Archive for February, 2011

The show must go on

Posted: February 8, 2011 in NFL

It’s now that time of the year: the National Football League has declared a world champion from the Super Bowl, the ever-so popular Pro Bowl has run it’s course (hope you caught the sarcasm), teams are scrambling to find the next-best bargain in free agency and college athletes begin to prepare and prove themselves in The Final Judgment, or what we call the NFL Combine.

What has seemed to be a cyclical time period in years past has now halted in front of one major obstacle: the collective bargaining agreement.

It seems to be a confusing and sort of vague subject for the common fan to get a grasp of, so let me break it down for you:

  • Two years ago, NFL owners opted out of the then current CBA contract because they believed the players got the bigger piece of the “pie” (which in reality they did, taking in roughly 60% of a team’s revenue)
  • During the tough times of our slumping economy, owners want to reconstruct the agreement to make it more even, such as aiding them in stadium debts from renovations and repairs as well as other needs. To accommodate this the players’ salaries must be cut.
  • When the owners chose to opt out, the contract was scheduled to expire March 3rd after the 2010 season. Once it does hit the 3rd of March, owners can choose to “lockout” their players by not paying them or holding any team-sponsored activities. Players may respond by forming together as a union and file an anti-trust lawsuit/go on strike.
  • The NFL Draft will occur but teams cannot sign draft picks, restricted and unrestricted free agents, or perform trades. Owners cannot really come in contact with their players.
  • It comes down to this: owners want roughly $1 billion off of revenue and implement an 18% pay cut to the players while players want the same deal from previous years. (courtesy of

After all that technical red tape, nobody wants to see a lockout. Better yet, no player, owner, merchandiser or blue-collared fan can afford to see a lockout occur. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell believes that there will be an agreement before the expiration date. However, with all the media commotion and the tension between both sides of the argument, it could be a toss-up on how long this circus will last. In order to see another day of football a few things need to occur.

First off, and of course the most ideal circumstance, is that the media needs to stop hyping up the commotion and let the two sides figure it out. The fans of America do need to be updated on this current crisis, but I think it’d be better off if we didn’t see the NFL Players Association homepage announce¬† that “Union Representative¬† Rodgers Named Superbowl MVP”. It only adds more fuel to the fire.

Next off is the classic case of compromise: Owners want to add two more additional games to their schedules to bring in more money while players attest that their bodies take enough damage as it is. And the redundant dilemma of the rich arguing who should be richer. Why don’t you try this on for size: getting rid of the bye week, ultimately just adding one game while eliminating or decreasing preseason games to lessen the chance of a player injury.

And for the salary impasse? Players and owners/personnel should split their¬† respective revenue and re-work contracts with more incentives. Contracts with more incentives+player’s desire to gain more money+the debacle of ownership debt= Players playing (and getting paid) at the level they deserve while owners don’t feel regretful in unloading cash into their roster because of the high generation of revenue. If players are performing well, the more likely a fan will pay the X amount of dollars to see them play. It’s not rocket science.

What also needs to be looked at are rookie salaries. It was discussed that the NFL was looking into adopting a system the NBA currently has for it’s rookies by using a maximum salary cap to sign draft picks. It makes one sick to think that former 1st round picks-turn-busts Vince Young, JaMarcus Russell, and Matt Leinart walked away with tens of millions of dollars while not living up to the hype of their glamorous college careers.

Lastly, it was enjoyable to see that the NFL and the NFLPA finally met for the first time in months, in which players such as Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as well as owners, like Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, were able to discuss the agreement. This is the foundation for what should/needs to happen in the future: owners and players actually meeting, rather than bickering, to deliberate on how to make things work.

It truly is a waiting game for us fans. Do I believe that there will not be 2011-12 season at all? Doubt it. But with the slow pace it’s already taking, you can only cross your fingers for so long.

Hey, at least pitchers and catchers report to camp in one week…

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and head of NFLPA DeMaurice Smith