Just in case you’re a masochist or ever need help getting to sleep:
Friday, February 18 2011: The NFL and the NFL Players’ Association begin mediation under the auspices of Washington-based federal mediator George Cohen. The two sides would meet for a total of 17 sessions over the next 22 days.
Tuesday, March 1 2011: Minnesota federal Judge David Doty rules that the league violated the collective bargaining agreement by arranging for $4 billion in additional television revenue in the event of a long-term work stoppage. With the owners no longer able to access that “lockout insurance” money, the players gain a tremendous amount of leverage in negotiations.
Thursday, March 3 2011: With some progress reportedly being made and the collective bargaining agreement slated to expire at midnight, the league the NFLPA agree to extend the deadline by 24 hours.
Friday, March 4 2011: The league and the NFLPA once again agree to extend the CBA expiration deadline, this time by a full week.
Friday, March 11 2011: Not satisfied with the league’s last offer and displeased that the owners refuse to fully open their financial books, the NFLPA decertifies. The players — led by Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning — file an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
Saturday, March 12 2011: The NFL officially locks out its players. It’s the first work stoppage to hit professional football in 24 years.
Thursday, March 17 2011: NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith calls the league’s last offer the “worst deal in the history of sports.”
Wednesday, April 6 2011: Minnesota federal Judge Susan Richard Nelson hears the players’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the lockout. Proceedings indicate that Nelson heavily favors the players.
Thursday, April 7 2011: While she takes “a couple weeks” to come to a decision, Judge Susan Nelson urges the owners and players to return to mediation.
Friday, April 8 2011: Judge Susan Nelson takes it one step further, ordering the two sides to return to mediation.
Thursday, April 14 2011: The two sides begin forced mediation in Minnesota under the auspices of Chief Magistrate Arthur Boylan.
Wednesday, April 20 2011: Court-ordered mediation is adjourned until May 16. In four sessions over a seven-day period with Boylan, the sides met for 26 total hours.
Monday, April 25 2011: Judge Susan Nelson rules in favor of the players in their motion to lift the lockout. She does not issue a stay pending an appeal, although the league immediately requests for one.
Wednesday, April 27 2011: Judge Susan Nelson denies the NFL’s request for a stay pending an appeal on her ruling that the lockout be lifted immediately.
Friday, April 29 2011: Faced with potential contempt of court charges, the league is forced to open its doors and end the lockout in the morning. But by the time the day is through, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals grants the NFL a temporary stay on Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling to lift the lockout. After several hours of business as usual, the work stoppage resumes.
Tuesday, May 3 2011: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals grants the NFL’s request for an expedited hearing in its appeal of Judge Susan Nelson’s decision to lift the lockout.
Thursday, May 12 2011: The lockout reaches day 58, making it the longest work stoppage in NFL history.
Monday, May 16 2011: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals grants the NFL an extended stay pending the league’s full appeal of Judge Susan Nelson’s decision. On the same day, the two side return to mediation under the direction of Chief Magistrate Arthur Boylan for the first time in nearly a month.
Tuesday, May 17 2011: Court-ordered mediation is adjourned again, this time until June 7.
Thursday, June 2 2011: Court-ordered mediation slated for June 7-8 is cancelled because confidential settlement discussions are underway. Under a vow of silence, representatives from the sides begin a series of meetings in a Chicago suburb. They’d meet in different forms in five other cities over the course of the next seven weeks.
Friday, June 3 2011: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments for and against the lockout. The three-judge panel warns that their decision will be one that neither party likes.
Friday, July 8 2011: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the league, upholding the lockout.
Thursday, July 21 2011: The owners approve the proposed CBA.
Monday, July 25 2011: After a weekend of negotiations, the players finally vote to ratify the deal.