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If Games Are Missed, Blame The Owners

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If Games Are Missed, Blame The Owners

When this entire labor situation began, long before the lockout and the court cases began, the league repeatedly made the case that the economic model the league was operating under at the time was "broken" and unsustainable. They maintained that the last deal made with NFL players was weighted far too much toward the players side.

Thus, the league opted out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement so that they could basically get back the concessions they made during negotiations between the two sides in 2006 when then commissioner Paul Taglibue and then head of the NFLPA Gene Upshaw made sure labor peace would stay intact for Taglibue's retirement.

Fast forward to today. The lockout has long past the point of being the longest work stoppage the league has ever seen. The owners, based on all the reporting that I find credible, have gotten back a whole lot of what they gave away back in 2006, if not more. The players have offered an "all revenue" model that pretty much gives the owners what they've sought from the beginning - a large recalibration of the percentage of the pie being given to the players.

On top of this, the owners would still be allowed expense credits for funding of stadium construction. The rookie wage scale, which has reportedly been slowing down talks of late, is already a huge win for the owners. Now they are simply trying to squeeze out a fifth year for first round deals. In addition, the league is set to expand its Thursday night package to go all season long - a boon to revenue streams but a development that is hated by most players, not to mention coaches due to the short weeks it gives teams to rest and prepare.

The one area where the players can honestly claim a victory is the owners reported concession to a mandatory minimum spending increase on the salary cap floor, requiring teams to spend close to a hundred percent of the salary cap. Not only that, it would require real cash spending - no more theoretical cap figures for general managers to play around with.

Despite this concession, the owners are coming out ahead in almost every other way. And really, that was expected. But the deadline for getting teams into camp and preseason games played is fast approaching. With both the players side and the league putting out statements this morning saying its time to make a deal, the time has come for both sides to put up or shut up.

However, the possibility exists that things could stall, fall apart, go backward - whatever. If that happens, and regular season games end up being missed, make no mistake - it will be because the owners were unwilling to compromise. The players have moved plenty off their position while the league has stood mostly still.

It's time for Roger Goodell and DeMaruice Smith to grab the coffee and get this done.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

MKEPanther's picture

Agreed.

Even Drew Brees is ready to witness Drew Brees get chased around by the centaur that is Clay Matthews, III.

Jim's picture

centaur, sweet

BC_Cab's picture

Zero regular season games will be missed. The only game in question is the HOF game in Canton. And that's usually the worst game of the year...two teams playing an EXTRA exhibition game at a high school stadium. Big deal.

Oh, and after a deal is reached (with no games missed), I'm gonna love all the morons who proclaim: "COULDN'T THIS HAVE BEEN FIGURED OUT MONTHS AGO??"

jeremy's picture

100%

The fifth year and rookie signing deadlines are pretty lame. Players have no choice in where they start their NFL careers. They at least deserve the dignity of deciding if and when they want to sign a contract with their only option.

bryce's picture

great point. the owners need to compromise on the 5th year thing. personally, i think 5 years is too long. if a guy has earned his keep and is a great player, he should be allowed to test the market. the 5th year is a moot point most of the time anyhow, by the end of the 4th year most clubs have either extended the guys contract and paid him or cut him because he was a bust. the owners just need to give in on this.

Clay Toporski's picture

Not for nothing - but as a fan, I would actually like to see some of these players stick around without them leaving for some big paycheck elsewhere. Plus, the owners pretty much have all of the leverage right now. I've been on the players' for a long time, but if this really is the final hurdle in getting a deal done, then they should give in, get paid and play some football. In my opinion, of course...

Ryan's picture

While I think the owners are to blame for being greedy and often unreasonable, I blame the players for this process dragging out and putting preseason games in jeopardy. If they continued talks rather then taking this to court, a deal could have been struck long ago. Pretty much all the legal experts knew right away that the players would win in the circuit court and the owners would win in the appeals court The only thing accomplished was delaying a new CBA for months.

PackersRS's picture

In other news, HOLY F*CK JAMES HARRISON IS ON THE LOOSE!

