31

August

Cory’s Corner: NFL injuries cannot be stopped

Everyone applauded the NFL this week when it handed down $765 million for concussion-related injuries.

It’s great that the NFL has owned up to the nearly 4

B.J. Raji had to be carted off last October at Indianapolis with an ankle injury.

B.J. Raji had to be carted off last October at Indianapolis with an ankle injury.

,500 claims that have been hanging around every time more and more information was found about how these types of injuries continue to keep brains in a thick fog following a career.

And now the NFL is trying to curtail injuries to players’ knees. Let’s not forget knee injuries were an understandable by-product of policing hits to the head. The target area for the defense went south and it was only a matter of time before knees started to shatter, tear and split.

But when will NFL no longer resemble itself?

There’s a reason why mothers sob uncontrollably when their son is lying motionless on the turf. There’s a reason why players make impromptu prayer huddles following a lengthy injury delay that usually ends with the injured player leaving on a stretcher with a neck brace.

Everyone knows the risks involved with football. An offensive or defensive lineman can be pushed the wrong way and tear his ACL. Skill players rip up their hamstrings because their quads are too muscular or they simply do inadequate stretching.

Mike McCarthy made this preseason a war on injuries. He didn’t want to address medical issues until games started counting. With Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Bryan Bulaga, DaJuan Harris and others became sidelined it seemed like he failed.

Problem is, it’s a losing battle. Unless you’re willing to bubble wrap the players or turn America’s most popular sport, which was worth $35 billion as of September 2012, into a product that people no longer resemble. That’s more money than the GDP of 80 countries by the way.

As much as some people want the NFL to get a safety facelift, Roger Goodell just cannot do it. And the reason is simple: he is printing money.

There aren’t a lot of sports that would force the president to alter his State of the Union Address, or force churches to change their worship schedule.

This preseason has been one of the worst in terms of injuries. Key guys like Michael Crabtree, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, EJ Manuel, Kevin Kolb, Ahmad Bradshaw, Victor Cruz, Dustin Keller, La’Veon Bell and Wes Welker among others have experienced some sort of injury this preseason.

25

March

Packers Contracts, the Salary Cap, and More – Part 4: Clay Matthews and Incentives

packers_piggy_bankOne of the hardest things for the average fan to comprehend is how NFL contracts work and how they apply to a team’s salary cap. There are many complicated elements, rules, and exceptions that can be hard to sort out. In this series, my goal is to help you better understand how this whole system works, plus what it means to the Green Bay Packers’ current salary cap and contract concerns.

Before reading, make sure to check out the previous article(s) in the series:

Our fourth article focuses on incentives, and although we’re going to use Clay Matthews’ contract as an example, the discussion will be oriented in a more general sense. This is something most people should have a simple understanding of, but there are some details on how these incentives are paid out and applied to the salary cap that might be new knowledge.

When Clay Matthews was drafted by the Packers in 2009, the new CBA and its “rookie salary scale” were not in existence. This allowed agents to negotiate larger contracts, especially for the top draft picks. In order to find some middle ground, teams would work in “incentive” pay to ensure they were getting their money’s worth. Even the top picks are a risk, so teams want to avoid being financially handcuffed to “busts.”

The rookie compensation rules in the new CBA have actually driven away these incentive-laden contracts, but that’s a conversation for later. Teams still use incentives in many of their contracts as a way to motivate player performance. Before we continue, though, let’s take a quick look at Clay Matthews’ contract details:

Clay Matthews NFL Contract, 2009-2013

 

Notice how the incentives – worth a total of $3.275 million – aren’t figured into the charted cap numbers. It’s one of those contract details that don’t get pushed into the basic cap numbers for two reasons: (1) they have to be earned based on performance, and (2) most incentive benchmarks aren’t released to the media. Some players’ incentive details have been published, but usually they’re in general terms. Only noteworthy benchmarks tend to get released in any detail.

9

July

Monday Morning View: Roger Goodell Has Ethical Responsibility in Bounty Suspensions

Roger Goodell

As NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell has a responsibility to act ethically in bounty scandal suspensions.

We’ve all been following this New Orleans Saints bounty scandal for a while now, and although NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell recently upheld the four player suspensions in their appeal, the fight is far from over. The NFLPA has now filed a lawsuit on behalf of Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove, and Scott Fujita claiming that Goodell violated the labor agreement in the “investigation and arbitration process.” Jonathan Vilma is currently involved in a separate lawsuit against the NFL.

