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Thursday, March 02, 2006

NFL Armageddon?

As hard as it is to get sports-upset over NFL labor issues in March, you all should know that a kind of NFL Armageddon will come upon America today if Gene Upshaw of the Player's Union (above) and The NFL Ownership Cabal don't come to an agreement. Here is, as best as I can tell, the deal:

The current collectively bargained deal ends in the spring of 2008, over two years from now, and there is a no-strike no-lockout clause in it. So there will be no labor stoppages during the next two seasons. However, getting a deal done now is important because if they don't, the stage is set for football eventually becoming baseball in the sense of competitive imbalance, wild salary fluctuation, and diva-like players who don't try. At least that's what Mark"The Mask" Maske of the Washington Post thinks. At any rate, that must not be allowed to happen.

The whole issue here is that Upshaw thinks he can get the 8 or so big-revenue generating owners to cut their compatriots off at the knees in negotiations. Actually, it's a lot more complicated than that, but I don't think Upshaw would be negotiating this hard if those 8 or so owners didn't exist. This is an Upshaw miscalculation for two reasons:
  1. The vast majority of owners want more revenue sharing, not less.
  2. In 2008, that majority of owners could "hockey," or hold out for a more restrictive system (and probably would, too, if they were ticked off enough.)
In the short term, having no labor deal would create massive financial chaos for a number of reasons. At the very least, teams whose payrolls are over the salary cap would have to immediately cut a bunch of highly-paid players. This would be mucho bad for the players. There's a bunch of other financial issues that are too boring to get into here, but virtually all of them are also negative towards the players.

Then, in 2007, theree would be the dreaded "uncapped year," in which crazy owners could buy an all-star team of players if they wanted. But like I said, the vast majority of owners want a salary cap/more revenue sharing/etc., which would make Yankee-esqe behavior a disastrous mistake (because in 2008 there would be a salary cap, and all the players signed in 2007 would have to be released in 2008, which would cost the Yankee-esqe owners a lot of money.)

Football is not going to go the way of baseball, because look at what Upshaw is saying...he actually wants the best deal for his players (unlike baseball's equivalent Don Fehr, who just wants to justify his own existence and paycheck.) He wants more revenue sharing among teams so that everyone will be able to pay his players. Imagine if Fehr engaged in that kind of higher thinking.

The Yankees, as we know them, would cease to exist.

So the real danger here is that there might be no NFL in 2008-2009, which is a little hard to get upset about now. All this unnecessary worry is giving me a headache. I'm going to go purchase a non-caffeinated soda and calm the heck down.


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