NFL's latest timeline would keep Bears-Bucs in London
The flurry of daily reports updating progress (or lack thereof) on the labor front can become exhausting to keep up with. But there's one this morning we highly suggest you read if you've been trying.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter report the NFL is aiming to have a new collective bargaining agreement ratified by its July 21 owners meeting in Atlanta, allowing the league to keep the preseason and regular season intact.
If this holds true, it has big ramifications for the Bucs. When it was announced that the Bears and Bucs would meet in London on October 23 as part of the NFL's International Series, there was one caveat: The NFL lockout had to end by August 1.
This timeline, if adhered to, would beat that deadline and keep the Bucs overseas for that key "home" game. That probably won't thrill season-ticket holders who were probably looking forward to what was an attractive home date for Tampa Bay, but it would at least bring some clarity to the situation for the Bucs.
The logistics involved in traveling to London are complicated for an NFL team, evidenced by the lengths the Bucs went to in 2009 to consider all options in an effort to minimize jetlag. The Bucs finally settled on a late-Friday night arrival ahead of their Sunday evening kickoff, but that might not be the case this time around. Look for the Bucs to consider heading over a little earlier to give them time to adjust to the dramatic five-hour time difference.
In any case, this is something to keep an eye as we (we think) get closer to a resolution of this ongoing work stoppage.