There have been several moments when Judge Arthur Boylan -- mediator, babysitter, peace negotiator, the antidote to saber rattling -- has stepped in to break up verbal sparring between NFL players and owners.
One such moment happened during a recent negotiating session.
While a source wouldn't discuss what the particular argument was about, there was a moment when voices were raised. Boylan made a gesture with his hand signaling for everyone to calm down. The tempers cooled and talks continued in a more reasonable manner, I'm told.
It was also Boylan who urged the players and owners to negotiate late into the night this past Thursday and into Friday morning, and as the NFL Network first reported, Boylan's efforts led to the two sides making major progress on the revenue split issue. The players and owners are scheduled to meet with Boylan again on Tuesday in New York.
Boylan has earned the respect and trust of both sides, according to player and management sources. His sense of calm and professionalism has caused the talks to stay mostly focused minus several near blowups.
Boylan has been patient but that patience will last only so long. The disgrace of the players and owners failing to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement despite being so close goes beyond the inability of figuring out how to divide billions -- it should be as simple as, to paraphrase Bum Phillips, you get yours'n and I get mines'n. The other problem is the 8th Circuit elephant in the room.