Here is the good news…we’re getting close! NFL guys met this past Wednesday and consensus is we’re getting close to a deal. Let me lay out how close we are because it appears the owners have a lot of wins. LA is going to get a franchise, there will be new “Thursday night football” games starting in a couple of years – new revenue stream for the owners, the owners are going to get expense credits for new stadiums (which is really good) and the player revenue drops from 60% to 48%. In my opinion, 75% of the owners like that and will sign off on it.
Now the players got a few wins as well. No 18 game schedule, the owners didn’t get another billion off the top and the players also get improved health and pension funding – which they absolutely deserve! It’s the most popular league in America, give them pension and health benefits…they had it coming.
Where do the fans win? Starting in a couple of years you get Thursday night games – that’s sweet! And you’ll get guaranteed football for 10 years. So everybody wins something. It feels to me like the owners won the most, the players are close and the fans get a couple of “gimmies” at the end. The reality is – it’s going to be a close vote. But you only need 24 of 32 owners to approve a deal.
There’s a hand full of cranky low revenue guys at the bottom, there’s guys who would’ve signed yesterday at the top – but like a society, you can’t build a structure for a society on the 4 rich guys at the top or the 4 poorest guys at the bottom. You’ve got to take the middle class, the lower middle and the upper middle and build a society around them.
Even among NFL owners – who are all wealthy, there are stratas of rich. There are 4 or 5 upper crest revenue teams in the NFL. Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Redskins, Bears, Patriots and maybe a surprise, the Texans – that’s the upper crest revenue teams. There’s the poorest of the rich: Bills, Jaguars, Raiders, Bengals, Cardinals and Rams. There are a few upper middle’s that are better than average but don’t have elite revenue: Ravens, Jets and Eagles. There’s a few lower middle: Colts, Falcons, Saints and Dolphins.
But the reality is that this league is built on the middle! And that is why the league is so successful. No league in the U.S. relates to more people, on the field and off the field, then the NFL. Players can get cut – just like you can lose your job. There are very few guarantees, you work in cold weather…they play in cold weather. You work hurt and sick…they play hurt and sick. Almost no NFL player is completely healthy by Week 3. This is a league that is connected to the working class woman and man in the U.S. like no other league. Its not a glamour league, they go to colleges you’ve heard off, you follow them in high school and college, they are microwavable stars by the time they get to the NFL – it just works!
You can’t built it off the top like Robert Kraft and you can’t build it around the bottom like Ralph Wilson of the Bills, you’ve gotta build it around your Falcons and your Colts and your teams in the middle and that’s what this league has done for years. Jim Irsay of the Colts said that its getting close and that we cannot take the foot of the gas, we’ve got to meet again “It just makes sense to continue to have a feeling of urgency and to work to try and get something done so, you know, that’s my hope that these things are tough and fragile but there’s a reason why I think you just have to keep working at it!”