Well, now that the Super Bowl's over (and the Green Bay Packers have killed that awful "can Roethlisberger redeem his off-the-field crimes by winning a football game" media narrative), it's time to focus on the next big thing on the NFL calendar. Most years that would be the NFL Draft, but most years the NFL and the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) aren't trying to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement with less than a month to go before the old one expires.
Negotiations should have started on the CBA long before now, but no one was expecting Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA's president and chief labor negotiator on pretty much every CBA talk ever held, to die in mid-2008. The search for Upshaw's successor was a long and painful one that dragged on for nine months before DeMaurice Smith was selected. Even so, that was almost a year ago. For whatever reason -- posturing, stubborness, pride -- CBA talks didn't start in earnest until a few days ago.
Also more or less new to the job is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who succeeded Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Goodell was working for the NFL during the two seasons the NFLPA went on strike in 1982 and 1987, but only as an intern and PR guy, respectively. This will be the first collective bargaining agreement negotiation that will involve neither Upshaw nor Tagliabue, who hammered out the first CBA in the early 90s. Which isn't to say that Goodell and Smith aren't qualified to handle the talks, but both men have little or no history with this particular process, and that should be enough to give anyone pause.
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They aren't the only ones new to this process, either. Only eleven owners were around during the replacement player season in '87, and only seven owned teams during the strike-shortened '82 season. That means just a third of the owners even know what it was like to face serious labor problems, and the number's only that high if you count the city of Green Bay and what's left of Al Davis. Sure, a much higher percentage were around for the various CBA extension talks that've occurred every couple years, but slightly renegotiating a CBA already in place isn't exactly the same thing.
The current CBA was supposed to run through 2012 or thereabouts, but the owners took advantage of an opt-out clause in 2008, just two years after the last extension had been approved. The renegotiated CBA wasn't that much different from what it had been prior to 2006, but one of the few changes made proved to be too much for the owners to take. Here, I'll let Brian Billick explain (from his book More Than a Game, which was an invaluable source for this article):
"In the previous deal, the players received 64.25 percent of defined gross revenues (DGR), based solely on broadcast revenues, ticket sales, and merchandise sales. The new agreement gave the players just 59.5 percent, but that was of total revenue, not just of DGR. With that, the owners' profit margins began to diminish."
Like most of you, my first response to this was well, so what? The NFL is a $7 billion a year industry -- as in billion, with a B. There's plenty of money to go around. Well, yes and no. The league's revenue sharing program helps keep smaller teams financially stable, and the salary cap makes sure no one can outspend everyone else, but prior to 2006 the salary cap was based on DGR. Basing it on total revenue meant that the disgustingly large piles of non-shared revenue made by teams in bigger markets was now part of the salary cap equation. For teams like the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, who don't make nearly that much money on the side, that meant having to spend a much greater percentage of their total revenues than the Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins did.
That's even more significant when you consider how heavily in debt many teams are after building new facilities and stadiums -- the Giants and Jets alone are roughly $1.5 billion in the hole after building the new Meadowlands facility. Newer, bigger stadiums means more revenue (much more than moving to a larger market, as Al Davis eventually discovered after a few years in the run-down LA coliseum), but if ticket sales and so forth are disrupted or diminished by a long labor battle, well, that debt becomes a dangerous liability.
Running a professional sports team can be quite lucrative, but it's also a high overhead business -- you can make a ton of money, but only after you spend a four-fifths of a ton first. The additional labor costs brought on by the '06 agreement not only cut in to profit margins, especially for smaller market teams, but also removed funds that in years past had been used for facility upgrages and coaches' salaries.
There are a lot of other sticking points in this negotiation -- an eighteen game schedule, increased health benefits for retired players, etc. -- but the financial bottom line is chief among them. I wish I had a pleasant way of wrapping up this article, but at this point I see no reason to hope that a new CBA will be in place before the old one expires in early March and the players get locked out of all team facilities. As talks stretch on past that deadline, the league will begin to lose money, and the prospect of dividing up an ever-shrinking revenue stream is not going to help a deal get done. I'm hopeful, but not optimistic.
