Throughout the day, we'll be following what is scheduled to be the final day before the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement expires.
Follow us here to find out the latest.
6:05 PM/ET: The meeting is over. NFL union head DeMaurice Smith is brief:
"For all the fans who dig our game, we appreciate your patience as we work through this. We're going to keep working. We want to play football."
5:38 PM/ET: The NFL Network is reporting that there is a 24-hour extension to the CBA expiration, which means it would now expire tomorrow (Friday) night at 11:59pm ET.
Honestly, I have no idea what 24 hours would do. They weren't close on any of the negotiating terms when they entered the mediation this morning, so it would be nothing short of a miracle if a mediator, who has no binding power, has pulled the sides together.
I'm more likely to believe that the mediator, George Cohen, is working with them to try to set up amicable terms of talking going forward instead of making it more hostile by pushing it to the courts.
4:24 PM/ET: We've been standing outside since 8:30am ET, freezing. Reporters have no place to go and everyone has been haunted by false alarms. At times, we've taken refuge in the local Starbucks, Subway and FedEx Kinko's. Even a patch of sun was a rare treat. Someone needs to come out and tell us what is going on.
We are...Waiting For Goodell.
3:45 PM/ET: We are closing in on the time where the union has to tell the owners if they are decertifying, but that of course relies on there not being an extension to the CBA.
Let's take a related question from Twitter from @JVAPxPwho asks "If NFL deadline extends, will players still be able to de-certify if talks break down later?"
My Answer: Yes. Decertification is all in relation to the CBA. So if the CBA expires later, then it buys the players more time. You should also assume, however, that if there is an extension that there will be provisions to that extension. That's what is likely going on right now.
3:10 PM/ET: NFL fans, I think you are going to have a full season next year.
If the owners and players are talking this seriously, for this long, roughly six months before the season would start, I can't imagine them missing a game. Sure they aren't likely getting into specifics. They're talking more about the semantics of how to possibly extend the CBA. But if I'm a fan, I feel cautiously more confident now that we won't miss games than I did this morning.
I've covered work stoppages before and when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, you blow by it. Both sides can't stand each other. They can't sit in the room with each other like they have today for what is approaching on six hours. I'm not in the negotiating room today obviously, but if they are talking for this long, when they have no obligation to this mediator at all, it has to be progress.
2:30 PM/ET: Many reporters have now been told that the league and the union are discussing extending the deadline, which is 11:59pm ET tonight.
I truly believe the union is in the position of power. Had the television rulingnot been made in their favor days ago, I think this would be a different story.
2:17 PM/ET: As many of you know, I promised to shave my hair offif the owners and the players stuck a deal before midnight tonight. (See video below) It's looking more and more like there might not be a work stoppage tonight with a possible extension, though luckily for my hair it's very unlikely that a deal will be done nine hours from now.
Nonetheless, here's a look at what I would look like if the owners and the players pulled off a miracle. (Vote in our poll below - Will I have to shave my hair or not?)