We finally have confirmation and details regarding the forced mediation that Judge Susan Nelson handed down to the NFL and the trade organization formerly known as the NFLPA on Friday.

The mediation will begin this Thursday in Minneapolis, and Nelson has appointed Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan to oversee the process. That’s because neither side could agree on a mediator (big surprise).

There’s a widely-held belief amongst the media that this will lead to nothing, but both sides will have to be on their best behaviour with Nelson and Boylan controlling the process.

Considering the progress the two parties made during the 17 days of mediation under George Cohen, I’m actually quite optimistic that this can only do more good than harm. Inevitably, the league and the players will find common ground or Nelson will step in and render a decision to force someone’s hand.