Ok. Wow. I have been trying to post a comment ever since the powers that be "upgraded" this site. Kinda like the NFL "upgraded" the Super Bowl Experience this year, or like the crappy "enhanced" 18-game season idiocy Goodell is pushing.
SA-I tried four different computers and two internet phones in six locations, and havent been able to post a single comment. Seriously, "upgrading" the comment page is killing this site--never mind the lack of new posts, which is understandable if not ideal.
I hope this works.
@Jakee646464 Definatly. Although i dont think he will fall to the Hawks at 25, he would be a major piece in solidfying the left side of our line along with Okung. But you never know what will happen in the draft and I would thrilled if he was still there at 25.
Speaking of the CBA, how do you like the way Matt Hasselbeck backed down from Antonio Cromartie like a little girl. I hate having a pussy as the Hawks quarterback.
Wow....this webpage never has anything anymore. This use to be my favorite webpage on the internet. It seems like I'm here less and less.
Well...let's talk some draft...since the writers on the page don't seem to care anymore.
I have the seahawks in the first round ranking prospects as follows:
1. Mike Pouncey LG
2. Gabe Carimi RT
3. Jake Locker QB
4. Derek Sherrod RT
5. Stephen Paea DT
this website is getting VERY boring where is all the writing. doesn't have to be about much but can be about anything. i mean all the other websites can find something to write about? BORING
@12th_Man_in_AZ well i think our receiving corps is pretty good i mean butler tate williams obo and stokely. what i wouldnt mind is trading maybe obo and williams for a guy who is just on a bad team but can be a playmaker. i mean they are good players but with younder guys around to grow like tate and butler they could really benifit from a guy who can give them some experience. stokely cant do it all. and williams and obo were our starters and the other teams in the league will see that and like to build on it. i dont know who they could get or anything but maybe making a trade for 1 true playmaker would give us still 4 guys who could get us somewhere. as far as the draft, i would love to see us trade down to an early 2nd and a 1st next year and have a better shot at Luck. unless we can get pouncey. then i say draft that mofo and put him at RG put under and center and try our hardest to get Gallery and keep Pitts for depth. then we need to address our RT position. i say keep locklear just in case, and pick someone up via free agency such as Gaither and make them try out. Gaither would win of coarse but we could keep lock for depth. also keep andrews "depth" and we would have solid depth and a great line. CB's ehh where do i start. i love tru but he might be better off as our #2 and us going after namndi i dont think we would land him but we have the money and could use him. but definantly get rid of jennings keep thurmand as our #3 and pick up saftey such as sanders our wilson. and have chancellor challenge them. LB's Keep Curry and Hawthorne, and as much as i hate to say it but get what we can for lofa and hill. this years draft is pretty descent for LB's plus there is a good amount of possible FA's. put hawthorne in the middle and make him our C. he will do great. and that narrows the search for a LB to just an ROLB. DL keep clemons bryant cole mebane brock and balmer. pick up 2 DL's in FA and challenge those guys. chemistry will go a long way. especially for this team who hasns't had it for a while. RB is a position that i like for us. lynch forsett and washington are 3 great RB's. but we need to use all 3. washington is a game changer. plain and simple. i would use him more than forsett only because i think overall he is a better player. if he wouldnt have gotten hurt he would be one of the most feared RB's in the game. which i think he showed with his td's on KR. TE there are some pretty good soonb to be FA's try to snag one and add them to a morrah carlson and baker. another tryout and we will be good. kicker and punter are great. uhhhhhhhhhhhh sorry for the lond chat i just love my hawks. and the typing... i just dont care about haha
@Jakee646464 alright. Since I made a point earlier similar to Jakee's here, I'll stir the pot and throw a topic to the crowd and see what happens.