But I want to back up a little bit. When the news was released that Goodell denied the players’ appeals, he wrote a “public” letter to the players involved that outlined the foundations of his decision. Here is some of the text in case you’ve missed it:

Throughout this entire process, including your appeals, and despite repeated invitations and encouragement to do so, none of you has offered any evidence that would warrant reconsideration of your suspensions. Instead, you elected not to participate meaningfully in the appeal process . . .

Although you claimed to have been ‘wrongfully accused with insufficient evidence,’ your lawyers elected not to ask a single question of the principal investigators, both of whom were present at the hearing (as your lawyers had requested); you elected not to testify or to make any substantive statement, written or oral, in support of your appeal; you elected not to call a single witness to support your appeal; and you elected not to introduce a single exhibit addressing the merits of your appeal. Instead, your lawyers raised a series of jurisdictional and procedural objections that generally ignore the CBA, in particular its provisions governing ‘conduct detrimental’ determinations . . .

In sum, I did not make my determinations here lightly. At every stage, I took seriously my responsibilities under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I determined the discipline for each of you

(1) only after a long, detailed and professional investigation by NFL Security’s experienced investigators;

(2) only after the results of that investigation were carefully reviewed by an independent expert, former United States Attorney Mary Jo White;

(3) only after I heard the appeals of the Saints’ coaches and staff regarding discipline for their roles in the program;

2

June

Fans and the 2011 Season: Time for drastic measures?

Before you blow my head off in the comments section, hear me out here.

It’s becoming clearer every single day that the NFL and the former NFLPA would rather have a lengthy court battle than to sit down like adults and work out their differences in this lockout.

The owners figure that regardless of how long it takes to get a new collective bargaining agreement done that the fans are sheep and they will come back and continue to spend their money and all will be well again in the NFL world.

Sadly, this is one time the owners are dead right.

A majority of NFL fans are indeed sheep. I would consider myself one of them. We love this sport so much that we are willing to endure a lockout that involves losing everything and gaining nothing. If that isn’t the definition of blind loyalty then I don’t know what is.

Then I got to thinking: we may be approaching this lockout totally backwards and may have to resort to a rather difficult course of action

Instead of sitting biting our nails over whether or not the NFL will have football in 2011, we may just have to stop paying attention to it. As painful and as difficult as that will be, it is something that may be needed if we want this lockout to end before the season falls into serious jeopardy.

How could this possible have any effect? Here’s an example: for those of you who have kids, what’s the best way to stop a temper tantrum? Ignore child that is seeking attention and that child usually falls back into line sooner or later. Same applies to the children currently handling the negotiations for both the NFL and the former NFLPA.

If we ignore them long enough, eventually they will get the message. We will hit them in a place far more painful than their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and email inboxes. We will hit them in the area most dear to them—their wallets.

Once the owners see their precious revenue begin to dry up, they will finally snap out their lunacy and sit down with the players in good faith.

14

March

The NFL Lockout, the Green Bay Packers and You

First off, let me get something off my chest:  This sucks.  This really sucks.

No one wins in a lockout. Not even Charlie Sheen.  The players don’t get to play the game they love, the owners don’t cash in on gameday sales, and the fans are resorted to banging their heads into the wall.

No matter where you stand on the matter, we can all agree this lockout is a tragedy.  As I mentioned in my phone call to Cheesehead Radio last week, the NFL and what it means to so many people goes way beyond money and could have a negative impact on overall American morale

In a hyper-political climate that is turning friends against each other, we could still all get together on Sunday and root for the same team as fans and clinging to that last thing that binds us together: football.  We cease to be Democrats, Republicans and independents and all become Packers fans.

As the world watches Japan crumble, we are stuck watching pampered millionaires debate over how to divide up $9 billion dollars.  31 owners were so fed up they decided, much like a spoiled child not getting their way, to pick up their ball and glove and go home.   As for the players, they are so committed to being able to look at the league’s financial records that they demanded 10 years of audited information be provided in hours.  That’s not realistic.

Before you correct me on the number of owners I stated in the above paragraph, think for a minute.  What lone NFL team does not have one singular all powerful owner?

That’s right, your Green Bay Packers.

As the only publicly owned team in the NFL, the Packers are forced to open their books every year. There are no secrets when it comes to the Packers as they have to be transparent for their 112,000 shareholders.

That’s one thing that really gets me during this whole “32 greedy owners “deal.  I can’t speak for the other 31 in the NFL, but I’m sure 112,000 Packers owners don’t like being called greedy.   These people are fans.  They are not on the side of the owners or the players.  They’re on their own side, the side of the fans.