FanDuel - WFBC

February 28, 2006

Upshaw says NFL labor talks break down again: These people can't agree on the time of day half the time. What makes us think they can agree on this?

posted by dbt302 to football at 05:05 PM - 42 comments

After reading that article, my head is spinning. No wonder I did so bad on that Wonderlic test. I guess it was true that if the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl it would mean the end of the NFL. Now, do we think that any of the parties involved have learned a lesson from: themselves, baseball (again and again), basketball, and hockey?

posted by THX-1138 at 05:15 PM on February 28

Greedy bastards, they just want a sequel to The Replacements!

posted by wingnut4life at 05:20 PM on February 28

Who really cares if a bunch of millionaires can't get it together. It might be good for everybody if they have another strike, hire replacement players and move on without the union. Most of these guys would be working for $35,000 per year if it wasn't for football. I vote with the owners and say to tell the players to find another job if the NFL salary isn't up to snuff for them. As much as I enjoy it, I for one could survive without pro football very easily. Jeez life went on just fine in Los Angeles when football left, and there is always college football. Personally I boycotted purchasing tickets to pro sports long ago. I enjoy it on TV for free. Try to charge me and I'll just pass(no pun intended). Man these guys have an inflated view of their own importance. Besides the game isn't that much different with replacement players. In the end its all about competitive parity that makes for good football.

posted by Atheist at 05:22 PM on February 28

Who cares? Well, those millionaires have a lot of fans who care about those teams, and those millionaires (and billionaires) support a multi-billion dollar business, whether you partake or not, Atheist. Not saying that's right or wrong, but it's a fact. Those people care. I haven't bought a lick of NFL merch in years either, and I'd be lying if I said I don't give a damn. To borrow a phrase from Chris Rock: many (not all, not by a long stretch) of the players are rich. But every last one of the owners are wealthy. Pulling for the owners is like pulling for Halliburton.

posted by chicobangs at 06:32 PM on February 28

Let me ask a few questions: when will a *possible* strike occur, what other impacts will the CBA have on the NFL (like the cap), and is expansion (#33 to L.A.) a part of the new CBA, or any shot it will be.

posted by Joe88 at 06:39 PM on February 28

Gene Upshaw is always the "little boy who cried wolf" and the owners know it. While Gene is sabre rattling the owners are working out the issues. The two sides are very close, 3.2% on general revenue, and the biggest issue is between the owners themselves (small v. big market) The NFL is the most successful and strongest of the major Pro Leagues. Tagliabue and the owners won't mess with that. P.S. "little boy who cried wolf" is used as a literary anaolgy-reference and not an attack on Mr. Upshaw.

posted by Termite at 06:47 PM on February 28

we make alot but we spend alot also.

posted by kckurtbusch at 06:48 PM on February 28

Damn right they won't mess with it. They saw how badly this effected the NHL, right? Come back after a year off, agree on basically the same thing the owners wanted to begin with, and call it a victory for the players. What some horsecrap. The NFL players don't seem to understand that even if the owners are all wealthy (except for in Green Bay, where the people are the owners) they won't just kiss the players' asses to get a deal done. There is a HELL of a lot more to this than that, but the players are not much more than mental midgets when it comes to demands. Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme. Selfish bastards. When they try to think about anyone but themselves, they'll realize that an ordinary citizen has to work six lifetimes to make what they do in ONE YEAR, not a career. Put that in your peace pipe and chauff upon it for a millenia, or so.

posted by mrhockey at 06:57 PM on February 28

Yeah, mrhockey, and the owners are nothing but generous, giving, benevolent, and wise. If only the players would see the light and buckle under so that the owners don't have to outsource those jobs to eager Shane Falcos willing to work for one-tenth the wage! Here's a question: if you have to work six lifetimes to make what a player makes (that's obviously a made-up stat, but let's pretend it's true), how many lifetimes do you have to work to make what an owner makes? Sixty? Six hundred? The money argument is a red herring, just like always. The players are employees, not extortionists. Someone is signing their checks, and that person, the owner, is an order of magnitude richer than any player ever will be. Save the "players are rich spoiled idiots" argument. Neither side has a monopoly on stupidity or myopia, and if the NFL goes dark next season, there'll be plenty of blame for both sides to get their share.