We can talk up and down about our QB situation and the crossroads we have been in for a few seasons now. Whitehurst only caused more questions than answers and the slow movement to resign Hass to this point makes me think Pete and JS want to move forward or at least let him test free agency, whenever that occurs. So let's talk about another area I am still not content with. Receiver. Too many drops still and not a true playmaker to be our go-to #1. I loved Big Mike Williams last year and am proud of a guy like that who committed to turning his life around to be a talented player once again. He is a quality #2, as Obo is a #3, and I still think Golden can produce better as a slot guy next year and for years to come. Just too good in college not to. With all that being said, what should the Hawks do at WR in the draft and FA this offseason? Let's assume FA happens with a similar make up like this past labor deal. Do the Hawks stray from the JS approach of building young through the draft and go after a Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards, Mike Sims Walker? Do they draft a stud like Jonathon Baldwin early or maybe a pick later like a Titus Young from Boise State? Discuss.
Well, the shiny ax is on the neck of the golden goose.
Over the past 15-20 years I have said goodbye, first to baseball, then later to hockey over labor disputes which resulted in significant loss of games. I suppose football has decided that it will be next.
So for those of you who I have talked to (in some cases for a very very long time) I say a (tentative and heartfelt) farewell. If they go on strike and lose games I will not be back.. Fishing (fish never go on strike), movies and maybe pro-wrestling will keep me marginally amused for the rest of my life.
So hasta la vista! if this is their choice. (if not, see you in the fall!)
Phil N d'Blanc
@PhilNDBlanc lots of fish were "going on strike" not too long ago. Same with birds. And wrestling is fake.... at least you have movies ;)
Unions are the downfall of America and why the Asian countries will eventually own the USA. The players are greed mongers who have never had to work a day in their life and don't give a rats ass about the fans off camera. The players won't lose any sleep seeing the owners go out of business as long as they keep getting 10x what they don't deserve.
you guys do realize you have craped this site up so bad with adds its not worth trying to get past the adds for limited info , to bad
@UWAlum09 @mmf Indeed. Come on guys, two years ago this site rocked and had great debate, content, stats, and prognostications no matter what time of year it was. Yes it is slow as hell right now and the labor unrest is not helping. But the combine in next week, the draft is always topical, and it's still fun to bounce around roster ideas and off-season plans. Where are you guys? It's sad as a die-hard Hawks fan to check this site daily and nothing but just the same old caption from 2 weeks ago and annoying advertisement pop ups. shame.
@mmf I completely agree, this site has been going down the drain since Steffes left. The past month is evident that this site is done, better info elsewhere. Even thought it is slow there is still info to post.
Personally I would think eliminating two pre-season games and lowering season tickets prices. Less wear and tear on athletes and more people who are core fans keep season tickets.
This enables league stability and long term success.
just my 2 cents to dude who climbed Mt. Ranier.
The point being, that I'd like to see those states and municipalities with money tied up in these staduims threaten legal action against the league for a work stoppage. That would help to bring all of those bastards back to the barganing table quick enough.
@LouieLouie I agree with the players union when it comes to some things, ie: no 18 game season, but not all. The owners proposed rookie wage scale is better, in my opinion, than the wages proposed by the player's union. The thing that is holding everything up is that they're arguing over how to split everything up which is going to take time... lotsof it. Both want 60-40 splits, i say settle 50-50.
I know that the owners have a lot of money tied up in the NFL, but they aren't the only ones. The US taxpayer also has a sizable investment in the NFL. First of all, they NFL enjoys a feeder system that is significantly subsidized by the taxpayer; it's called College Football. For instance, who is being asked to pay for the upgrade of Huskey Stadium? This taxpayer subsidzed feeder system is one that 32 eccentric tycoons have nearly dictorial power over who benefits from it.
Also, the taxpayer builds most of the stadiums that the teams play in (Quest Field anyone?). Without the massive taxpayer subsidy, professional football would be dramatically different than it is now. Seattle should never forget what happend to our investment in the arena that the Sonics played in.
I was thinking they might try to extend this CBA until the start of the season so that they have the entire offseason to iron the new one out and the offseason is not affected by the CBA ruling. It makes more sense than letting players and teams suffer through the dysfunction that would ensue if it runs out. Just the two cents of a College Freshman though so what do I know about common sense.... (that was tounge-in-cheek sarcasm there btw)