Friday, January 28, 2011

A Dollar and 68 cents

In today's post; - More back and forth in the Labor dispute, - Jeff Fisher gets the boot... - .... as does Jim Zorn, So we'll start with the labor issue being that March is just around the corner, kind of, and the expiration of the CBA could lead to a loss of football in 2011. But commissioner Roger Goodell has laid down a gauntlet, a challenge if you will, to the heads of the NFLPA to get the deal done... by saying he'll take a pay cut in 2011 if there is a work stoppage. How much of a pay cut? From $10 million to just $1. Now the issue of paying a jackass executive like Goodell $10 million a year is a blog post in it's own. In fact I not so long ago tackled such an issue, albeit briefly (you're telling me you couldn't find someone equally skilled for say $1 million?). But taking a pay cut from such a hefty amount to just a single dollar is quite the promise. Maybe I could grow to like Goodell? (erm... no). So how did the head of the NFLPA DeMaurice Smith respond? By announcing on Twitter that he'll take a pay cut to just 68 cents.... if a deal gets done before the Super Bowl. Wait. What?? That makes no sense. The only incentive I can see in that is the unlikely event of the league rushing to the table to get a deal done just to see the tears in Smiths eyes when he realises he has to man up and take the cut. But being that the league doesn't pay his wages, the players do, I can't see them throwing away their entire position just for a bit of personal gratification. So that only leaves the incentive to Smith to get the job done. Except, if he does do a deal before the Super Bowl then he would have to take a massive pay cut. See what I mean? It makes absolutely no sense at all. If he'd said "if we don't get a deal done by the Super Bowl then I'll take a pay cut", that might have made a bit more sense. But as it stands that statement basically gives him zero reason to strike a bargain early. So the question is now; where the hell is this post leading? Well I'm glad you asked. The point is, this is the man who is negotiating for the players. This is the guy who is facing down the $10 million dollar man (for now) at the bargaining table. A guy who can't even string together a coherent and logical Twitter post. Further proof maybe that some people in this world are being grossly over paid for the services they provide? Maybe. One thing's for sure, if I was a member of the NFLPA I'd be pretty damn nervous right about now. As Kevin Mawae, their President is. On the issue of the 18-game regular season Mawae has now said that he can't see a way to sell that to the players. Remember that any deal that is reached has to be approved by a majority of the players and not many of them are keen to see an 18-game regular season. That's two more games of fast paced, dangerous football they'll have to endure. Just ask the injury racked Packers how they'd have felt about playing another two games before they made it to the play offs. The stupid thing is, the players have a secret weapon up their sleeve when it comes to the issue of the length of the season and it could even be a tool that swings some of that public support back in their direction (and man do they need some support right now). All they have to do is walk up to the negotiating table and throw in a demand that Season Tickets only cover regular season games, with an opt-in for one or more pre-season games at the buyers discretion, and that all pre-season games be reduced in price to a third of normal prices along with free parking for ticket holders and reduced prices for beer and food concessions. That's pretty much guaranteed to at least turn a few heads in the players favour. Not many. But some. Of course the NFLPA hasn't exactly helped itself in trying to win fan support, primarily because there are two major lies that they keep propagating in the vain hope that the fans will put the blinkers on and not see through them. The first is any notion of a lockout. Pretty much every NFL fan in the entire world now knows that the NFLPA holds in its hands the ability to decertify the union and prevent any lockout. If there is one, it's because the NFLPA allowed it to happen. The second is that league will get paid for not playing games. Strictly speaking, as I understand it, the owners will get the money from the TV contracts to tide them over. But having just been paid a big pile of money for producing a product (games) and then having failed to produce that product, the owners will be obliged to pay back every last cent, possibly with interest on top. While that might tide them over in the interim, it will leave them saddled with a big ass debt that needs repaying sooner rather than later. This also glosses over the fact that the league is already losing money, as we speak, and will continue to do so until the moment that it can guarantee that football will be back on. The cause of this loss is sponsorship. Simply put, nobody is going to fork out huge sums of cash to sponsor various elements of the NFL, including coverage on its own network, without there being anything to sponsor. I'm sure there are also a number of clever advertising executives, if such a thing truly exists, around the country right now applying the screw to the NFL, trying to push down the costs of future sponsorship using the "you might not even play a game this year" chip. All in all both sides need to pull their fingers out of their butts, stop throwing turds at each other through the media, and actually sit down and get a deal done. After all, Jeff Fisher needs a team to coach. It just wont be the Titans. Which it's safe to say came as quite a surprise to me. Forgive me for being dumb, but I'm pretty damn sure that Titans owner Bud Adams recently said that he was dumping Vince Young in favour of Fisher? So what happened to that promise? I'm sure more details will come out soon and there is bound to be some personal dispute at the root of this, but for now we're just left staring at the legacy that Fisher left behind. A legacy that is (or rather was) largely based around his being the longest tenure among active Head Coaches. Fisher joined the Titans in 1994, back when they were still called the Houston Oilers. Since then he's produced a Super Bowl appearance and a few AFC Championship showings, but it's been a while now since the Titans actually won a playoff game. The last two season have been particularly hard for Titans fans. Overall Fisher has achieved a reasonably consistent record, especially given the amount of time he's been the head honcho of the Titans. There are certainly plenty of names out there in the coaching world who, if they were holding a candle, wouldn't be able to hold it against Fisher's. On that odd analogous note, let's finish with Jim Zorn. Ah yes, the much maligned Zorn. Previously the Head Coach in Washington, Zorn was fired after what was a frankly rubbish 2009 season. The Ravens saw an opportunity and pounced, picking up Zorn as their new QB coach. But it appears Zorn, QB Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron can't all get along and play nicely so someone has to go. In this case it's Zorn. As part of the shuffle the Ravens have announced that offensive assistant Craig Van Steeg will now assist with the quarterbacks, and that Cameron will take a much bigger role in their coaching. Not sure how happy Ravens fans will be with this, considering that many were after Cameron's head for the part he and the offense played in Baltimore's post season exit. Unfortunately for them, it looks like Zorn has once again become the scapegoat du jour.

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