18

May

NFL Lockout Rant: Players Must Present a Fan-Centric Deal

Smith should put a fan-centric proposal on the table if he still cares about winning the PR war.

The 8th Circuit Court granted a permanent stay of the NFL’s lockout of players Monday.  There were also conflicting reports of progress being made in mediated negations for a new CBA.

Personally, I would not consider Carl Eller a very reliable source on CBA talks. And even if Eller was right, do we really think the owners are going to submit a fair deal now that they finally came out on the winning side in a courtroom decision?

I doubt it. Owners like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder likely view this ruling as a chance to tighten the screws on the players and pressure them to accept an owner-friendly deal. Players representative DeMaurice Smith will do everything he can to keep all the players in line and continue pursuing a player-friendly deal.

In other words, a lot happened on Monday, but not much changed. There’s still no football and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.

Even though it annoys me, both the owners and the players continue trying to win over the fans during this whole mess. I am anything but a labor expert and I only pretend to know what I’m talking about regarding the NFL lockout, but if I were Smith, and I felt that winning the PR battle would somehow help get a deal done, here is what I would do:

I would immediately submit a proposal with financial concessions favorable to the owners. I don’t know what the exact numbers would be, but it would be obvious to most fair-minded observers that the players made significant concessions and the raw financial numbers favor the owners. It wouldn’t be completely lopsided like the owner’s original proposal, but it would be a win for the owners nonetheless. However, those concessions would come with some fan-centric provisions.

  • Owners would have to lock in season ticket prices for the next three years;
  • All teams must offer at least 1,000 tickets to every home game at $10 apiece;
  • Any team-owned parking facilities may not charge more than $25 to park on gameday;
  • If teams charge fans money to tailgate, they must forfeit two games that season. If they charge money and limit the hours that fans can tailgate, the franchise is contracted and the owner is arrested;
  • Soda, bottled water and hot dogs will be $1 at every stadium. Beer will cost no more than $7, $6 if it’s the watered-down crap they serve at most stadiums;
  • The NFL Sunday Ticket package would be made available to all cable/satellite providers;
  • There will no longer be commercials after a touchdown, then the kickoff, then another commercial. The league must decide to either run a commercial after the touchdown, or after the ensuing kickoff, not both;
  • No more Thursday night games;
  • A rookie pay-scale will be instituted;
  • Any team that considers signing Brett Favre will be fined $20 million.

How are you supposed to enforce some of these proposals? I don’t know. For example, what would the Green Bay Packers do about the $10 ticket provision when all of their games are sold out for the next 100 years on a season ticket basis? How would the league renegotiate with Direct TV regarding the Sunday Ticket provision? Would contracting teams for limiting tailgate hours be legal? Ditto for the Favre Fine?

I don’t know, and I don’t care. The owners keep talking about long-term sustainability. The only way the NFL remains sustainable is with fan support, especially fans that buy tickets to games. How is the NFL supposed to cultivate younger generations of fans when parents can’t afford to take their kids to a game or pay for the Sunday Ticket package?

You can argue that fan interest continues to rise no matter how much owners raise prices, but how sustainable do we think that is? Home prices kept going up for a while too, and we all know how sustainable that ended up being. You can only keep poking at people for so long before they punch you in the face and walk away.

Obviously, I am idealist. In my perfect world, Smith would propose this deal tomorrow, the owners would have an epiphany, sign the fan-centric deal, and the world would have football again. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.

Instead, we’ll get more BS and less common sense. Oh well. As long as Favre stays away, I guess it all can’t be bad, right?

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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15 Responses to “NFL Lockout Rant: Players Must Present a Fan-Centric Deal”

  1. John Rehor John Rehor says:

    I love your proposal. If you get that meeting with Goodell and Smith set up and want a co-presenter, let me know. I’m in!

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    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      You can count me in on the presentation, as well. Love it.

      (Especially the part about Thursday night games…)

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      • Adam Czech says:

        It will definitely look better if I have an entourage.

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        • John Rehor John Rehor says:

          Entourage “Sopranos” style or “Entourage” style?

          I think I’d be a better Paulie than Turtle

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          • Adam Czech says:

            Probably Entourage style. Mafia hitmen are not Packer People.

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  2. Bearmeat says:

    How about making all the owners submit to public spankings? LOL.. now watching Jones’ face when THAT proposal came across the table would be priceless.

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    • Adam Czech says:

      If given the choice of ending the lockout or watching Jones get spanked, I think most people would choose lockout.

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      • Bearmeat says:

        I don’t really want to see his a$$, I just want to watch his face (along with a few other owners) when the proposal was given. It would be like something right out of Punk’d.. hilarious.

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  3. cdk4205 says:

    Everything is behind closed doors, so all I have is my impression (although I’ve always heard perception is reality until changed) which is the owners continue to negotiate with themselves. They seem to make a proposal and the players say no, but don’t make a counter proposal. Of course, since there is no union I guess they really can’t right? I’m not comfortable letting federal or state judges make the decisions!

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    • Adam Czech says:

      I think the players proposal has always been to essentially keep the same deal in place. The players say that everyone is making money and the sport keeps growing, so why mess with it?

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  4. Michalske says:

    cdk is absolutely right. If the players make a proposal they would be acting like a union — and the play right into the owners current legal case. There is no chance of any real progress until the courts decide on the owners actual appeal and tell the league an players whether this dispute is going to be resolved by labor negotiations (what the owners want) or in an anti-trust lawsuit (what the players want).

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  5. Bearmeat says:

    Doesn’t look too good for the players right now, that’s for sure. If the 6/3 appeal goes 2-1 to the owners, like everyone expects, then the owners are really going to apply the thumbscrews.. then we all watch the season melt away in labor battles… (sigh)

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  6. A_Lerxst_in_Packerland says:

    I love the concessions prices & no-Favre provisions!

    Personally, I think we should also mandate that Goodell & Smith have to step down after the agreement is reached.

    Oh, and no more talk about extending the regular season. Ever.

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  7. Adam Czech says:

    To be fair to Goodell, the NFL has continued to grow with him as commish. I also like how he isn’t afraid to take charge when it comes to player discipline, or altering the rules midseason in the name of player safety.

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  8. BinKee says:

    If the players get what they want. The NFL will
    be just like MLB and the NBA. The Cowboys will be
    the Yankees, the Redskins will be the Red Sox and
    Miami will sign 15 of the best player free agents
    after they’ve huddled together. In football the
    small market teams are on an even playing field,
    thanks to the salary cap and revenue sharing.
    Once thats gone the Packers, Steelers and Bengals
    will disappear or remain as Farm Teams for the
    wealthy owners. You needn’t look any further
    than the Brewers, they draft them, develope them,
    and when they hit their prime, some wealthy team
    swoops in and offers more money than the Brewers
    can afford to pay. Thank you George Steinbrenner.

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