Archive for March, 2011

The State of the National Football League

March 18, 2011

I apologize for the lack of content on the site lately. I wish I could say it’s been because we’ve been too busy and although that’s partially the case; the real reason is our utter disgust with the NFL at this moment. If you’re looking for a short answer on which side to take in this mockery of a situation the answer is NEITHER! This article however, may sway your sympathies toward the owners and not the players.

In a letter sent out by Roger Goodell to NFL Players he highlighted what the owners were willing to concede in order to get a deal done. Some of the concessions include no more talk of an 18 game season for at least another two years; extended retirement and health benefits to current and former NFL players; establishing a rookie wage scale; and drastically increasing the 2014 Salary Cap. My question is: WHAT ELSE DO THEY WANT!

It doesn’t surprise me that the feud has come this far considering the types of people you are dealing with. Since the beginning of this struggle for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFLPA promoted a sense of a David v. Goliath battle wherein the players (David) were pitted against the ruthless, power hungry owners (Goliath). The Associated Press pinned the affair much more accurately as the millionaires (players) vs. the billionaires (owners). Although it sounds more like a rap battle than a labor dispute, the AP has more accurately portrayed the essence of the dispute and the greed associated with it.

What’s remarkable to me is that both sides have spent countless hours trying win over the court of public opinion by trying to relate to the common man. The common man! Are you kidding me? The average American man or woman is currently faced with one of the worst job markets and economic situations in this country’s history. The average member of the American middle class works an eight hour day, 40 hour week just to struggle to get by. It makes me sick to my stomach to see players like Drew Brees, who happens to be a lead plaintiff in the current mockery or an antitrust suit the players against the NFL, trying to sympathize with the plight of American society. Brees is set to make just under $7.4 million in base salary for the 2011 season. That does not include the multi-millions he gets in endorsements for peddling Nyquil and Gatorade.

Is it any coincidence that Brees accepted the responsibility of being one of the three lead plaintiffs (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the others) a year before he is set to hit the free agent market? How about his brother in arms Manning whose contract has just recently expired? Could both Brees and Manning be looking for even bigger payouts than the close to $20 million they would both likely would’ve commanded under the now expired CBA? I’m not saying that’s the driving force behind their insistence on leading this hypocritical campaign against the big, bad owners, but don’t be naive, it’s not a coincidental occurrence.

Perhaps the detail that bothers me most about this dispute is the controlling figure for the NFLPA. The collective breath of the American public before these “negotiations” even began was: “Who the hell is DeMaurice Smith and how in God’s name did he ever become the executive director of the National Football League Players’ Association?” Smith is not an NFL player. He is not a former NFL player. Prior to this debacle he had never held a position in an NFL team’s front office, or intermediate level for that matter. I seriously doubt he’s even ever stepped foot on an NFL field. DeMaurice Smith is a lawyer! He’s not a lawyer who specialized in anything related to sports. Considering the NFLPA’s collective sigh of poverty and their supposed victimization by the owners, you would at least think Smith was a defense attorney. Surprise, surprise, he’s a prosecutor. So what portion of his career background qualifies him to control the negotiating and financial interests of a union that is over 1,700 members strong? This is an answer I’ve been searching for, for the past three months.

With their now former executive director (since the union decertified) having little to no qualifying experience in the National Football League, it is absurd to understand the perceived mindset let alone sympathize with the former NFLPA in this dispute. Let me make myself clear, this is not a crusade to gain sympathy for the NFL owners. Personally, I believe that both sides are wrong. The only thing I’m concerned with is the existence of the National Football League in 2011. It just seems that with this most recent discovery, demonstrating the owners’ willingness to negotiate and make these concessions, the players and not the owners are more in the wrong.

In this time of labor uncertainty one thing is certain, there will be an NFL Draft on April 28th. Check back in the coming weeks for an in depth analysis of the Buffalo Bills draft needs and a position by position examination of the current roster. Also, follow us at www.mockingthedraft.com for current 2011 NFL Team Draft Needs.


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