It is February 11th. With the March 3rd deadline quickly approaching, the owners and players continue to squabble. Right now, it appears a lockout is inevitable. As per a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the NFL Players Association and the League canceled Thursday's scheduled meeting. More importantly, they have not scheduled any future meetings. Despite being a healthy nine billion dollar industry, both sides are at a stalemate. What are the sticking points?
1. Percentage of the gross revenue
2. Rookie wage scale
3. Eighteen game season
As NPR's Mike Pesca points out, a major stumbling block is the way the profits are shared. "All the money goes into the pot, and then the owners take a billion out," Pesca says. "From that point on, the players get almost 60 percent, and the owners get 40 percent. And the owners would like to renegotiate that."
Why do the owners want to renegoitate? As Wonder exclaimed, "Owners, you want to build a monument to yourself with Jerry's World (and $1.7B for cupholders)? The players did not point a gun to your heads to do that madness."
Another pitfall is the rookie wage scale. For whatever reason, the current system allows rookies (first round selections) to make obscene amounts of money. It is a money pit for agents and first round picks. However, the League and Union cannot agree upon ameliorating this festering wound. According to profootballtalk.com, the league proposed a system including five-year deals for first-round picks and four-year contracts for players drafted in all other rounds; the union wants maximum deals of four years in rounds one through three and three years in rounds four through seven. Too bad these avaricious a##holes have not read Wonder's and Sports Illustrated Ross Tuckers' solution to this dilemma. Have shorter rookie contracts!
An eighteen game season has been proposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell because FANS WANT IT! Last week, during his State of the League address, Goodell said, "We started this with the fans. The fans have clearly stated that they don’t like the preseason. We have a 20-game format, 16 regular season games and four preseason games, and the fans have repeatedly said the preseason games don’t meet NFL standards." This is a ruse concocted by Goodell to garner public support for the owners. Again, this is a money grab. An eighteen game season would be a mechanism to increase revenue. By playing more games, the NFL can make more money. Is it about money or player safety? The players are against an expanded season because they think this would lead to more injuries. As a result of more injuries, the quality of the product would diminish. Even though most of the owners do not think this is true, an eye-opening report on Esquire.com refutes the owners' thinking. In other words, according to a 10 page paper titled "Dangers of the Game", more games would engender more injuries. Armed with this report, do the Players Union have a trump card? NO! Ultimately, the one who possesses the gold sets the rules. In this case, the owners have the upper hand. Regardless of the deadline, the owners will still get paid because of the television money. Yes. CBS, NBC, ESPN, and FOX will fork over money to the owners. Incredulous. On March 4th, in my opinion, the owners will lockout the players. Unless the Players Union makes concessions, at this point it seems unlikely there will be a 2011 season. Sad. Very Sad.