At 6:35 p.m. ET, ESPN announced that a lockout is imminent, as both sides of the table couldn't agree on a deal that would solidify the new collective bargaining agreement.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league, released various statements all pointing to the fact that the union of players left a really good deal on the table.
What does this mean for the NFL?
It's a grim situation.
With the 2011 season still roughly six months away, there are a lot of things this will affect—including the signing contracts of the rookies taken in this year's draft.
NFL players allege that the league's offer is greatly unfair, as stated in an article by ESPN:
"The players allege in the lawsuit that the organizations conspired to deny the players' ability to market their services, through a patently unlawful group boycott and price-fixing arrangement or, in the alternative, an unilaterally imposed set of anticompetitive restrictions on player movement, free agency, and competitive market freedom."
This could mean a year of replacement players if the NFLPA decides not to head back to the bargaining table.
This also means that free agency, contract extensions and plans for the future could essentially be sidelined until an agreement is made—something that was supposed to happen tonight.
What forced this decision?
It's my opinion that the owners couldn't come to terms with their expected $1 billion payout, of course split to every team in the NFL. The league expressed a willing to work with the union if they could get that figure down but, after capping at around $180 million, the NFLPA decided that it had gone far enough.
An article featured on ESPN detailed the thoughts of the NFLPA.
"I would dare any one of you to pull out any economic indicator that would suggest that the National Football League is falling on hard times," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. "The last 14 days, the National Football League has said, 'Trust us.' But when it came time for verification, they told us it was none of our business."
It looks as if Keanu Reeves will have to suit up once more. Maybe the Waterboy can come knock some heads around for a few weeks, should nothing change after tonight.