The Green Bay Packers have won Super Bowl XLV and will remain the reigning Super Bowl Champions for two years.
At least that is what might happen if the NFL and the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) do not agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
In 2006, the NFL and NFLPA agreed on the current CBA that was scheduled to expire after the 2011 season; however, the NFL opted out of the
CBA and now it is scheduled to expire on March 4.
Before delving into the major points of the CBA and why it’s likely that this will be a very contentious bargaining period, we need to examine the two sides of the CBA.
First, when I say they NFL that refers to the owners of the 32 teams in the NFL. NFL commissioner Roger Goodel was not involved in the decision to opt out of the CBA; it was the owners who voted to opt out.
Second, the NFLPA is the players union, which is led by NFLPA President and former NFL player, Kevin Mawae and NFLPA Director DeMaurice Smith.
The NFL is claiming that their operating costs have risen too high mainly because of player salaries and benefits.
Currently, NFL players receive approximately 60 percent of the gross NFL revenue after a one billion dollar credit is given to owners for their investment in the league.
The gross NFL revenue is currently $9 billion; the players are receiving an estimated 60 percent, approximately $4.8 billion of the remaining $8 billion, after subtracting the one billion dollar owners credit.
The players would continue to receive about 60 percent of the remaining money but now it would only be 60 percent of $7 billion instead of $8 billion.Owners are asking to receive an extra one billion dollars, to be taken off of the gross NFL revenue. That would make it $2 billion total taken off of the $9 billion gross NFL revenue.
Obviously, that would decrease player salaries significantly; therefore, the NFLPA has rejected the owners’ request. The NFLPA has asked owners to provide the financial details of why owners need the extra one billion dollars.
The owners have continually pointed to the only publicly available financial records of an NFL team, the Green Bay Packers.
In the fiscal year that ended on Mar. 31, 2007, the Packers earned over $34.2 million in operating profit according to ESPN. However, in the fiscal year that ended on Mar. 31, 2010, the Packers earned only $9.8 million.
While it is a stark decline in profit for the Packers, the NFLPA rejects the numbers as being empirical proof because the other 31 teams’ financial records have not been made available.
But there are several others.The NFLPA has stated that without the other teams’ financial records, they will not be able to establish any accuracy in the owners’ claims that operating costs have been driven up too high. If that was the only problem standing in between the NFL and NFLPA agreeing on a new CBA, it would still be a contentious and hard fought negotiation.
The owners have expressed an interest in lengthening the NFL regular season from 16 games to 18. They have proposed to eliminate two pre-season games to accommodate the two new regular season games.
However, players have voiced their concern about extending the regular season citing possible injury.
1The average playing span of the average NFL player is four years, if the regular season were extended two games that could decrease.
If the NFL was to expand to 18 regular season games, players expect to be compensated for the possible decrease in the career life-span of the average NFL player. Owners have also expressed their discontent with the current rookie wage scale.
During the 2010’s NFL draft’s first overall selection was Sam Bradford who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Bradford received a six-year $78 million deal that could reach $86 million if he reaches performance incentives.
The NFL would like to decrease the amount of money that is involved in rookie contracts.
These three issues: the amount of money players are receiving, the 18-game schedule and the rookie wage scale seem to be the biggest three bargaining chips involved in completing the new CBA.
I believe that the latter two could be solved rather simply.
I do not think there will be an 18-game schedule in 2011. The two sides will come to a compromise where they extend the season one week by
giving every team one extra bye week.
That will incr
om ad dollars and television contracts for teams but not add extra risk to players. The rookie wage scale will be decreased substantially.nue fr
Current players have not voic
ed much opposition to a decreased rookie wage scale as long as most of the money is channeled towards veteran players. However, the problem involving the amount of money that players receive will not be resolved unless one of three things happens.
First, the owners decide to give up the request: not likely to happen.
Second, the owners allow players to see the financial records and the players recognize that the owners really are paying too much for player salaries: again not likely to happen.
Finally, the players give in
because some players, who believe it or not live paycheck-to-paycheck, are going bankrupt.
That is the most likely scenario.
Regardless, I do see the new CBA negotiations lasting until right before the regular season starts where either the NFL or NFLPA will buckle to the pressure of fans.