The NFL world exhaled a collective sigh of relief, even if it could still turn out to be only a short reprieve from asphyxiation. When the deadline for negotiations was extended until 5pm next Friday, we all received a shot of hope that the players and owners were coming to their collective senses. A work stoppage would be extremely damaging to all NFL related professional football entities; the owners, the players, the middle-management coaches and most importantly, the paying customers. Dave brought us the news that the players internally agreed to a 10 day extension, which was followed by the owners signing on for a seven day extension, with the weekend off. I guess they had hot dates that they had to climb onto their private jets to make, instead of working weekends.
This NY Times piece from yesterday does a great job of recapping the effects of yesterday's extension. One interesting gem it contained was that the owners had to be convinced into the extension. They were very intent to allow the CBA to expire, lock the players out and watch the union decertify.
There remain enough separations between the parties, and enough factions among owners, that there was not even initial unanimity among the members of the owners’ management council executive committee to extend the deadline for talks. Commissionerhad to convince some members of the 10-man committee that there was an upside to extending the deadline.
I don't understand how people can side with the owners here. They are talking about taking away your Football Sundays. Your fantasy football roster moves. The one main rooting interest most of us have outside of family and friends. Even here on BTB, we get into heated debates as some members choose sides on who is right or wrong. For what it's worth, I'm of the school of thought that professional sports is a unique business model. I am paying Jerry Jones and the NFL for the right to watch Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarcus Ware perform athletic feats that can only be done at this elite level by a few hundred people world wide. There is no final product. There is nothing tangible that the consumer gains from investing in this product.
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The best comparison I can make isn't even a true one. I liken this to the TV and movie industry. The large studios are responsible for delivering us the entertainment. They own the studios, purchase the scripts, pay the thousands of employees that work on them, et cetera et cetera. However, I'm not paying $10 for a movie ticket or $30 for the Blu-Ray because of anything that they did. I am paying it because they secured the talents of the best producers, the best actors for the job. If a studio creates a program with unheralded talents, then by all means the studio deserves the large majority of the revenue. But if the reason I'm paying the money is I want to see a Denzel Washington movie, than Denzel deserves the large percentage. My money will follow the collection of talent, whether it is packaged by MGM or Universal. They aren't the visionaries that created the medium, just as the owners aren't the visionaries that created pro football. If the guy that invented football was talking about locking the players out because his cut wasn't big enough, then I'm listening.
That's how I see the NFL. If the next 32 rich guys owned these teams, my enjoyment level would not change one bit. If the next best 1,500 players were substituted for the current players? Yes, my enjoyment would decrease significantly because the product would suffer. It's that simple, one group can be replaced and get the same value, the other can't. Now. the league manages just fine without certain stars. Nobody's revenue misses a beat when Tom Brady goes down for the season. That doesn't mean that the team's revenue is independent of the players. We pay to see the collection of greatness.
A poster asked me in a previous thread, if the entire roster of the Cowboys was traded to the Eagles, would I start to root for Philly? I find that to be an unimportant argument, as the new players would also be elite athletes at the peak of their profession.That's not a reason to side with the owners and the 'name on the front of the jerseys'.
And again, this is independent of being supportive of the players. That is what I can't understand about the mindset backing the owners. The owners are the ones saying 'We will shut down the games unless the players agree to us BACKING OUT OF A DEAL WE THOUGHT WAS FAIR 4 YEARS AGO. How do you support the side that is going to take away your football over a deal that they agreed to? Over salaries in contracts that they typed up? It makes absolutely no logical sense for anyone other than an NFL owner to feel this way.
If the players were considering going on strike, I'd be siding with the owners. I'd be ranting 'how can you complain about your earth shattering salaries that you get paid to play a game?' My loyalties don't lie with either one of these groups; neither directly puts any money in my pocket.
The NFL is a strong entity that will survive any stoppage. However, there will be damage to the game's image and casual fans might not be so quick to buy a Dallas Cowboys coffee mug, or those flags that fly from car windows. The fans might not be so interested as to pay $300 for Sunday Ticket, or $200 for a seat in those stadiums. I know I will make it a personal point of protest to spend as little on the NFL as possible if they cancel a portion of the season. I'm not going to stop rooting for the Cowboys obviously, but I will stop financially supporting the greed. I have the feeling there are others that feel the same way.