5

June

If I Could Force a Recall of Things I Don’t Like About the NFL…

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (center) with president Obama and Green Bay mayor xxxxxx.

Many Packers fans in Wisconsin are probably heading to the polls today to vote in the Scott Walker recall election. In case you are unaware of the recall and why it’s happening because the only thing you read is ALLGBP.com, Walker is being recalled because he took away collective bargaining rights for most public employees in Wisconsin.

In New York, mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban the sale of sugary drinks that are larger than 16 ounces. The mayor’s idea has a lot of people up in arms and complaining about America becoming a “nanny state” with a government that invades our personal lives.

On the federal level, unless the Supreme Court says otherwise, all of us likely will be mandated to purchase health insurance thanks to president Obama’s healthcare law. That’s got a lot of people all worked up.

The last thing I want to do in this space is start a debate about the merits of allowing public employees to collectively bargain. I definitely don’t want to pontificate about how our ability to buy a 64-ounce Mountain Dew impacts our freedoms. And I for sure don’t want to ignite a health care debate.

Instead, I want to talk about football.

What if I became NFL commissioner and started coming up with rules and laws like Walker, Bloomberg and Obama? If I had the power to legislate against things I don’t like about the NFL, here’s what I would do.

  • Only rich people or super fans attend games these days. I don’t think that’s healthy for the game long-term. It’s important that casual fans who might not be worth six figures are able to attend a game every now and then. Therefore, I would mandate that teams sell 5,000 tickets to each game at $10 apiece. I wouldn’t mandate where these seats should be located. They can be in the nosebleeds. But if a middle-class family of four is able to take in a game for $40 once per season, I think the game’s popularity will be maintained well into the future. The purpose of this is law would not be to try and somehow legislate fairness. I truly believe that the game’s high prices will eventually disenfranchise the casual fan and the $10 seats would be one way to prevent that.
22

July

NFL Lockout Update: Owners Ratify Proposal, Players Wonder What Just Happened

It’s 11 p.m. central time on Thursday night and I’m going to watch some Japanese wrestling and go to bed. Before doing that, however, I thought I would provide a quick summary on the NFL labor front for those of you that were smarter than me and chose to not pay attention to the kerfuffle that developed Thursday evening.

If you’re reading this in the morning, there’s a decent chance something else could have occurred overnight. You probably should check out Profootballtalk.com or follow Aaron Nagler on Twitter for the latest. Both of those guys will likely spend the night monitoring the situation instead of watching Japanese wrestling.

Here’s what went down:

  • The owners voted 31-0 to approve a 10-year labor deal and gave the players until Tuesday to reform as a union and accept it. The Oakland Raiders abstained from voting because they probably realize they will go 6-10 and could care less if there is a season or not.
  • The players said they never had a chance to review the proposal and accused the owners of trying to force a deal. Many people were expecting the players to vote on some sort of proposal Thursday, but they didn’t because the players claimed to not know for sure what exactly the owner’s passed.
  • ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported around 10:45 p.m. that the players eventually received all the details of the owners proposal and a vote could come as early as Friday. Will a vote actually happen? Who knows.
  • My take: I think one of two things happened. 1) The owner’s got sick of the player’s dilly dallying around about re-certifying as a union and other less-significant issues delaying the process and decided to approve a proposal and force the players to act in a more timely fashion. 2) The owners made a last-minute power play.
  • My other take: I’m fairly confident this thing wraps up soon. Once the players calm down and actually review what the owners proposed, I can’t imagine it being so incredibly bad that it would derail the entire process. Sure the players are probably offended that the owner’s publicly put the ball in their court, but they’ll get over it (I hope).
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;