Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The NFL Labor dispute...whats all the fuss?

The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business where the majority of the money is being split between owners and players, yes I know DUH. Yet somehow the owners and players can’t agree on how many millions each side should be getting.

My first reaction to this was ‘who cares, the players make enough money already’. But then I got to thinking a little bit more about it and maybe the players have a point in this argument.

Here is what is happening…The owners want to give players the same percentage cut that they have been getting of the overall pie, which seems fair at first; they get the same amount, what’s the problem?

The players want a 50-50 split, but the owners want it to be somewhere in the realm of 40-60 in their favor of course.

The problem is that the amount of money the NFL is earning is down because of the economy and fans not spending as much money going to games. So this means that the players will be earning less money, even though it is the same percent.

The NFL is monetarily run by its’ fans, and when was the last time a fan said they loved their favorite teams’ owners? Probably doesn’t happen much. Fans go to games and buy jerseys because of what the players do on the field, not what the owner does.

Yes the owner is in the football business to make money, and he wants to pay his employees, the players, as little as he can in order to maximize profits. 
This is a great business model, but the NFL isn’t your standard business, it is a form of entertainment with the use of rare talent.

If the players in the NFL were not able to entertain, owners would have no money at all. People don’t want to go to a football game to watch two bad teams play one another. Fans want good players, good players are rare, and guess what NFL owners, rare things cost more!

The NFL players’ average salary is easily enough for them to get by and then some, so don’t think this is me throwing them a pity party. But the fact of the matter is why should the owners be getting such a big piece of the pie?

They do have the riskier side of the business, they have to put money forward to pay for just about everything; stadium costs, practice facilities, taxes, and on top of that salaries of all of the organization’s employees. So yes I understand how much they have to pay out, but the cut they end up with shouldn’t be by paying players less.

If they are unable to continue making money at the same rate when they signed deals with their players, that is their fault, not the players. Yes I know the CBA makes it so they have to agree on new terms, but owners taking money away because they aren’t making enough isn’t right.

If they need more money they have to find a better business model. Maybe that means paying coaches less, or lowering the cost of concessions, I really don’t know what they should do, that isn’t my job.

At the end of the day it makes sense to me what both sides are saying, but I am siding with the players on this one. They do the high majority of the work and should be paid at least half of the money made from their skills.

The two other pieces to the Collective Bargaining Agreement are the rookie wage scale and the schedule length.

The Rookie wage scale is something both sides agree needs to be fixed. Currently the top picks in the draft are earning more than most quality veterans. In a league where it seems like half of the top picks are busts, rookies shouldn’t be making near as much as they are. Both sides agree, but no exact fix has been decided upon.

Right now the 16 game schedule seems like a long enough schedule for the NFL, but the owners want to add two games to the regular season and remove 2 preseason games. Their reasoning…more money of course!

While tickets are sold to the pre-season games, they are low-attendance games; which makes them much less profitable than the regular season. So in that sense adding 2 games is a smart move, but I don’t think it is smart from any other angle.

First and foremost is player safety…Right now the league seems to be battling player safety issues on a weekly basis, so adding 2 games would only add to the current problem. Players’ bodies are giving out on them towards the end of the season, and they shouldn’t be subjected to even more abuse.

Another reason it seems like a bad idea is that it probably wouldn’t change much as far as getting the best teams into the playoffs. Yes more games may mean the cream will rise to the top, but that doesn’t mean the best teams will make the playoffs. Maybe it means the better teams will miss because they lost some fluke game in week 19, ya just never know.

Overall I think the whole issue is based on money though, not games being played. The pie should be split evenly between players and owners, then work out the rookie pay scale. Both parties make plenty of money, but the owners have a much longer shelf life than the players…just look at Jerry Jones.


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