The owners and players will meet tomorrow in Manhattan (the players are holding a pre-game conference call tonight), but the lawyers have been the only ones doing the heavy lifting in labor talks as of late.
And although things can change fast, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that a handshake deal on a new collective bargaining agreement comes to fruition this week. And as a result, there’s a growing concern about the status of the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame Game.
With collective bargaining agreement negotiations between NFL owners and players projected to last into next week, the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams are expected to move back the start of their training camps from July 22. As a result, the cancellation of the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, is looking more and more likely.
The tricky thing about the Hall of Fame game is that it’s probably not something that can be postponed. While the NFL has left room on the schedule for regular preseason and regular-season weeks to be delayed, the Hall of Fame game is in Canton, Ohio the day after the latest group of legends is enshrined.
So unless the league moves all of the events scheduled for that weekend, the game will either be played on Aug. 7, or it won’t be played at all.
“The decision is probably going to be made for us,” a coach from one of the teams told Cole. “You get past a certain point and you can’t play that game … the way things are going right now, I don’t think we’re going to have the time to travel for an extra game, let alone all the other stuff you’re talking about.”
I’m not a coach, but it shouldn’t realistically require more than about a week of planning and preparation to play that game. It’s a glorified scrimmage as is. Just have Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford and Co. play a series or two each and let the training camp battles begin after that.
At the very least, we’ll get some comic relief out of the chance to watch a young Rams offense try to execute new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ playbook with only days to rehearse.