WEIGHTY DECISION: Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody has a billion-dollar problem on her hands. The judge heard arguments on whether lawsuits that accuse the NFL of glorifying violence and hiding known concussion risks belong in court or in arbitration.
POSSIBLE PATHS: Brody could side with the 4,200 players and let them pursue lawsuits, or she could rule for the league and find that head injuries are covered under health provisions of the collective bargaining agreement. She might also issue a split decision, letting some of the fraud and negligence claims against the NFL move forward in court.
WINDING ROAD: The judge's decision could be worth more than a billion dollars — and is expected to be appealed by either side, spawning years of litigation. About one-third of the league's 12,000 former players have joined the litigation. Some are battling dementia, depression or Alzheimer's disease, and fault the league for rushing them back on the field after concussions.