NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell now finds himself hosting conference calls with the season ticket holders of each fan base. He chatted with the Titans season ticket holders this week and a more detailed write-up can be found in an article by the Associated Press on USA Today. There are a number of great quotes, but the problem lies in that the great quotes are from the Titans season ticket holders and not from Commissioner Goodell.
“Get everybody to sit down and stay until they work out some agreement and get this thing behind them before the NFL loses all credibility,” said Phillip, who shares eight season tickets with his son.
DING! DING! DING! We have a winner! Phillip gets it. Why can’t the NFL (owners and Goodell) or the NFLPA that is no longer a players association but acts as one throughout the litigation process while not actually finding themselves at the bargaining table get it?.
You won’t see many articles from me about the lockout, the litigation process, the bargaining or the whining. So, I’ll keep this short. It appears that both sides are currently employing a “wait and see” approach to bargaining. While bargaining the word does exist as a verb and implies action, neither side feels that action is the best way to carry out, well….said action.
The owners have locked the players out and are wiling to sit in their offices until the players cave. The players think that they will get a better deal if they wait. The owners say that the players really got a great deal last time (they did) and that the deal will not be as good this time. While the players did get a really good deal in the previous collective bargaining agreement, they want an even better one this time. I read yesterday that the players want 50% of all profits. Don’t you wish you could demand that of your boss?
The previous arrangement held that the owners took 1 Billion (yes Billion with a “b”) dollars off the top of profits and then gave the players 59.6% of all profits. That means the players were looking at roughly 60% of 8 Billion dollars. So, the employer made the first Billion and then the employees got more than half. That explains why no one complained.
On the other side of the argument, the players do deserve a great deal of money. These are not replaceable factory workers, these are players in the NFL. You can’t find other guys like this, you can barely find these guys. Their job requires an elite level of mental and physical strength. They have every right to hold out for a better deal. The problem translates into a bad episode of ‘Divorce Court’. Both sides squabble and then complain how the other one didn’t do what they were supposed to do while married, or contractually bargained together in an agreement, and now they both want everything. One side can’t be reasonable because the other one will attack it, like blood in the water. Speaking of blood in the water, here is a great quote from Saints Pro Bowl QB Drew Brees from NBC’s Pro Football Talk:
“Ever since Gene Upshaw passed away — I’m just going to lay it all out there — the owners saw blood in the water,” Brees told Jim Trotter of SI.com.
Yeah….it’s gotten that bad. If you didn’t know, Gene Upshaw previously ran the NFLPA. Thankfully, Brees comes back with a better quote.
“Their philosophy was, We’re going to give you a very subpar deal, a slap-in-the-face deal, and hope that you’ll accept it because hopefully we’ve intimidated you enough into thinking that this is a take-it-or-leave-it deal, and you’re just going to succumb to the pressure,” Brees said. “Well, guess what. We’re a lot more informed and educated than in the past, and we’re much better businessmen than you think and we’re going to stand up for what is right and what is fair. Fifty-fifty is fair. It’s been fair for the last 20 years and I think the game has done pretty well over the last 20 years. I think franchise values have gone up at a pretty good rate over the last 20 years. So you can’t sit here and tell me that the system is broken.”
The story adds up. The problem is that the original deal the owners offered the players association, back when it was a players association, seemed fair for both sides. The players side sounds as a free agent does, to me. They operated with a great deal before and they feel they deserve an even better one as their next deal. Is it right? Is it wrong? Apparently yes resides as the answer to both questions.
A final thought from former Cardinals, Giants and Rams Pro Bowl QB Kurt Warner:
“I’m still optimistic that they’re going to find a way to make sure there’s football,” Warner said. “The players have too much to lose. And as much as I hate to say it, at some point, the players have to give in. And, hopefully, they can gain some other things on their side. But ultimately, they have too much to lose.”