The 2011 Spring NFL owners meeting is going on this week in Indianapolis at the Westin Hotel downtown. The host Super Bowl city for the upcoming season always handles the Spring owners meeting, and this year the dark cloud of labor unrest and the possible cancellation of the Super bowl in Indy for 2012 hangs over this gathering.
Stampede Blue's Matt Grecco attended some of this morning's rounds of media interviews with owners and general managers, including some chat time with Colts GM Chris Polian and owner Jim Irsay.
The hot topic of discussion, other than the lockout, was the owners approving the NFL competition committee's three rule changes regarding 'launching' in an effort to better protect 'defenseless' players.
When asked (if these rules were in effect last year) how the changes would have effected punishment for the hits Colts receiver Austin Collie took, Chris Polian said that it didn't make much sense to go back to apply these changes to what happened to Collie last year. He also noted that both the Collie hits were 'not penalized.' We're assuming he means in the form of a fine or suspension. I believe the Collie hit in Philly drew a flag (which is, in fact, penalization).
Irsay, meanwhile, reinstated the urgency to get a new CBA deal done near the 4th of July or it will 'damage' the NFL.
When asked about a new CBA deal, Irsay stated that, again, a deal must get done at or around July 4th. If not, the other date Irsay kept tossing out there is October. Should a deal get done in October (costing the league and fans all pf preseason and the first four games of the regular season), the NFL would be damaged.
Despite the labor impasse, the cases in litigation, and the owner imposed lockout of the players, Irsay made it clear that he, and others, want a deal.
I know, my fellow owners and I can say, we want to get a deal.
We want to get a deal. We don't want to miss any time. Both sides [owners and players] I believe have that sentiment.
Matt also was able to get audio from Falcons president and Competition Committee rep Rich McKay. More on that later today.