Just two weeks ago, the NFL and NFLPA wouldn't even talk to each other without storming out of the room.
Both sides wanted everything, but only one side could have it. They knew compromises had to be made, but the NFL and the players' union were too stubborn to give up anything.
Enter George Cohen, a federal mediator representing the third-party Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
He got the player and owner representatives to remain at the negotiation table until at least something got done.
And, much like a cool teacher or professor giving a student a much-needed extension on a due date for a term paper, Cohen got the NFL and NFLPA to agree on an extension of the March 3 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expiration to March 11 at 4 p.m. CST.
If a new CBA is in place by that time, Cohen should be given credit for serving as the voice of reason on behalf of NFL fans everywhere.
Playing a supporting role was U.S. District Judge David Doty, who ruled against the NFL trying to stockpile $4 billion in television revenue.
The NFL will deny to the bone that they were stockpiling the money to protect themselves against losses as a result of a potential lockout, and that Doty's ruling is relevant to the CBA negotiations.
But, if Doty ruled in favor of the owners, they would have had some serious leverage at the negotiating table.
And this would have been a much different post.
Check out Drew Rosten's Sports Thread at http://drewrosten.blogspot.com for continuing coverage of the NFL labor situation and much more.