posted by chicobangs at 07:19 PM on February 28

Athiest, I'm sorry but I find it really hard to side with the owners in these things. Sure, the players are all rich, but the owners are richer. I'd much rather see more of my dime go to to 50 players on a team, rather than one guy. Add to that the fact the owners do practically nothing to entertain me and the players do, I have trouble understanding why anyone would begrudge seeing the players earn a little more.

posted by Bulgaroktonos at 07:20 PM on February 28

More of everyone's dime goes to the players. Currently the players get 56.2% of the general revenue while the owners get the rest (43.8%). The union want the players share to be 60%. It's close and the owners will work it out. It is the investment of the owners that made this possible for all of us fans, the players, and themselves, and they deserve to make a buck, or at least 40% of a buck.

posted by Termite at 07:41 PM on February 28

Someday it's going to end up like the big auto companies with union players sitting on the boards of the teams as co-owners. Fortunately for them there's no one in Japan building a better NFL to take away their market share. If there was they'd end up the way Ford and GM are headed right now, unable to compete because they've become too bloated with payrolls and bennies.

posted by commander cody at 07:53 PM on February 28

More of everyone's dime goes to the players. Currently the players get 56.2% of the general revenue while the owners get the rest (43.8%). The union want the players share to be 60%. Right, but what does that general revenue include? More importantly, what does it not include? As to the other "points" made above: 1. Rooting for the owners is like rooting for the house in Vegas (I think the BSG said it first). Why do the super wealthy deserve more love than the very wealthy? 2. The NHL situation != the NFL. Even with the incredibly weak bargaining position the NFLPA is in, they're still much stronger than the NHL. And I think they draw higher TV ratings too.

posted by yerfatma at 08:05 PM on February 28

Commander; Amen, but if I recall, there WERE attempts to build a better mousetrap. USFL, WLAF, it is hard when we the consumer want our big American steel cars (the NFL) instead of the gas-sipping imports. Yes, the owners make the smaller share, they take the financial risks, I am usually one who backs management in these fights, but in this case, 40% of the only game in town is better than 43.8% of a lost season, and even though the players contracts are not guranteed, you can bet your bippy that there are contracts that ARE guaranteed, costs that will still be incurred in the event of a lockout. AS others have stated, the owners will get the deal done with the players, it is a small gap. The problems amongst the owners are another story. The owners of small-revenue teams knew that they were not purchasing elite markets when they made their investments, it is part of the difference in the values of the franchises (apart from current talent of the team). The contributions to the player's funds should be evenly distributed, unless, of course, a team competes with fewer players. As far as Kraft's argument to take into consideratioin the debt load of a stadium? This is the real red herring, the revenues from the new stadium should be off-setting any unequal drain on bottom-line, if not why build it in the first place? Yes, the owner's are wealthier, they should be, it cost more than the players invested to purchase a team to start with. They should make the lin's share of revenues. They can all be idiots at times, players and owners alike.

posted by elovrich at 08:16 PM on February 28

Right, but what does that general revenue include? More importantly, what does it not include? Not sure, but from accounting classes I've taken and from having my own business taxes done I am guessing that general revenues are "those revenues remaining after fixed costs are considered." We would not expect the owners to share, give away, 60% of the total take and then have to pay for player salaries, travel and hotel expenses--all the team expenses. Office expenses, coaches and other staff expenses and the numerous other fixed expenses out of the remaining 40%. I am sure that we have some CPA's and other knowledgeable business people in our ranks to better answer your question, but I think my theory is correct.

posted by Termite at 08:57 PM on February 28

Termite, you could guess that but you would be wrong; it's not an acccounting question but contractual so no CPAs are necessary. The revenues that count are gross, not net, but they do not include several very significant sources--ones the bigger teams have and the small market teams don't. This is not a case of greedy players but of some owners being unwilling to throw all the real income into the pot as they agreed to do many years ago. @elovrich: You mean the investments like the big stadiums that, with only a couple of exceptions, were paid for by public money? The only risk capital most owners put in are to buy the clubs in the first place and I would be pretty surprised if much of that came out of their own pockets rather than loans and similar financial arrangements. Okay, if you want to go to the Halases, Maras and Rooneys whose grandfathers were among the original owners then I'll concede the point but otherwise I don't think so.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:21 PM on February 28

