Calmer Heads Ought To Prevail ……..But We’re Talking About The NFL and The NFLPA (Players’ Union) Here …….. So What Gives ?
OK, so this is the showcase weekend for the NFL, as its piece-de-resistance’ , showcase event , as in the Superbowl takes place in the ‘cosmopolitan’ city of Miami ? . Having lived just north of the municipality, I wouldn’t exactly call Miami cosmopolitan ,in the true sense of the word. The city and the large proportion of its residents believe themselves to be entitled and better off than many of their other residents. But that’s a story for another day.
With countless millions watching nationally and tens of millions worldwide , this is the most watched sporting event in North America. In effect it becomes a proxy ‘national holiday’ for many. And the two participants , the respective representatives of the AFC and NFC will throw down the gauntlet on Sunday evening, as they seek to achieve supremacy and be anointed ‘Superbowl’ champions. The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints are more than deserving of their place in the championship game. And for God’s sake can the ‘Brett Favre apologists either stop whining or simply jump of the damn cliff and follow the other lemmings that might’ve done so already !
For both coaches and their entire staffs this will be something to savor , whether or not it’s their first time or a repeat , as in the case of the Colts . For first year coach Jim Caldwell of the Colts, he seeks to do what only a few men have done in the NFL in their first year as a coach and that’s to raise the Lombardi Trophy to signify that they have won the Superbowl. Caldwell’s counterpart, Sean Payton seeks to achieve his own place in history and at the same time give the residents of the city of New Orleans something to be proud of. This may well be the redemption also that Saints’ owner, Tom Benson seeks. As he’d often been thought of as something of a pariah within the city and its surrounding parishes. That may well have now changed but prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster , let’s just say the sight of Benson within the city and its surrounding area was about as welcoming as a dose of the bubonic plague. Much of that changed once the city underwent the disaster as the nation and the inhabitants rallied around to help rebuild and resurrect the city and residents. Though a lot has been done there is still a great deal more to do.
As to the game itself , I’m not about to prognosticate and make a bold prediction. I’ll leave that to the likes of the ‘guys’ in Vegas and the analysts on tv. Suffice to say, all I’m wishing for is that this will be a highly competitive contest ! And on the day the better team will prevail. Sentiments being what they are, would suggest that some will rally around the Saints and cheer them on to victory. While others will no doubt want to see the Peyton Manning led Colts win their second Supebowl in four years. Manning having won his fourth league MVP award , now looks to cement his legacy and add to the annals of NFL history. Whether or not he’ll achieve that goal, we will know by late Sunday evening . But you can bet that he and his teammates will be looking to make it a certainty. Hoping to make sure that doesn’t happen will be Saints quarterback, Drew Brees , his high powered offense and the veteran presence of Darren Sharper .
Now once the game is over and all of the celebrations are to be had. We head into the off-season and all of the uncertainty that’s surrounds it. The ongoing slugfest between the two prinicipla rivals , as in the NFL and the NFLPA (Players’ Union), has left a decidedly and uniquely nasty taste and stench within our midst. One the one hand you have the players wanting, it would seem an even larger slice of an ever diminishing piece of pie. Whereon the other hand you now have the owners and the NFL pleading poverty and the fact that they’re not making as much money as they use to. Pardon me for saying this but when the fu_k have you ever heard of a ‘poverty stricken NFL owner’ ? Well other than that of the ‘Glazer family’ and their less than candor shown, as to their ongoing financial predicament with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United .
Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – DeMaurice Smith slammed a 200-m.p.h. serve into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s end of the court Thursday afternoon when the executive director of the players’ union strongly suggested that the owners would force a work stoppage with a lockout in 2011.
Goodell was far less aggressive with his return in yesterday’s state-of-the-league address at the Broward County Convention Center.
“We want an agreement,” Goodell said. “I think every owner will say the same thing. We want an agreement that is fair to the game, to the players, and will allow us to continue to invest in the game.
“The idea that ownership would be anxious for a work stoppage is absolutely false. You don’t make money by shutting down your business.”
That was much more diplomatic than the message sent by Smith when he met with reporters in the same building less than 24 hours earlier, but Goodell didn’t offer any substantial reasons for optimism on labor negotiations that apparently will lead to a season without a salary cap in 2010.
Smith and the Tennessee Titans’ Kevin Mawae, president of the union, the National Football League Players Association, said the owners had asked the players to take an 18 percent cut in the revenue sharing between the sides.
That contention was among 10 labor questions asked of the commissioner, who had to know the subject would dominate his news conference.
“I will tell you that what we’ve asked for very clearly” is “that when investments are made to grow the game and generate new revenue, they’re given recognition,” Goodell said. “And that will encourage further investment that will hopefully grow [the] pie.”
