Worst-case NFL labor scenario arrives

Worst-case NFL labor scenario arrives

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com
Stupidity reigns.The NFL Players Association, unhappy with the league's refusal to showthe last 10 years of financial records to prove their profits, folded their association today. The move - called decertification - means the NFLPA will no longer collectively bargain with the league. Instead, each NFL players is an individual contractor. As such, they can now legally demand a level of freedom the NFL didn't afford them when they were part of an association.Franchise tags restricting movement? Salary caps? NFL Draft? Puh. Unconstitutional. As an association, the players agreed to accept some things that were against fair trade practices as long as the NFLPA and the NFL collectivelybargained in good faith. Now that the union has decertified, individual players can take the NFL to court challenging that the NFL is and has been in violation of antitrust laws. Major League Baseball has an antitrust exemption. The NFL does not. Players like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Logan Mankins and Mike Vrabel have all agreed to be plaintiffs against the NFL in court. Judge David Doty in Minneapolis has jurisdiction over the NFL and NFLPA's battle. Historically, he's ruled in favor of the players. What now? The collective bargaining agreement and all the rules governing the league expired Friday night at midnight. When that happened, the owners - who are the ones demanding a change tothe current system- locked out the players. The players will maintain that they are ready to work as independent contractors for the agreed-upon wages. The NFLwill charge that the decertification is a sham - as it did in a statement Friday afternoon - and the players are just trying to expose the owners to an antitrust lawsuit. They will try to block decertification and accuse the players of trying to get the owners into court. The players will argue that they can't be locked out. That they have a right to work and that the NFL teams are executing a group boycott of the players. Damages in an antitrust lawsuit are "trebled" meaning they are multiplied by three. All these charges and arguments will land in front of Doty and the National Labor Relations Board. A couple of notes. You'll hear the owners argue and allege that the players bargained in bad faith. That they want litigation. That their goal all along was decertification. That's the NFL's way of trying to block the NFLPA's decertification. There is a chance that the courts can rule that the players must return to work under the "last, best offer" or under the rules of the final year of the last CBA. In short, a lot of different things can happen that - frankly - I'm not as up-to-date on as I would have been if I studied labor law. Do me a favor - look at thisto get the lowdown on decertification. Check this for all the possibilities of what comes next.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time

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Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time

Tom Brady may be biased, but he believes that Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the best to ever walk a sideline. 

That's what Brady told Westwood One's Jim Gray in an interview before the radio broadcast of Monday night's game between the Falcons and Saints. After Belichick helped cook up a game plan for the Patriots to beat the Texans on short rest with rookie third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett behind center, Brady may not have many people argue with him. 

"I definitely think so," Brady answered when he was asked if Belichick was "the best coach to have ever done this."

"I think whatever hand he's been dealt, he finds a way to win. That's the mark of a great coach. Sitting in those meetings for the last 16 years and watching him prepare the team, there's no [other] coach I'd ever want to play for. He's just remarkable in every aspect. It's a privilege to play for him. I look forward to going back out there and, you know, getting yelled at by him. He's tough on the players and he expects the very best out of each of us every day. That ends up getting the best out of players. He's so consistent with his approach, and it's paid of for our team for a long time."

Brady said it's that consistency that stands out to him and separates Belichick from any of his peers.

"I think his consistency is just what's remarkable," Brady explained. "It's so much of what you don't see on these Sunday afternoons. But it's the way the offseason program is run in April. It's his urgency and enthusiasm at that time of year when no one's watching. His OTA schedule and his emphasis over the course of those practices in May and June when no one's really watching. There's no scoreboard to compete against. But we always feel like we're in competing against the other teams, even when there is no scoreboard.

"You go to training camp, and you can't waste days in training camp because you don't get those days back. Those days in training camp are going to prepare you for what's going to happen in Septmeber. There's urgency throughout the entire offseason to get us to the month of September, and then once September comes it's all about winning games and making improvements towards October.

"Then once you make improvements toward October, you can be in a really good position to really capitalize come November. That's when the playoff races start to shape up and you really see where you're at and there's a lot of scouting done at that point. That's whenn you really see the team develop and how the depth of the team really takes place. Coach Belichick is always understanding where the roster needs to be at and which positions we may need a little more depth at based on injuries over the course of the season.

"Then comes December when it's the last stretch of the season when you need to be at your best. He prepares us all the way throughout the season. His consistency has been remarkable. It's been fun to see from this point obvously for the last four weeks, but I've experienced that every day. That part of it doesn't really surprise me, but to see the way that my teammates have come out and played and performed under pressure on a Sunday night game, and the first home game, and a Thursday national TV game, it's just been so much fun to watch."