The NFL and the NFL Players Association released a joint statement, letting the sporting world know they have a formal negotiating session planned for Saturday. Hooray for them. And pardon us for being just a bit skeptical on the timing. Some might use stronger language, suggesting it's nothing more than fertilizer.

Anyone notice what happens this week? The Super Bowl? Sort of a big game?

There's no doubt the league does not want to detract from its biggest game and a de facto holiday in this country. The stench of a possible lockout -- and two sides screwing up a terrific product -- certainly would do the trick. Now both sides can point to Saturday as the first step in avoiding one. Is it really? If they want to get serious, why not start several days sooner. Like now. Then we'd know both sides are serious. And no joint statement would be needed to let us know.