Athletes make the money they do because of us, the fans. Hiring replacements doesn't help much because the owners then get to keep the extra dough. Fine if they can't agree, but nobody on Earth agrees about the same thing.

posted by mattmaddox2005 at 09:23 PM on February 28

Here's a question: if you have to work six lifetimes to make what a player makes (that's obviously a made-up stat, but let's pretend it's true), how many lifetimes do you have to work to make what an owner makes? Sixty? Six hundred? Is this a Wonderlic question?

posted by dbt302 at 09:45 PM on February 28

I think both sides should take it in the shorts and let the common folks see a game for as cheap as it used to be. I say freeze thier wages and cap what the owners can charge for the next 100 years. then maybe we will catch up with thier astronomical figures and be able to afford to watch what they call "play" again.

posted by Tigger at 09:53 PM on February 28

The revenues that count are gross, not net, but they do not include several very significant sources--ones the bigger teams have and the small market teams don't. This is not a case of greedy players but of some owners being unwilling to throw all the real income into the pot as they agreed to do many years ago. Bill, I've got to tell you that your post confuses/surprises me. Are you saying that some of the owners are willing to count "total revenue" and that means "all revenue" and share it 60% with the players and then pay all of the fixed costs with the remaining 40%? It makes no sense. Is your "real revenue the same as "general revenue?" I should have gone to more classes.

posted by Termite at 09:54 PM on February 28

And what is the working lifetime of an NFL player? Pretty damn short. Most of those linemen are not going to make enough to retire on after their 3 year career is over.

posted by ursus_comiter at 09:59 PM on February 28

Most of those linemen are not going to make enough to retire on after their 3 year career is over. Gee, I wish people thought I was entitled to a decent retirement after three years.

posted by tselson at 10:13 PM on February 28

That's the other point. Some of you guys are assuming everyone in the NFL is making Peyton Manning money. Many players aren't making a hundredth of that. The average offensive lineman makes not much more than many of us, and considering that his career is, what, four years long on average, and that the grind of starving and drugging yourself to play a brutal game every day since you were yay-high until it grinds you down to nothing and spits you out at 32 with degenerative physical problems that will follow you around for the rest of your life, in a lot of cases, it's actually kind of a loser's proposition for even a successful player. But never mind all that. All players are rich spoiled jerks, and don't let the facts tell you otherwise. And the billionaires who pay their salaries should be able to fire them and underpay them at will, because that's what made the sport great. Mhm.

posted by chicobangs at 10:16 PM on February 28

average offensive lineman makes not much more than many of us, Ok, Here is what they are making. I guess your definition of, "not much more" is different than mine. the players are all rich, but the owners are richer, Uhhh, why would anyone own a business if they couldn't do better than their employees?

posted by tselson at 11:03 PM on February 28

Termite, I mean that some owners are not willing to count all the revenues they get in the bucket that gets shared. They control other aspects, like the arena or parking or TV, and play with the books to put dollars into those accounts instead of the team--things that big market teams tend to bring in more of than the smaller ones. If you search this site or Google you can find more specifics but, as I said, this isn't a CPA question.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:07 PM on February 28

billsaysthis: Even when a stadium is publicly funded, it is not usually 100%, the team has to kick in a portion, and as for loans and other financial arrangements, I am pretty sure that the banks and other creditors will want their money back plus a bit of something called interest. I am not saying that the owners are wondering where their next meal is coming from, but I am saying that since it is they that are taking the financial risk, it is also they that should reap the benefit when the venture is successful. One thing that I thought merited consideration during the last MLB strike is something that all pro sports should look at. It is a variation on how most law firms divvy up the pie. 1) Negotiate a contract where all pre-player salary profit (that is all revenue for an organization minus all non-player-salary expenses) is divided in some fashion, 60/40 for instance with 60 going to the players' salary fund. 2) All players then negotiate for a certain number of shares of the fund. 3) Each share's value is based on the total number of shares negotiated divided into the available fund. This does a couple of things that would prove to be desirable. It forces the owners to open their books for evaluation, it gives the owners and the players alike a reason to promote their product as increased revenues mean increased compensation, and it makes players realize that negotiating for more shares directly impacts their teammates by diluting the value of each share. As a side note; signing bonuses, a very lucrative and vital part of NFL compensation since salaries are not guaranteed, would come half out of fund and half out of fixed cost fund. A vartiation on this, which would eliminate the sham of a salary cap, would be to have the salary fund be a pool of 60% in this case of ALL league revenues after costs, and the shares of the entire player population used to figure each share's value. In this scenario, signing bonuses would come out of the operating portion of the fund.

