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NFL Lockout Update: Welcome To The Seventh Circle Of Hell

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Earlier this year when the 49ers were wooing Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, Niners Nation was filled with frequent updates about what came to be known as the Harbaugh-colypse, Harbaugh-geddon, or whatever you want to call it. The NFL Lockout will never be nearly as fun as that time, so maybe we'll just view this as the anti-Harbaugh-colypse, or simply an angrier version of that. I've actually had my television on NFL Network all day long, with a slight detour for Major League on Comedy Central.

I realize some people just want football and don't care hot it's done. For those that don't want to discuss the lockout any further, you can chat about the 49ers 2011 salary cap situation, whether NaVorro Bowman can take the next step in 2011, or even the always amusing random tweets of Anthony Dixon.

For those of you who are locked in to figuring out when this lockout will end, consider this your next open thread.

Today has been a whirlwind day of few results, but a whole lot of speculation. The NFLPA* will be holding a conference call at 5:00pm pacific today, at which point the players may or may not vote on the proposed settlement. The latest wranglings surround recertifying the union. The issue seems to concern the timing of reforming the union. The players reportedly want to get the deal settled and then handle the signing of union cards on the first day of training camp. The owners don't want to end the lockout until a CBA is voted on, which requires a union. Around and around we go, where we'll stop, nobody knows.

Part of the problem with the recertification process is whether players actually want back in a union, or whether it's a legal strategy. The union disclaimed interest in the union as opposed to a formal decertification. Accordingly, they simply have to show a majority of support to reform the union, which means no need to involve the often laborious machinations of the National Labor Relations Board. At this point, some claim some players might not want the reform the union. My opinion is that the delay could be a way to protect the future decertification legal strategy more than anything else.

This all comes as the owners are down in Atlanta preparing to vote on the terms of the settlement they have before them. An optimistic person could view an owners' yes vote  removing one procedural hurdle and also putting pressure on the players to approve. A less optimistic person (some would say pessimist, some might say realist!) could view this as a way of stirring the hornets nest with the players if they're not completely happy with the deal.

One interesting development this afternoon saw Logan Mankins agent proclaim Mankins had never made any financial demands. Mankins agent said there had been no discussion with Jeff Kessler about such demands, which comes as Kessler is being painted as the villain in the current delay. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah is claiming this is a lot of misinformation.

All of this really is just a sign of the continuing speculation with conflicting reports depending on which sources you check out. I'll be keeping an eye on this into the night in spite of the fact that the only new information is basically speculation. We're all sitting here in a holding pattern in what is quickly emerging as some sort of sports hell.