I have no idea what it was that swung the NFL's lockout from dark, immovable hatred to merry optimism in about a week, but that's what apparently happened. The latest ray of sunshine comes from Mike Freeman at CBSSports.com. Dig it:
One source with intimate knowledge of the discussions tells me negotiations are 80-85 percent complete. They've made such fast progress, I'm told, it's catching many of the principals by surprise. Some are now canceling vacations, believing an agreement will be reached within a matter of days.
Basically, it seems, we continue to move solidly into that threshold of a season will be played, not if one will be played. Again, barring the knucklehead factor.
"It's going to be very difficult for this to get screwed up," the source said.
Well, let's be careful not to underestimate anyone. Jerry Richardson might submarine the whole process just to prove that he can.
I'd really like it if someone who was involved with these negotiations every step of the way would, after the fact, write a tell-all book about exactly what happened. I'd love to know exactly who were the chief antagonizers in the process, whose irrationality was most obstructive in getting a deal done, and who were the heroes who stepped in on the side of common sense, compromise and rational thinking. It would be fascinating to truly know what changed the process along the way and who was responsible for it.
That's probably pretty unlikely, though. I doubt anyone will want to rat on a fellow owner, and I'm sure there'll be all sorts of confidentiality agreements. We're not likely to ever know what really happened.
But, recent events point to us having football, complete with training camps, free agency, a supplemental draft and a complete preseason. If that's the case, it leaves us all to figure out for ourselves how we'll look at the NFL from now on. No harm, no foul? Forget everything and just move on? Or will you still be harboring some bitterness?
We'll have to figure that out as the situation proceeds.