Both sides refused to comment publicly about their early discussions in Philadelphia, and the only information the feds would freely offer was the time of the next meeting. When Mackey announced the Chiefs would be allowed to practice for Chicago, speculation heated up anew. Some observers regarded it as the first thaw; others as a sign that Mackey and his associates did not want to be held responsible for depriving their fellow athletes of a little pourboire.
Despite occasional mutterings from disconsolate owners that the whole schedule might be canceled if a settlement were delayed much longer, it is hard to believe that the 1970 season is in serious jeopardy, for the simple reason that both sides would suffer needlessly. Can anyone imagine the owners abandoning all that TV money, to say nothing of their close relationship with the three networks that share pro ball this year? Can anyone imagine an owner, say George Halas, refunding season-ticket money? And what about players? The average wage in salary and fringe benefits already comes to $25,000 a year for six months of work. Practically all of them are motivated by a deep reverence for the security of hearth, home and family. One can easily imagine what their wives would say if they decided to sit out the season. What about the new house in the country and the swimming pool we had planned? Who will pick up the installments on the ermine stole and the Mercedes convertible?
No wonder they are all trying to keep in shape.