It is interesting how much momentum and steam the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement talks are picking up. I do not understand why the NFL and the NFLPA have to always wait to the last minute to get down to business. Ultimately bringing in the courts and congress to further widen the debate and settle the issues.
Players are frustrated because of the uncertainty leading into the 2011 off-season. I’ve heard all kinds of rumblings about how DeMaurice Smith is over matched against Roger Goodell and the Shield.
The league will and always have played hardball, that’s what big businesses do, and if they can get the players to crumble and accept something less than desirable it’s a small win for the owners. That’s why we have unions in this country.
But the league understands that the players are the commodity, they learned that lesson in the strike of 1987. The owners thought that the fans would support replacement players (scabs), after averaging 2000 spectators per game the message was loud and clear.
The owners own the shield, uniforms and team logos, but at the end of the day without the likes of Peyton Manning, Darrell Revis, James Harrison and Aaron Rodgers to name but a few, in those uniforms the draw of the NFL is greatly diminished.
What are the issues at hand, MONEY!! The owners would have the public believe that they are losing money, I was born at night, but not last night. With 9 billion in annual revenues the owners are hardly hurting.
They really want to reign in player salaries, but if they are making it they should give the players their pro rata share of the revenues. One reason I call BS on the owners is that they refuse to open their real books to show their yearly revenues.
I never understood that, once a year USA-Today publishes all the salaries for professional athletes, yet you never see the salaries of team owners. Some would say that it’s irrelevant, I would disagree, because the players’ salaries should be in line with the revenues they generated for the owners.
One area where I believe that the owners can make some headway is imposing a salary cap on incoming rookies. I have always viewed it as a joke that a rookie could come into the NFL having never played one down, and yet make more than a 7 year proven veteran at the same position.
The NFL should operate like the NBA and MLB, make them earn the right to make the big dollars. This would create greater competition and the quality of the game would increase exponentially, competition always brings out the best.
If I’m guaranteed $40 million what is my motivation to be great, especially when the money has always been the prize? The great ones realize that the love and passion for the game will take them to heights of greatness, and elite performance and winning will takes care of the money.
An 18 game schedule runs contrary to the safety issues the NFL are pushing. You are talking about 2 more opportunities for players to get hurt, furthermore how will the owners compensate the players for the additional regular season games. The owners would further dilute the players existing salaries by the two added games, while the players I’m sure want their pro rata share of the two additional game added to their salaries.
The health care program will always be up for debate. This affects not only the current, but ex-players as well and speaks volumes about how they’ve been treated by their own union and the NFL. The NFL has the worst player benefits program of all of the major sports, yet NFL players bodies take more of a beating than any other sport.
The league looks at it from the standpoint of we are paying these guys tremendous amounts of money and they are, but the owners wealth is being created on the backs of the players and at the expense of the players’ future health and quality of life.
Every time a player falls on hard times or has health issues and cannot get the necessary assistance from the union and/or league it is a black eye for both the NFL and the NFLPA whether they believe it or not.
There’s enough money to take care of yesterday’s players, who have paved the way for today’s players to earn phenomenal salaries and created a literal money press for the owners, it is the right thing to do. Gene Upshaw’s comment, “I work for the current players, not for the ex-players,” completely blew me away.
I do not know how he could have made such a statement making $3 million plus a year and while watching some of his ex-teammates and NFL brothers suffer. I respect his legacy as a player and a human being, but never such a statement.
Although I have only scraped the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the issues are, when you get down to the real issue at hand it’s always about money. The NFL is trying to justify reigning in salaries, while the players have always felt under paid. The average fan would read that comment and say, I would love to be able to make that kind of money, these guys are greedy, if you had the skill set to do so you would be making it.
I submit to you, why do you go to the movies or watch a sporting event? To be entertained, football players are entertainers, they pay a huge price at the end of the day in terms of the beating their bodies take to entertain and earn a living. Is it ok for Will Smith or Sharon Stone to make $20 million to star in a movie or Beyonce or Lady Gaga to make exorbitant amounts of money for entertaining, yet NFL players are greedy when they ask for their just do.
There may be a lock out, but I assure you there will be no work stoppage when it comes to the regular season. For two reasons, there’s too much money at stake for the players and the owners alike. Secondly, fan viewership and loyalty is at an all time high, suffice to say that football is the most popular sport in the US of A right now, and the NFL owners would be insane to mess that up. Let’s look back at the NBA strike, the MLB strike and the 04-05 NHL strike.
It took a monumental effort for those leagues to recover, Sosa and McGuire homerun duel drew fans back to baseball, Shaq and Kobe’s string of championships helped draw fans back to basketball and although Sid the kid is trying to be the new Gretzky, I’m not sure that the NHL has ever really recovered. Both sides have legitimate gripes and major hurdles that must be overcome, but primarily it is, has and always will be about the Benjamins.
The NFL is a cash cow for the players as well as the owners, both sides are posturing right now because everything boils down to negotiation. The question will be, what are the owners willing to give and what the players are willing to except, and vice versa. It is interesting to listen to the bantering, chest beating and trash talking, if this were a game the refs would be tossing unsportsmanlike conduct flags like crazy.