America glistens on game day, while football fans patriotic ways conjure a sense of harmony and unity among neighbors. Football Sundays are a national holiday, with godlike players and playbooks that make “any given Sunday” a catchphrase for every fanbase. This multi-billion dollar industry exists because of the loyal devoted fans, not for any other reason. This battle of billionaire owner’s verses millionaire players is insulting, mostly because it is the fans that are being locked out and not the other way around.
There are 5 primary reasons why franchise owners, the NFL and NFLPA have yet to strike a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) even with a March 4th expiration date. With an economy already suffering and loyal fans on pins and needles, none of the 5 should be considered deal breakers.
1) The 18% Pay Cut
The NFL is a fat-cat industry with revenues totaling about 9 billion dollars this year. Of that money, franchise owners take 40 percent off the top leaving 60 percent for salaries, but claim costs are rising from unexpected expenses. Therefore asking players to take an 18 percent pay cut to compensate for these differences. But, why would players accept an 18 percent pay cut, when the NFL will make over $5 billion from its network television deals even in the event of a 2011 lockout? Additionally, owners have not volunteered to take a pay cut to reduce the alleged rising costs.
If you are anything like me you’re flabbergasted at the massive spoils being fought over, but also curious to see if expenses are truly rising faster than revenues. The NFLPA’s executive director DeMaurice Smith has requested the NFL to open their books to a forensic audit can distinguish fact from fiction, but this has yet to occur.
My Personal Opinion
Middle class Americans are paying for owners and the player’s first class ride down easy street, but nothing is more offensive and unacceptable than the neglect shown to those who support this game. Fans are insulted with the thought of a work stoppage, since we are the ones being penalized and locked out.
I know that with growth comes change, and the NFL has grown exponentially over time. However, owners have taken advantage of their superior position as far back as the merger of the AFL and NFL, and in hindsight it’s nauseating that tax money is used to build stadiums, fans are the one’s financing the game while owners are sitting on their hands chaining America’s game up; you sicken me!
2)18 Game Seasons
The major point of contention between NFL owners and the NFLPA is the proposed 18 game solution. Increasing “the pot,” as Roger Goodell describes it, will solve the revenue-sharing problem, and the most logical way to increase the pot is to expand regular season by 2 games.
NFL owners have proposed extending the regular season from 16 to 18 games, by replacing two preseason exhibitions with the real deal. This may make the overall revenue pot larger, but why should players want to play more full contact regular season games for same pay and risk more injury? Lastly, more games means more players needed to compensate for the amount of players lost for the season on the Injury Reserve list. That in turns results in other incurred expenses to create a larger roster.
My Personal Opinion
Past NFL alumnus paved the golden highways that current players, owners and staff ride today. Therefore, this ridiculous fight owners initiated is insulting to footballs past.
Players put their bodies on the line and compete for records in every game and on every snap. To once again increase regular season, not only belittles established records, but offends both current players and fans. Goodell, has emphatically stated that the fans want an 18 game season and to see more football- He could not be more wrong. Fans want their favorite players healthy on game day and increasing the regular season cuts career expectancy from 3.6 years to 2.4 years. Thereby limiting players professional playing career.
3) Rookie Wage Scale
Management’s prime concern is the exorbitant and wasteful spending on rookies. Establishing a rookie wage scale would free up more than a billion dollars during the term of a five-year agreement. As a result, owners would be forced to redistribute money to veterans and retired players. Also, a new entry-level pay system would end rookie holdouts that damage dealings between players and teams, there by eliminating complexities in rookie contracts.
My Personal Opinion
Yes, rookies should be paid fairly, but they should not be among the highest-paid NFL players before playing a single down or even suiting up!
In 2009, Sports Illustrated published a list of the 50 highest-paid American athletes, SI reported that 5 NFL rookies drafted in 2009 signed for an average of 21 million in total income. However, in 2010 rookie quarterback Sam Bradford signed with the Saint Louis Rams for a guaranteed nauseating 50 million dollars (worth $78 million overall for six years).
4) Player Benefits
Goodell has stated the NFL would not carry players benefits in the event of a lockout. So on March 4 players policies will be eradicated leaving them and their families without coverage.
Players career average is 3.6 years. If a player is to qualify for post career benefits they must complete 3 accredited years and 3 games making them eligible for 5 years of coverage. However, if the regular season increases to 18 games and the average career expectancy decreases to 2.4 years, how will players qualify?
My Personal Opinion
NFL alumni fought for free agency and medical benefits. To me, it seems all parties involved have forgotten the roots of this game, forgotten the players that made this game, and do not appreciate or respect the painstaking fight it took to make the game all that it is today. Roots, tradition, and the history of football make the game American and it is painful to see players fight for post career health benefits after retiring. If players are going to be forced into an eighteen game season the time required for such benefits needs to be adjusted accordingly.
5) Trust and Differences
The NFL says it cares about player safety, however if there is a lockout and players stop making owners money players policies will be terminated forcing them to purchase COBRA; basically have a good life.
On the flip side the NFLPA is responsible for 1900 players and want to make sure that benefits are increased for retired players, risks for players are limited, and revenue is distributed fairly.
If the NFL and NFLPA come to a stalemate fans will be the ones that ultimately suffer. The NFLPA has estimated 115,000 lost jobs in a lockout and NFL owners should contemplate the collateral damage it will cause if that’s the case. Lastly, Americans have supported football more now than ever even in a weak economy, but it will be a sad ripple effect caused solely by arrogance and greed.
Link below for article published on “Long Term Health Insurance”