posted by elovrich at 11:46 PM on February 28

Okay, so they're making half a mill each. For three years' work, on average. How much are you making over the course of your career? And let's pick just one example of how that thinking is flawed: what are the odds of you being a cripple before you're 40? How much of that big-ass money they're making is going to go to extra hospital visits and therapy over the course of their (shortened) lives? Let's skip over people like Korey Stringer and Reggie White, who just drop dead one day because of the stress on their distorted bodies. I know he's not an offensive lineman, but have you seen Earl Campbell lately? Every time I think pro football stars are overpaid, I think of the punishment he took, and the fact that he can barely stand up now, and I think: how much is that worth? And he's famous. There are hundreds, maybe thousands more like him, drafted in late rounds, cut quietly after a few years, living out their lives in constant pain from the shit they went through to be a pro for as long as they did. But you're right. It's better that billionaire owners get tax breaks and more labor loopholes so they can screw people who've worked their whole lives to become crippled and broke at 29 because their hospital costs stopped being covered by the teams when they left the league and their problems only ever got worse. Yeah, tselson, I'll go along with that.

posted by chicobangs at 11:51 PM on February 28

This Wonderlic story is a joke. This will probably hurt VY.

posted by Joe88 at 12:00 AM on March 01

Who says a football player's earning potential comes to a screeching halt once they retire from football? These guys went to college, right? Did they not have the foresight to take advantage of the education given to them to prepare themselves for life after football? I'm sorry, I have a hard time feeling sorry for them for only earning $500,000/year for an average of three to four years. It's not like they didn't know what they were getting themselves into. Afterall, they have been playing the game for most of their lives and are well aware of the toll it takes on their bodies.

posted by willthrill72 at 01:16 AM on March 01

Learning to play offensive line isn't something you can pick up in six months at Devry or something. Not only do you have to learn it from childhood, you have to pursue it to the exclusion of everything else from then on. There's no "changing your major." You may ultimately get a degree in one thing or another, sure. But not only are you working on football from morning to night every day to make it to the Big Show, but you're also deforming your body to get there as well. Nobody's natural full fighting weight is 325. The human body is not built to withstand the pressure that bulking up to that size and performing the duties of an Offensive Lineman. That's why their life expectancy is so low. I get that you have no sympathy for these people whatsoever, even though I don't understand why. What I don't get is why your heart bleeds for the poor, impoverished, downtrodden owners, especially given that the NFL CBA is the most owner-friendly in North America.

posted by chicobangs at 04:08 AM on March 01

This Wonderlic story is a joke. This will probably hurt VY. For once you don't state something categorically and it's already clearly true. Amazing. Termite, the point is that players are getting their % from a smaller pie than all revenues a team takes in. Things like luxury boxes, parking, concessions, local media rights may all be going 100% to the local owner (which is causing some consternation between players and owners but also between small-market owners and large-market owners).

posted by yerfatma at 06:15 AM on March 01

It's a damn shame that the NFL players union thinks that they're spoiled,millionaire, crybaby athletes should make more money than the people who took the risk and put up the money to buy a football franchise.I say lock them assholes out just like hockey did and see how much they like that shit!

