Saturday, June 04, 2011

2011 NFL Lock out

No, not a post on the Detroit Lions draft class. That will be along in a few days. Instead I have something much more intriguing to deal with (no offense meant to the Lions).

Because (I know) I was perusing the interwebs for more data on whom the fans blame for the lockout. did a poll which had over 30,000 respondents. They seemed to favour either "both to blame" or "the players". There have been a number of much, much smaller polls (mostly >1000 people) which have shown a tendency to blame the owners, but their sample size is dwarfed by the PFT poll.

I was only curious because a number of people post in the comments at PFT claiming that the owners and their shills are deliberately placing pro-owner comments on the site and voting them up, while voting down pro-player posts. They claim this doesn't represent the mood elsewhere; even though most other major sites I've visited seem to also have a decidedly pro-owner leanings among their commenter's.

But this is not the intriguing thing that I came across. No.

Instead I stumbled upon, which is apparently the site that you're redirected to when you try and access the old NFLPA site. It's basically the players propaganda outlet. The owners have their own too -

What I want to highlight are some of the frankly idiotic statements on the players site. We'll go through them in order and there's a fair few:

If there is not a football season in 2011, the owners’ costs will drastically decrease.
- As will, you know, their revenue.

They are willing to sacrifice the sport of football in this country in order to have less cost, less work, and more revenue for themselves.
- Yes, this is the owners new grand strategy for making money; to go out of business. If an entire season of football is lost the owners would still have to pay all of their rents, utilities, taxes and debt service. Any money from the so-called "Lockout Insurance" would serve only to soften the blow of their costs. It would leave very little in the way of profit.

The owners have not been willing to give proof that they have taken a financial loss, therefore needing more money back from players.
- Nor do they need to. That's why they're called owners, because it's their business and they own it. They manage the finances and in every other part of the world outside of the NFLPA's fairyland, the private owner of a business is not required to divulge his accounts to his employees. I don't ask my boss to show me his accounts so I can work out what my share of the cash should be. If he cuts my wages that's his prerogative. I can put up with or I can find a new job. That is my prerogative.

The average NFL career is only 3.6 years.  It takes 3 accredited years to get just 5 years of post career healthcare.
- An average that is unduly weighted to the bottom due to the high number of rookies that get cut from training camps never to return. Teams have a 53 man roster plus 8 spots for practice squad players leaving a total of 61 spots. Teams typically take as many as 80 players into camp, leaving 19 disappointed young men as the seasons starts. Their short careers (if that even counts as a career) are pulling the figures down below what would be a more realistic assessment (say 5-8 years).

The addition of 2 more games would hinder a player’s ability to get post career healthcare
- Although I don't agree with the 18 game proposal, actually it offers players an increased chance to gain access to healthcare. Marginal/backup players would have more opportunities to get games in and earn an accredited season, especially as it is expected that there will be more "garbage" games in an 18 games season.

Some of the things players have fought for include: clean socks and jocks, free agency, former player benefits etc
- Sorry, clean socks and jocks? Huh? Does this mean the players fought to have their socks and jocks laundered by the teams? Could they not just, like everyone else, clean their own socks? Jesus.

The players have stated many times they’re content with the current system and revenue split… NFL owners and players each split roughly 50 percent of the revenue pie.
- Well of course they are. They make more money this way. I just love the way the players are trumpeting this as some kind of plus point, like they're being incredibly fair and noble.

In 2008, however, NFL owners voted to opt out of the 2006 CBA extension, thereby terminating the agreement in March of 2011—two years early.
- So the question then becomes, why did you agree to the opt out? You signed up knowing it was in there, so what's your point? You had to know there was a chance they would use it if they thought it was a bad deal.

Did you know that if NFL owners choose to lock out players in 2011, they will receive $4.5 billion from their TV contracts EVEN if there is no football games played next season?
- Shouldn't this be taken down now, as we know the league will not get any revenue from the TV companies.

Did you know that NFL owners receive a credit of slightly more than $1 billion for operating and investment expenses off the top of the revenue pool ($8.8 billion) BEFORE the remainder of the money is divided with players?

- Yes I did. It's a widely used practice in business often referred to as retained income. Essentially it is money that is fed back into the business. It is NOT profit, paid to the owners. It is money used for things like contributing to new stadiums, refurbishing current stadiums, organising the International Series games etc. These are all things designed to increase future revenues, or in other words, make more money for the players and owners in the years to come. Speculate to accumulate.

Did you know that while NFL owners complain about financial risks, players contributed $800 million to the new Meadowlands Stadium for the owners of the New York Giants and Jets, and contributed $300 million to the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium?
- Sorry, hold the fuck up a second. Say that first bit again...

Did you know that while NFL owners complain about financial risks, players contributed $800 million to the new Meadowlands Stadium for the owners of the New York Giants and Jets...

- That is complete, utter, total and unmitigated bullshit. The NFL teams (not players) contributed $300 million to the project (remember that retained income?). The Jets and the Giants were then both asked to cough up $650 million a piece. The Giants raised their money from two investment banks; Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. The Jets raised theirs from Citicorp and the Royal Bank of Scotland. So unless the players own $800 million of shares in those companies, then they should take what is a blatantly untrue statement down.

What they actually did was to appease the other owners in the league, in particular those from small market teams, who were worried that increased revenues from the new stadium would increase their expenses by pushing up the minimum salary thresh hold. So the NFLPA agreed to reduce the salary cap obligations for the league by the tune of $800 million over a 15 year period (roughly $53 million per year, or $1.66 million per team, per year), something Union officials were more than happy to agree to knowing that they would claw back all of that money and more from the additional revenues in due course.

That's a heck of a difference compared to claiming that you contributed a large, upfront capital sum to fund a stadium. And they didn't do it for the benefit of the Jets and Giants owners either.

Did you know that NFL owners have rejected the union’s request that players get ownership stakes in return for assuming financial risk?
- Yes, because it would essentially allow the players to "double dip", taking a guaranteed salary off the team while also taking a portion of team revenue.

So there you have it, my rant for the day. I'm not saying the owners are squeaky clean in all this. When they negotiated the last round of TV deals it's been shown that they did indeed sacrifice the opportunity to maximise total revenues in return for "lockout insurance", against the good faith bargaining terms that they had agreed with the players. There is no excuse for that.

So the owners are no saints. But right now I have to believe that the players are a little further from heaven than the owners.

No comments: