Skip to main content

Chronology: How the NFL Lockout Unfolded

A chronology of NFL labor negotiations:


  • NFL says it will opt out of collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association after the 2010-11 season, saying its costs are too high and it needs givebacks from the players. 2010 season will have no salary cap.
  • Union leader Gene Upshaw dies in August.


  • After six months without an executive director, the players elect Washington attorney DeMaurice Smith.


  • No breakthroughs at negotiating table as season is played without salary cap.


  • On Feb. 5, the league and players meet for short negotiations one day before Super Bowl in Dallas.
  • On Feb. 18, federal mediator George Cohen begins working with the two sides in Washington.
  • On March 1, U.S. District Judge David Doty rules the NFL's contracts with the TV networks to collect $4 billion even if no games are played in 2011 is "lockout insurance.''
  • On March 3, with the CBA due to expire at midnight, the two sides agree to extend the pact for another 24 hours.
  • On March 4, the two sides agree to extend the CBA for another week.
  • On March 11, talks collapse, the NFLPA decertifies and 10 players, including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, file an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in federal court in Minneapolis.
  • On March 12, the NFL locks out its players, shutting down operations. Communication between the teams and current players ceases and no players can be signed.
  • On April 20, the two sides wrap up four days of court-ordered mediation in Minneapolis with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.
  • On April 25, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson issues an order lifting the lockout. NFL immediately appeals to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. In the following days, with varying success, players try to work out at team headquarters.
  • On April 28, the NFL conducts its annual draft, with Carolina selecting Auburn quarterback Cam Newton as the No. 1 pick.
  • On April 29, appeals court stays Nelson's order, and with the draft still in progress, NFL reinstates the lockout.
  • On May 17, another round of talks with Boylan produces no significant progress.
  • On June 2, the sides wrap up the first of weekly sets of negotiations that continue into July. Locations around the country: Chicago area, Maryland shore, near Boston, Minneapolis, New York.
  • On June 3, in a courtroom packed with 200 people, attorneys for the players and owners argue before a panel of the 8th Circuit on the legality of the lockout.
  • On July 8, with talks continuing in New York, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals throws out Nelson's order lifting the NFL lockout. The decision is a significant victory for the owners.
  • On July 13, Brady, Manning and Brees issue a joint statement saying "it is time'' to wind up negotiations and get a deal done.
  • On July 21, NFL owners vote in favor of a tentative agreement to end the lockout, pending player approval. Players, however, do not vote on the proposal in a conference call later.
  • On July 25, the NFLPA executive board and 32 team reps vote unanimously to approve the terms of a deal to end the 4 1/2-month lockout.

Related Content

Fan Zone

Titans + Nissan Stadium App presented by Verizon

Titans + Nissan Stadium App presented by Verizon

Stay up to date with team and stadium news, concert and event announcements, stream live Titans games and more!

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

A one-stop shop for Titans memorabilia, autographed items and more!

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Get Titans news sent straight to your inbox.