posted by muggsy at 09:52 AM on March 01

I think it is funny that people are so quick to jump on the players. The owners don't even have their business in order. Some of them want revenue sharing, some of them don't. Some of them want a salary cap, some of them don't. In light of the difficulties that the owners have agreeing on what is revenue, it isn't surprising that they have difficulty agreeing with the players who have a clear idea of what they think is revenue. The owners want a salary cap set at a percentage of the money that ALL the teams make. They don't want to include all the other sources of revenue that only certain teams have. Because to include all of that other revenue, they would have to share it with those smaller market teams. The owners have a sweetheart deal and they don't want to change it. Currently, the revenue from the sale of the television rights alone covers player salaries completely. Who thinks it is a risk to own an NFL team? What financial risk are you talking about? Has any organization ever been sold for a smaller price than it was purchased for? There is no risk. It is a highly profitable venture for the lucky few who are ever able to own an NFL team.

posted by bperk at 10:05 AM on March 01

To clarify my earlier point. I am not siding with the owners or the players. I am sick of both groups of multi millionaires not being able to get along and come to agreement in their own mutual interest. I think the owners are stupid for allowing themselves to be held hostage, and the players have become so self absorbed that they elect to hold the fans hostage. Most importantly I think the fans are the dumbest of all. As far as I am concerned, I would not contribute a penny to making either of them wealthier. I choose to watch the exciting game of football on free TV. I do not buy merchandise and frankly could could go on just fine in life without it. The game is what is great if played competitively by players of similar ability levels. The best players should make the best deal they can but if the top salary was 2 million per year instead of 20 they would still be out there. Someday the fans will organize and boycott spending money on the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB for a year. I am all for the free enterprise system and don't begrudge anybody for their success, but as long as the real fans continue to take it up the rear end the players and owners will continue to give it to them. Something to think about. Imagine a world where the American public places a higher price tag or value on our leaders, teachers, and the things that make the country better. In a country where we pay a mediocre running back or rap artist more than the President or the best educator, what do you think you wind up with.....exciting football and Snoop Dogg balanced by George Bush and crappy schools.

posted by Atheist at 11:51 AM on March 01

Football makes a ton of money from fans like you watching free television. Networks pay for the privilege of showing it. Advertisers pay for the commercials. Lots of big money involved there, so don't kid yourself that you are not helping them line their pockets. The CBA is still in place. There are no threats of a strike or anything. Why the calls for a boycott? Why does it matter to you how they divvy up their millions between them? I fail to see how watching sports is somehow related to teachers. Instead of watching football, I should be watching a spelling bee? How is the time I spend or money I spend on entertainment in any way related to how my tax dollars are spent?

posted by bperk at 12:13 PM on March 01

watching free television Of course you know, those days are over for MNF. Now you need cable/satellite just to watch it since it's going to ESPin.

posted by wingnut4life at 12:39 PM on March 01

Without an agreement, the salary cap goes away in 2007. Every commentator I have heard seems to talk about how this will mean that the Cowboys and the Redskins will be able to spend huge amounts of money to build their teams (like the Yankees in baseball) and make the rest of the teams perennial also-rans. But if there is a cap, then there is probably also a floor, which I assume will go away also. What would keep some of the lesser teams or stingier owners from slashing their payrolls to make more profit (the Marlins, etc. in baseball). If some of the owners can control themselves, then the lack of a cap and floor might actually increase their profit.

posted by graymatters at 01:07 PM on March 01

Football makes a ton of money from fans like you watching free television. Networks pay for the privilege of showing it. Advertisers pay for the commercials. Lots of big money involved there, so don't kid yourself that you are not helping them line their pockets. The CBA is still in place. There are no threats of a strike or anything. Why the calls for a boycott? Why does it matter to you how they divvy up their millions between them? I fail to see how watching sports is somehow related to teachers. Instead of watching football, I should be watching a spelling bee? How is the time I spend or money I spend on entertainment in any way related to how my tax dollars are spent? Did you not understand what I said? I did not claim the NFL doesn't make money from television, I said I don't pay for it. The term free television was meant to refer to broadcast TV as apposed to pay per view NFL packages. My point was I spent no "out of my pocket" money in the form of merchandise, tickets or programing to enjoy the NFL. I am especially proud of Los Angeles for opting not to use tax dollars to support an NFL franchise demand for a stadium. I do not care how the owners choose to share the wealth. I think they are making a mistake by doing so. They are private companies that have made their employees their percentage partners. If they feel it is in the best interest of their enterprise, so be it. They can continue to deal with the contract negotiations every couple of years that continually ask for a bigger piece of the pie, for all I care. Frankly the NFL Players union could easily be broken with a little smart action on the part of the owners. In the last strike replacement players and other players crossing the line to play and keep their money almost broke the union. Also I did not equivocate watching sports to anything or to teachers. I mearly pointed out the absurdity of our national priorities. The amount of money spent on certain talents and the neglect of others. Football generates a lot of money and that money belongs to whoever earns it. Again the whole point of my post is to get the fans to empower themselves by action rather than sit around and whine that their Sunday game may be on strike. As long as fans pay any ticket price, or a large license fee to wear a Terrell Owens jersey then they have nothing to complain about. With regard to tax dollars. Ask people in Seattle who pay the taxes that built a Stadium for an owner who is one of the richest men in the world if they think they got a good deal. Spend as much as you like for entertainment, I have no problem with it. But its your willingness to do so that has created the monster that is the NFL and its players union. If it doesn't bother you that they still want more, keep on supporting them.