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NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith and Union President, Kevin Mawae , have pretty much made it clear that if it’s a fight that the NFL wants. Then they’re pretty much prepared to give it to them. As to what form that might take , no one is sure and nor do they welcome it. But it’s pretty much safe to say that the union is prepared for a stoppage and the possibility of a lockout. The last time that happened the NFL was shut down for a few months in 1987. To think that would happen again would send a seismic shockwave across the sporting landscape. And the financial loss to all involved would cost tens of millions of dollars. Never mind that the fans would no doubt feel alienated and betrayed both parties. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , appears to be saying all of the right things but his actions and that of the owners would suggest otherwise. The owners aren’t prepared to acquiesce and give any ground to the union and the same can be said of the union and their view of the situation . For the time being it appears to be a stalemate but somehow , I for one feel that things could get a whole lot nastier before they even give the appearance of getting better. Time is essentially running out for both sides as the deadline set for both sides to reach an agreement is the 5th March. That may well seem a long way off but when measured by the lack of progress that’s been made between both sides. It feels like an eternity or as wide as the Grand Canyon, if you want a meaningful contrast and visual portrayal ?
NFLPA President Kevin Mawae seen here discussing the NFLPA’s involvement with regard to their philanthropic assistance to the strife torn country.
Courtesy of USA Today
FORT LAUDERDALE — No sooner had NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah said during a state of the union Thursday news conference that total league revenue rose to $7.6 billion this past year, than labor strife rhetoric ramped up.
There was NFLPA president Kevin Mawae saying inside meeting room 315 at the Super Bowl media center inside the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center that owners are asking players to take an 18% pay cut and the players’ motto is, “Once uncapped, we’ll never go back.”
The league is less than one month from entering an uncapped 2010 season. If an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached by the end of the 2010 league year in early March, NFL executive director DeMaurice Smith said on a scale of 1-10 that a lockout by owners is a “14.” And once the owners remove the salary cap for this season with restrictions in place, players won’t want to return to a salary-cap mechanism.
“It will be a very difficult task to go back to a capped season,” the veteran Tennessee Titans center said. “I can’t see going back to it. If players can make more than what they can make now in the future, than why would we go back to it?”
It is one of the key questions amid owners demanding the players’ side accept an 18% paycut.
“It’s absolutely that they’ve asked for 18%,” Mawae said. “(New York Giants co-owner) John Mara came out in a meeting last time that they proposed 20% and they won’t budge.
“It’s football. This is the greatest week in the NFL every year. It so happens to be a year when there could be possible labor unrest.
“You don’t want it to overshadow the game. But it’s obviously a part of what’s going to happen in this game. What you see this coming Sunday may not be here in 2011.”
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Needless to say the fans will start to get pissed , having seen the posturing of both sides and with very little having been accomplished. Kindergarten children have been known to show more resolve than what we’re now witnessing from both sides. Suffice to say, the bickering is ongoing and the only thing we’ve yet to see from either side is the name calling. When asked as to how close they were in reaching an amicable agreement upon a new collective bargaining agreement – Kevin Mawae was heard to say …..’what you see here on Sunday …may not be here in 2011′. With that one statement it’s pretty safe to say that averting a lockout, will not be happening. If an agreement can’t be reached in principal and they somehow do seek to play this upcoming season. Then it will be done without the NFL mandated salary cap. Without one in place then it petty much gives the wealthier teams around the NFL ‘carte-blanche’ to go after whomever they want and pay a player whatever they may well seek in terms of a salary. Financial constraints simply goes out the window and the mayhem ensue thereafter. If it’s one thing that we learned when the salary cap first came into being within the NFL. It was that it leveled the playing field and it made the teams and their general managers fiscally responsible. A return to the days of old and the chaos and mayhem that comes with it all , will no doubt add to the complexity of an already exacerbated situation.
If there’s one thing that we know about both the NFL and the NFLPA , it’s that they can both be inconsistently consistent as to a stance taken and then seemingly in the next breath do an about face and act as if the first stance taken by them never happened to begin with. And we’re now seeing it happen as each side is trying to portray themselves as a victim. Whilst I’m watching this unfold it has somewhat given me something of a new found respective for Bud Selig , the MLB hierarchy and that of their own MLBPA (Players Union). At least with each of the parties there , I could tell that they were blowing smoke up my ass , even if it wasn’t being done intentionally ! With the case of both the NFL and NFLPA , they would have you believe that they are sincere in trying to resolve their situation amicably and at the same time stay in the good graces of their patrons, the fans. Truth be known ? Neither party gives ‘a flying fu_k’ what the fans think to begin with because in their eyes it’s about what ‘they want’ , ‘their needs’ and how best it gets achieved !
While we’d all like to see an agreement reached that’s equitable for all of the parties concerned. It’s becoming abundantly clear that there could very well be labor unrest this off-season within the NFL. And if that does happen and there’s a lockout and stoppage. Then for all sense and purpose the NFL and its players can in effect say goodbye to the last piece of goodwill that it had amongst the fans.
Far be it for me to suggest that both the NFL and NFLPA should resort to the ‘ Chicago Way’. But it seemed to have worked for Eliot Ness and his Untouchables.