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/13/james-harrison-on-roethl...

Clearly, clearly the best LB in the league. While one calls a play before it happens and makes the game-saving forced fumble, the other calls out his QB and disappears in games.

Jim's picture

Harrison is NUTS, Mendenhall is a fumble machine? Coughed it up in the SB yeah, but over 300 carries and 2 fumbles in the reg season come on man. Not to mention the Goodell and Roethlisberger comments. Who do you think will dole out punishment first, the Rooneys or the league? and coupled with Ward, there's steam comin outta Tomlin's ears right now.

MarkinMadison's picture

"The lockout has long past the point of being the longest work stoppage the league has ever seen."

The 1982 strike took 57 days, and ran from September 21 to November 15. No games played. The 1987 strike resulted in the loss of regular season games for one week, and the witnessing of games with street free agents and strike-breakers for several weeks afterwards. Technically, I suppose you're right - this is the longest work stoppage ever. But no real games have been lost yet - at most, maybe one exhibition game.

All of that said, you're right, the owners need to get this done. Now. Or they need to be blamed. I just don't know how they can be held accountable to anyone.

P.S. I think "past" should be "since passed."

packeraaron's picture

It's the longest, well over 100 days, regardless of games. Just because they aren't playing games doesn't mean they wouldn't be working.

john driscoll austin texas's picture

those sorry bastard owners, most inherited their franchises, almost as bad as Wall Street(which is impossible) over 100 million dollars a year to have a business??? before selling a warm beer or $50 parking?? the entire show is the game and players

wgbeethree's picture

"the entire show is the game and players"

That's totally NOT the case though IMO. It's not the game or the players. It's the teams, the league, and the history.

Every other professional football league has failed miserably so it's clearly not just "the game" IMO.
75% of fans (totally made up and estimated number) are fans of TEAMS for life. It doesn't matter who is wearing that jersey people will cheer for them or hate them based on nothing more than that. Urlacher, Moss, Allen, etc. etc. all "suck" and are "hated" by Packer fans but should they sign with the Packers their jerseys would sell like hot cakes. Look no more than to BF for proof. An entire fanbase virtually "worshipped" him and another entire fanbase spent 15 years calling him an "overrated d-bag". That changed almost the second he switched jerseys. That means it isn't the players IMO.

I truly believe if the NFLPA decided to try to start their own league and both began competing against each other the NFL would be the only one standing in five years.

Cole's picture

The owners and their lawyers should be strung up from the goalposts for wasting hours of my life this summer and threatening the game we love so they can buy an extra yacht.

Ruppert's picture

I cannot stand to see any piece, anywhere, favoring one side over the other, even if it is just a headline to grab some readers. Neither side is any more or less at fault than the other. Period. End of story. They both suck.

Who's to say that the economic model is not so broken that further concessions by the NFLPA are, in fact, needed? Who's to say what a "reasonable" profit for an NFL owner is? Who's to say what a reasonable wage for a pro football player is? It's all arbitrary, and it's all based on revenue and projections of how much that revenue may or may not increase.

Bottom line is, both sides are still jeopardizing the fans' enjoyment in seeing a regular season football game on time, and in the quality of play that we all expect.

Again: Both sides suck. Equally.

Jack's picture

Amen to that, Ruppert.

MarkinMadison's picture

There comes a time in every negotiation where one side or the other is being unreasonable in terms of working to get a deal done. This 5 year thing is the second example of the owners doing what appears to me (on the outside) to be regressive bargaining. Generally, the idea is that you move forwards towards a deal; going backwards is generally considered to be unprofessional. Either the owners' caucus is in that much disarray, or they are willing to get down in the sewer. That's why I don't think it's unfair to lay some blame at their feet at this point. Also, I'd be a lot more sympathetic towards the owners if so many of their business weren't built on taxpayer-funded stadiums. This is not a traditional business, large or small. These guys are not out there risking their shirts, any more than your local electric company.

asshalo's picture

I have to agree with your reasoning. Seems like pennies compared to there overall revenue share gains.

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