The NFL Owners Take Their Ball and Go Home

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (l) represents the NFL Owners, DeMaurice Smith (r) represents the NFL players… who is representing the fans? (Photo Courtesy: Associated Press)

The Green Bay Packers won the first ever Super Bowl. They may have also won the last ever Super Bowl if yesterday’s meeting between the NFL owners’ and the NFLPA was any indication. Good bye, NFL… It was fun while it lasted.

The NFL owners walked out of a negotiating session with the NFLPA yesterday after only a brief period of negotiations . The session was scheduled for seven hours. The player’s association plopped a proposal on the table and the owners’ group got up and walked away. That’s not a negotiation… that’s a group of people (the owners) putting up a front to make it look like they want to make a deal, when in reality, they want to play hard ball.

If you have read Herb Cohen’s “You Can Negotiate Anything” you know a successful negotiation is one where both parties walk away satisfied. Negotiations are a give and take, not a give and leave the room in a huff. If a party is so incensed over an initial offer, either the offer was insulting or the party in question had no real desire to negotiate. The owners got angry at the initial proposal of a 50% percent cut for the players of “total revenue”. The owners heard this as “all revenue”. It appears they didn’t even stay in the room long enough to hear the explanation from the NFLPA.

The players offered to just settle at 50% and not ask to see the owners’ financial records. Part of me thinks the owners should have taken it and signed the deal. Once their books are open for all to see, there will be little sympathy from the paying public… especially the 10% or so who are out of work right now. NFL owners have franchises that are worth billionsto hundreds of millions of dollars. On the flip side, NFL players make hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year to play a game. Somehow, I don’t think the player’s are getting any sympathy, either. This is a battle of billionaires vs. millionaires and Joe Lunchbucket NFL fan is caught in the middle.

The NFL owners got particularly angry at the NFLPA’s use of American Rights at Work to show how NFL cities will lose $150 million per game and how 150,000 people will be put out of work by a lockout . The owners are accusing the players of using these figures as a “publicity stunt”, but the reality is… IT’S REALITY. Saying 150,000 people will be out of work by a lockout is pretty much a fact when you consider ticket takers, ushers, concession workers, NFL team administrative staff, cameramen, officials, etc. Let’s not forget how much money is tied up in Fantasy Football and wagering on NFL games.

It’s honestly hard to take up sides on this issue… again, it’s billionaires v. millionaires… and I’m currently not a millionaire (although I am hoping to change that Saturday night with the right Powerball numbers). But the players appear to want to work things out. The owners look like the villains here. How can ANY of them cry poverty?

NFL owers are guaranteed well over $100 million per year in revenue from the TV deal. Their player salary expenses are fixed by the salary cap… or was when there WAS a cap. The cap number is determined by the TV revenue. So when you consider adding the revenue from tickets, concessions, advertising, apparel, and other licensing rights, you would have to be an idiot to lose money. Yeah, yeah, I know… Dan Snyder… but besides Snyder, no NFL owner should be in the red after a season, not even Jacksonville. That’s why the NFL owners won’t open their books without a fight.

I’m not even going to get into the whole 16 vs. 18 game discussion… we’ll save that one for later!

So, the bottom line here is, if there is any kind of work stoppage in the NFL and games are indeed canceled, the NFL owners will have succeeded in severely wounding the most prosperous professional league on the planet. Face it, the NFL WILL lose fans over a work stoppage, and they won’t come back very easily. Baseball had to introduce interleague play and turn a blind eye to steroid usage to bring fans back. The NBA and NHL still haven’t recaptured their lost fan bases and probably never will.

The fact of the matter is people will find other things to do on Sunday afternoons. We all have six months to figure out what it will be.

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Article by John McKenzie

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brian Clapp, Brian Clapp. Brian Clapp said: NFL Owners take their ball and go home, is walking away a tactic or just a front for something worse? #sportsbiz […]

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