Writing a column on the final negotiation process for the NFL collective bargaining agreement on Friday for the Sunday paper may be an act of extreme recklessness, given the roller coaster of events occurring hourly. But as they say, no guts, no glory.
So how does a deal agonizingly close to completion become unhinged at the end? I've said before that closely monitoring sports negotiations is like watching the process of sausage being made. You may love the final product but will be driven to distraction by seeing the bloody preparations.
DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Players Assn. and Commissioner Roger Goodell and their negotiating teams have spent countless hours together, understand each other implicitly and reached a set of understandings earlier this week. But that is a far cry from having thoroughly prepared their respective constituencies for the reality of signing a 10-year deal.