Quietly, somewhat too quietly, the NFLPA and Owners sat down last week to begin looking at a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. In NFLPA Chief Gene Upshaw's weekly 100 Wordson the NFLPA website, the embattled Union Head had this to say about the proceedings --
We met with NFL negotiators last Thursday in New York. Attendees included owners Jerry Richardson and Pat Bowlen, the League’s financial team and its new outside attorney, Bob Batterman. The NFL discussed the 32 teams’ financial condition and how the CBA has caused every club to lose money. They are attempting to gather financial information to share with the NFLPA. We made it clear that we are willing to discuss their financial condition, but we cannot expect our players to embrace the NFL’s position without the owners providing audited financial statements. This is just the first step in the process.
As many of you know, Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen is an imporant part of this process, being the League's point-man in negiations with the Players' Union. Many have wondered if the virtual belt tightening within the Broncos was in direct correllation to the impending labor unrest. The team has denied the fact, but one has to seriously wonder if the man charged with proving to the Union can effectively do that if his team isn't showing signs of fiscal prudence.
On the flip-side, it is easy to get a read on Gene Upshaw's stance. The guy is fighting for his job, and with Kevin Mawae, the NFLPA President, saying no change in leadership would be made while there is CBA unrest, it is safe to say Upshaw will let these negotiations rattle on as long as possible. Something to keep your eyes on to be sure.