The NFL and NFL Players Association did not need a lockout or strike to develop a new collective bargaining agreement. After months of negotiations, the longest lockout in league history ended on July 25, 2011 following a preliminary dispute that allowed some of the league`s revenues to be reclassified for the purposes. This comparison allowed team owners to prevent a small percentage from being included in future salary caps.  The transaction was conditional on the NFLPA re-forming a syndicate and incorporating the terms of the transaction into a new CBA.   Players reported in July 2011 to training camps and voted in favor of the reunification of the NFLPA as a union. Following the confirmation of the vote on July 31, 2011, the NFLPA began six days of negotiations that resulted in the signing of a new CBA on August 5, 2011.  As part of the agreement, the playoffs will be modified next season to include an additional wildcard team from each conference. This means that only one team from each conference receives a first-round bye, the No. 2 seeds facing the No. 7 seeds at Wild Card Week-End instead of getting a Bye.
In total, the first weekend of playoff action will consist of six games In November 1989, the 8th Court of Appeals ruled that team owners were exempt from federal cartel laws as long as players were properly represented by a union.  In the same year, the NFLPA decided as a union and stated that its union status offered more protection to owners than to players.  The NFL remained without a collective agreement until 1993.  “We are pleased that the players voted in favour of ratifying the proposed new CBA, which will bring significant benefits to all current and retired players, increase employment, ensure continued progress in player safety and provide our fans with greater and better football,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We appreciate the tireless efforts of the executive committee members of the NFLPA Management Board and management, both of whom have spent nearly a year in detailed and good faith negotiations to achieve this comprehensive and transformative agreement. After the first two games of the 1987 season, the players went on strike for the free agency.  In response to the strike, the team owners took replacements and continued the regular season after a week. Several well-known players, including Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor and Tony Dorsett, crossed the picket lines to reintegrate their teams with these new replacements.   On October 15, players voted to end the strike and file a complaint against the restrictions imposed by the free agency in the courts.
 In January 1988, Justice David Doty sided with the players and ruled that the non-protection of the first restrictions on refusal and compensation of free agents was not protected by the work exemption from antitrust laws.  But in July 1988, Doty refused to issue an injunction that exempted players from the restrictions and ruled that the Federal Norris-LaGuardia Act prevented the courts from issuing injunctions in labour disputes.  He called on both parties to return to the negotiating table in preparation for an antitrust process.  Key features of the 2011 CBA included changes in health and safety, including a reduction in the number of off-season exercises, a ban on “two-day” training camps, and a limitation of contact practices in both pre-season and regular season.   The new CBA also included increases in player performance, including retroactive pension increases for retired players and the creation of a neurocognitive advantage for players with concussions and similar injuries.