posted by Atheist at 01:35 PM on March 01

Currently the players get 56.2% of the general revenue while the owners get the rest (43.8%). Of course, the owners generally have a couple of hundred million dollars laying around already, or they wouldn't have been able to buy a franchise in the first place. The players, not so much, or Vince Young would've paid somebody to take the Wonderlic for him.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:37 PM on March 01

But you're right. It's better that billionaire owners get tax breaks and more labor loopholes so they can screw people who've worked their whole lives to become crippled and broke at 29 because their hospital costs stopped being covered by the teams when they left the league and their problems only ever got worse. Yeah, tselson, I'll go along with that. Damn Chico, hold on while I swallow all those words you put in my mouth! half a mill each. For three years' work, on average. How much are you making over the course of your career? For perspective, 2004 Median Income in the U.S. was $44,456.00. It would take 34 years for the average Joe to make $1.5 million. Shortcomings on the benefit packages for injured/retired players need to be blamed on the Player's Union, not the Owners. It is their job to effectively bargain benefits for their members. I think, if they approached the table claiming the need for better benefits for these young men versus simply claiming that they need an increase in"revenue sharing," they may have more success selling their need for a bigger piece of the pie, without simply coming across as greedy. Note: I am not saying they are greedy, they have every right to bargain for as much as they can, however, the Owners have the right to do the same. I can't fault either one for doing what is in their best interests. They will negotiate and will come to an agreement. If they both feel a little screwed at the end, then the negotiating will have been succesful.

posted by tselson at 02:41 PM on March 01

Who cares how much money the owners have. Paul Allen owned Microsoft and spent more on a yachts then he did on a football team. Why does anybody think owning an NFL franchise is a great way to spend 700 million dollars if making money is your goal. The owners do it to be involved in football. I can't think of any owners who make their livings from football. It's like owning a race horse- hobby for the super wealthy. Regardless, of the owners finances, it doesn't entitle the player to anything but a job at the going rate. Frankly today the purchase of a pro sports team is a highly risky proposition. Operating expenses, liability insurance, promotion, player and coaches salaries are skyrocketing. For the investment required there are probably many more lucrative opportunities. It fun for these guys. Of course if the NFL players union continues on it's path teams will loose money and and more teams will leave town to find a more lucrative market. They will turn the NFL into the NHL in no time.

posted by Atheist at 02:56 PM on March 01

tselson's post is accurate and insightful. The owner's have never been about not paying players, they have never hesitated in making multi-millionaires, or in providing excellent benefits. The real sticking point is partnership or revenue sharing. Can't fault the players for asking for it, and can't fault the owners for resisiting. I think the owners should have drawn the line years ago. They only opened up a can of worms that doesn't go away, and the players will kill the league by demanding more and more. Sooner or later it will lead to a reduced number of teams left in only the largest markets, and of course less players employed although at very high prices. How is this good for the players as a whole? With regard to all the whining about the poor devastated crippled players. WAH WAH WAH. " I only made $700,000 per year for four years now I have a bum knee" Gee my buddy is in Iraq fixing helicopters for double his normal $60,000 grand salary. Its all about making a risk reward decision.

posted by Atheist at 03:16 PM on March 01

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