As this hasn't been put on this blog yet as a posting by itself and since we all know the media slant on the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals, I decided to put my thinking on the blog towards the NFL Lockout. And as hard as it is for me to say it, I support the owners in this thing. I'll explain below. I'll also give my thoughts on what I would say is a fair deal.
1. The revenue sharing. In the last CBA, revenue sharing was set forth as such: $1 Billion in revenue was taken away immediately and given to the owners. Then the rest of the Revenues are split 59.6% to the players and 40.4% was given to the Owners. Given that revenues are estimated at $9 Billion, this gives the players $4.8 Billion of the revenue while Owners get $4.2 Billion. The Owners proposal of taking $2 Billion off the top and then splitting the revenues the same would reverse this. The Owners would receive the $4.8 Billion while the Players would get the $4.2 Billion. So if the players are wanting this to be 50/50, why haven't they come to the owners and said we will give $1.5 Billion off the top and then split the revenue with the split the way it is. That way each side would get roughly the same amount.
2. Risk taking. The NFL players are at risk only when they cannot or don't perform on the field. The contract that they sign isn't guaranteed, but if they do under perform the contract, they still get paid the amount that they signed for. And when they feel like they have outperformed their contract, they want to get paid. For the owners, there are tons of risks. Everything from performance on the field to PR in the community, to safety at the stadiums, to vendors, to parking and many more things that come as a risk to them. Any of these things could cause a financial hit to the team and the owners. But is that taken into account when splitting revenue? No.
3. Expenses. Let's see here. the players have the expense of taxes taken out of their fair share of the pie. That is it. Let's see what the owners have taken out of their revenue. Taxes, Personnel, Buildings, Payments on the stadiums, Jets, Upkeep of the practice facilities and stadiums, insurance for the players and others, coaching staffs, trainers, franchise fees, hotel rentals, per diems, bus fees, and a whole host of other things. So if the players want to be "partners" with each NFL team, then why aren't they offering to pick up half of these expenses? Oh right, they are "employees" when it comes to that, but not when it comes to anything else.
4. Stadiums. I live in the Minnesota Vikings neck of the woods. And they have been trying for a new stadium now for about a decade now. The plan for a new stadium in Arden Hills has the vikings paying about 40% of a new stadium. That would be about $450 Million. So if the Vikings are making what the Bills reportedly have over the past 10 years in profit, they would come out with $25 Million in profit in a decade. That is $2.5 Million per year in profit because of the new stadium. And the players are making over $100 Million per year playing for the Vikings. Tell me how that is splitting thing evenly. And before you get on the bandwagon of how owners have cities and states helping them, let me ask you this: Where are the "partners" of the owners, the players in all of this? No where to be seen. Then there is this problem from fans. They want all the modern amenities that the newer stadiums have. But yet they complain about prices and financing stadiums. Ask yourself if you went to a football game next year and you had to attend it in the Old Veteran's Stadium, the Metropolitan Stadium in the Twin Cities, Gillette Stadium in Boston, or even The Orange Bowl in Miami, would look around at your surroundings and say that this is not acceptable? Yes you would. So get your business again, the teams must refurnish and rebuild stadiums to cater to your need for something better. It is human nature. And if owners need to continuously improve their facilities on their dime, why shouldn't they look at the players and all the money that they are making and say why aren't you helping us out here, "partner"?
5. Competitive balance. The players in this litigation strategy that they have decided on could permanently damage the NFL. Right now, you have 28 out of 32 teams that have a chance at getting to the playoffs. But if the players and their litigation win, you are going to see the disparity of baseball only on steroids. There will be no revenue sharing. That is because the antitrust laws on the books at a Federal Level will say that the owners cannot collude to keep salaries in line with one another. So while you might have 32 teams in the NFL, there are going to be the haves and have nots. Both in terms of teams and players. Because while you have no salary cap, you have no minimum either. So the minimum veteran salary will not be there. Watch as a long snapper gets paid $50,000 for the season. Another thing that will be negotiated is insurance. Teams won't have to keep policies on the players. Everything that the players take for granted will have to be negotiated. Per diem, travel, clothing, etc. will be different for everybody. And practice habits will change as well. Since the teams will have to be their own separate business, they can tell their players how long and when they are going to practice. There won't be any rules on when you can and cannot practice. Trades will become a thing of the past. You cannot trade an employee to another business for another. I know this all sounds stupid, but this is the ultimate endgame on the path that the sham decertified NFLPA is taking.
There is an old expression that the players have.
Players play, Coaches coach, and Owners own. During this lockout, we have the Players trying to play and own. Own something they have no business in trying to own. And that is all the power in the NFL. While I don't like the lockout and absolutely would hate the missing of any games, the owners should have the right to say how they want to run the business of football. And if it takes the not playing of the entire 2011 season for that to happen, I understand it and support it. Most of us fans don't follow the individual players, otherwise we would have new favorite teams every couple of years. We support the team and the players that are on that team. The players seem to have forgotten that fact. The league is bigger than the players.