Apparently nobody noticed this until today, but the NFL has evidently prepared a contingency plan in case the lockout drags on and the first three games of the season are missed.
Not only could they make up games in the week prior to the Super Bowl, but they could extend the Super Bowl a week, playing two regular season games potentially lost in January prior to the playoffs.
They also made it so the teams playing each other in week 3 all have the same bye week, so those teams could play each other in the bye.
What does this mean? Well, It could mean that the NFL expects the lockout to last no longer than Week 4 of the NFL season. Hopefully it doesn't even come to that because that would essentially mean a shortened or no training camp and no free agency until the season has already started.
This seems like a tactical error on the NFL's part. If the players feel like the NFL is not willing to risk losing the entire season, then they could simply hold off making a deal until Week 3 of the NFL season and then they would get whatever they wanted in the new CBA.
Again, this is all hypothetical. The two parties have been meeting the past week and a deal should get done at some point. The players have begun speaking out against the NFL brass—it seems as if tensions are rising.
The players and the NFL have both publicly expressed the desire to have the 2011 NFL season in its entirety, but whether the NFL feels that way is unclear.
They did suffer a big loss when the federal courts ruled they are not entitled to nearly $4 billion in TV contract revenue should the NFL season not be played. With that ruling, I feel as though both sides are going to do everything possible to avoid missing games.
However, the NFL is clearly ready for otherwise.