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The End of the Lockout - Episode IV: A New Hope?

OK, everyone. I've been trying to maintain cautious optimism as a self-preserving defense mechanism, but in the face of the apparent recent developments in the secret and confidential and alleged ongoing labor negotiations between the players and the owners, it seems there are rumors that we might, just might, be headed for a deal soon. (A Cherry Coke Zero prize goes to anyone who correctly identifies the number of hedging/waffling words in that sentence. And a Sierra Mist for anyone getting close to the pop-culture references in the picture caption.)

Dare we hope? Dare we begin to think we will have a full 2011 football season?

Let's examine this a bit more via the wonder that is the CSC archives...after the jump.

For me, it all started a couple of weeks ago, on June 10, when I came across this little nugget from the Eagle-Tribune, which I emailed out to my family with the subject line: "Dare we hope?"

Just after sending it over my morning granola/yogurt/sliced fruit bowl and CSC perusal, I noticed that GRiZZ posted a fanshot about it at about the same time, which was soon followed by some pushback. That same day, Satch brought us a link to a Florio blurb with a Scott Fujita quote on the progress being made.

I recall a few days of back-and-forth "this means something" and "this means nothing" speculative reports on secret meetings and whatnot, and then Big Boss Dave posted this story regarding joint statements on player-owner meetings (which prompted me to drop some sweet marijuana puns - tee hee).

Amidst this flurry of activity, GRiZZ even decides it's time for a "lockout-ending pool" fanshot. (By the way, is anyone charting the results of this?)

Then, as it seemed to be true that things were looking good for a deal to be on the horizon, we got a bit of rain on our parade on June 17th, as Satch linked us to a report of some owners not being in such a deal-making mood. GAAAAA!!! The humanity!!!

The most recent fanshots (here and here) on the progress of the whole deal relate to the owners' meeting in Chicago earlier this week, and came from our intrepid embedded agents Satch and Jon Banks. Here is Dave's latest story on aspects of the framework of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

With all this heating up, more and more NFL media bobbleheads are talking and acting like we are going to have a deal completed soon, with a full 2011 football season to be played.

My question to you, my enlightened readers, is this: Are you buying it?

Vote in the poll and comment below to let us know what you think of the state of the NFL Labor Situation at this moment.