 and it took 5 years to get back to (and win) a Super Bowl. We're heading into year 4 right now. Here's hoping they can break another one of their records. I think we can all agree that there's no time like the present.