Labor's been very difficult in delivery of CBA

191543.jpg

Labor's been very difficult in delivery of CBA

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran ATLANTA - Dont tell me about the labor pains. Just show me the baby.Thats pretty much where we are now with this NFL lockout, agreed? Wednesday, the NFLPAs Executive Council met in Washington and reviewed the proposed CBA. A vote was expected. A vote never came. Too much information to digest all in one sitting, according to reports. Thursday, the leagues owners will meet at the Airport Marriott in Atlanta (169 room rate for me). Theyre expected to vote on the proposed CBA. But you never know. Sometimes theres too much information to digest. After the death of Myra Kraft on Wednesday morning, Robert Kraft will not be in Atlanta. Jonathan Kraft will represent the Patriots.Its expected (hoped), that the players will be able to hold their vote and agree to the new CBA before the owners hold their vote later Thursday. Each team was also asked to send a key football decision maker who will be briefed on the rules of engagement once the CBA is agreed to and the lockout ends. That person not sure yet who the Patriots are sending but Bill Belichick or Nick Caserio seem the likely suspects will get the new rules and the timeline for free agency, reporting dates, etc. One of the NFL's lead litigators, Jeff Pash, said the fact the players didn't vote is not a big deal. "It doesnt impact (the owners' plans) at all," he explained. "Were going to continue to work with the players. Well find out if there are issues that still need to be negotiated and were going to work cooperatively with them through the evening and try to have something in place that both sides can vote on tomorrow morning.Ratification is an independent process by each side, just as they could ratify something if we havent voted. So, I assume we could do so."At this point in the process, there is heightened interest and anticipation. Timelines calling for free agency to start within a few days and teams to begin reporting next week have people with a vested interest players, owners, team personnel, fans and media on edge. Any hint of a hangup is met with media concern which quickly devolves into a full-blown Twitter panic. The agitation then becomes a measure of news itself a kind of new media riptide. Example? Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe calling Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins dbags after reports broke that those four were making individual demands for settling the Brady vs. The NFL litigation. Frankly, I still dont know what to believe in regards to what was requested.
And Wednesday night, after Brees and Manning had their agentmouthpiece Tom Condon say they never asked for anything, a source told CBS Sports' Mike Freeman that Mankins and Jackson still wanted 10 million. Despite Jackson saying Tuesday he wouldn't hold up the process. Despite a report that Mankins hadn't asked for money. There are a lot of sources out there right now and if you ask the right or wrong one the right or wrong thing at the right or wrong time the responses can run the gamut. Eventually, the rioting is quelled and the torches are stowed until the next agita-causing nugget drops. Ill be in Atlanta Thursday. I expect to see the baby.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

top_100_plays_3-4.png

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.