Was Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis at the "secret" owners meeting in Chicago this past week when the owners again finally conceded on some key issues regarding important salary requirements the players had been standing pat on?
He may not have been there physically but he could have been a part of it via phone or video conference and helped settle some key issues for the NFL.
In 2006, Al Davis stepped in and convinced the owners—who had bickered about earnings and wouldn't concede to the players who wanted and deserved more of the pie—to settle with the players and they signed a good collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in terms of what the players finally were awarded and the NFL had to give up.
Al Davis is considered a very difficult owner to get along with, but those who are friends with him and even those who aren't respect him and understand he's one of the smartest men in all of football.
When Al Davis respects the owners and agrees with their decisions, he will go to important meetings. But when he disagrees, like he has this offseason, he will do things contrary to what other owners will do by spending money like he's making it—even when deep-pocketed owners or those in big markets claim to be losing money.
Obviously, now that the wealthiest owners have the biggest and best stadiums, of course they are more in debt. Is it the players' fault the owners have taken on as much debt as they have? Al is clearly showing that the Raiders have money and want to spend it and the owners need to realize everyone's making a lot of money, just not as much as before.
I expect something to happen by July after what recently happened. The preseason will probably be shortened by a game or two, but I think the NFL has finally realized that a lot of players have put money away and can sit out a year if necessary. I think this was shocking to the owners to realize how much money a lot of these players put away, especially the Pro Bowl players with big contracts or other important players.
Some very cocky owners believe they will get their way and the players are just going to have to deal with the consequences of not getting paid. The attitude was that the players are just going to deal with it as they did in '06, but something must have happened at the owners meetings that finally made them understand football is football and everyone's making money.
Al Davis knows when to show up and make the owners realize something needs to be done because no one makes money if there is no football. He's convinced Dan Snyder, Bob Kraft, Jerry Jones and other owners to sign the CBA, even if it had an opt-out clause after two years.
I'm not certain if he was actually involved or not this past week because it's a "secret," but something smells a lot like '06, when Al Davis came to the rescue.
Did Al Davis come back to the rescue again?