...That's what Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams gave on Monday, saying he guaranteed there would be NFL football this season. Adams's guarantee was followed by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who told Georgia legislators today that Atlanta will have professional football in 2011.
I'm not sure where the owners are in a position to guarantee anything considering their 2008 Detroit Lions-esque record in court. Either they have an awful lot of faith in their lawyers or very little in the solidarity of the players. But any dose of optimism in the tiresome NFL labor tug of war is welcome.
The reality is that both sides simply have too much to risk to sacrifice an entire season. It's easy to posture and litigate in March, six months before games are to be played, but the closer we get to the season the closer we should be to a deal because the only way both sides lose is if the 2011 season is lost.
...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.