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The NFL Without a CBA

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by flutie2phelan, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rookie

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    In these final hours before 24 owners bend over to the agents' agent, Mr. Upshaw,
    it is worth a moment to reflect on what could have happened
    had they rejected the "final offer".

    All commentaries (that i've seen) have been apocalyptic ... chaos to follow ...
    self-immolation of the union in 2008 ... strike or lockout ... all that stuff.
    But why?

    Having tried for a couple weeks now to imagine a future without the CBA,
    that future doesn't appear so terrible. Wasn't pro football fun to watch before the CBA came along in 1993?
    Doesn't the labor market grade and distribute all kinds of talent and skill throughout the economy ...
    without a draft?
    without intermediation by a union?
    without rules and regulations for "free agency"?
    without salary caps ... and vet minimums ... and bonus proration?

    How about if ? :
    instead of the draft, teams bid money (and other desirable contract terms)
    to college players they wished to hire ... and the player chose one.

    Each contract, naturally, is for an agreed period of years ...
    after which, neither party has any obligation to the other.

    Teams could negotiate options to extend, if they wished.
    If a team wants to cut a player while he is under contract, they buy it out.

    That is to say ... teams would have "labor relations" with their players
    identical to their labor relations with their coaches ... and scouts ... and capologists ... and dieticians.

    There are no anti-trust violations; simply standard contract law.
    What would be lost is Rozelle's vision of pay-parity. Some owners would
    carry big payrolls ... and compete for championships.
    Other owners would low-ball their employees, and merely play out their schedules.
    But the union doesn't care about that anyway. Television well may PREFER such a scenario. Why should the owners object?
  2. hwc

    hwc Rookie

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    I do think the illusion of parity contributes to the NFL's national success. By "illusion" I mean that, on average, every mediocre team will earn a playoff spot often enough to give their fans false hope. In reality, the Jags and Giants and all the other mediocre teams aren't in any danger of actually winning a SuperBowl, but they are just close enough to keep their fans thinking about it.

    Of course, nothing generates false hope quicker than signing a big-ticket free agent. Most NFL fans actually think one "piece of the puzzle" makes a difference, not understaning that a good football team requires a contribution from 53 players.

    From my perspective as a fan, my biggest complaint with the current system is that it necessitates too much roster-churning for roster-churning sake. The winners in that are the agents. Fans lose because it is impossible to keep players. In an ideal system, the Pats should at least have the chance to keep David Givens. In reality, they don't.
  3. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Hmmm - interesting thoughts.


    Maybe the thing to do is to put all the teams with a lot of money to spend in one division and another division for the teams with less money to spend.

    Then parity will be preserved, at least until the two divisions have to play each other in the Super Bowl.

    I'd prefer to keep things the way they are but if there's going to be no Cap, and no revenue sharing, that's probably the way to go.
  4. primetime

    primetime Rookie

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    #18 Jersey

    Then you have a problem that exists in European soccer. Teams like Chelsea or Wigan have owners with nearly unlimited cash reserves who can splurge on every desirable player imaginable. While other teams can find diamonds in the rough, it would be harder with players emerging from a single pool (the NCAA) rather than hundreds to thousands of leagues all over the world. Sure, the NFL is successful and owners would be able to buy enough players to compete, but there would always be a few owners (Daniel Snyder?) capable of and willing to drop a ton of cash to create dream teams.
  5. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    This is not entirely true, Primetime. What you are describing is what I like to call the "Yankee Syndrome" where an owner thinks that he can just buy a championship by buying the "best talent" that is available. Unfortunately, there are quite a few problems with this.

    1) Players want to play. They don't want to sit on the bench.

    2) There are only 53 spots and 8 practice squad slots (though that may change with an uncapped year) and a very limited number of plays in every game. Because of this, not every player will go to the team throwing the most money around. Why? Because players want to play.

    3) The Patriots have shown that its not the team with the MOST talent that wins. Its the most talented TEAM that wins. There is a distinction there.

    4) Owners are in this to make money. If Dan Snyder is spending $300 million on a payroll, he's severally cutting into his revenues and profits and won't be able to sustain that level of salary payouts. Particularly if his team isn't winning.

    5) Even in the uncapped year, a MAJORITY of the revenue is coming from TV Contracts. In fact, I've read that teams received 87 million last year. That's more than the salary cap. So that puts all the gate receipts and local revenue together for the purpose of paying out cash over cap amounts. And really takes away from these "low revenue" teams claiming they won't be able to compete.
  6. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Very interesting.

    The problem I see is that you are looking at the teams as individual business, but they need to function as a league. (By the way if not they lose the anti-trust exemption and all hell breaks loose)
    But at some levels owners need to work together for the greater good.

    That means there probably, unfortunately does need to be a players union.

    While I would agree that the 'open season' scenario you suggest isn't bad, a union would eventually get in the way of it.

    The possibility that it would turn into 2-3 mega rich teams always winning seems remote to me because there is so much potential profit involved that you would attract wealthy owners willing to consider the team an investment and plow cash into it. (Its different than baseball IMO because of the huge TV $$)
  7. Sean Pa Patriot

    Sean Pa Patriot Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Lets wait until 11pm to see if there will be life without a CBA
  8. primetime

    primetime Rookie

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    #18 Jersey

    True, but you only need a super 22 (or 25, if you want to include specialists). Middling subs would be par for the course. I can understand how it would work, but I'm of the opinion that the CBA makes for more parity and a more competitive league.

    Since the NFL makes money on its own, there would be nothing stopping owners from turning their franchises into personal cash machines by stripping the team and playing with a roster looking like the Amsterdam Admirals or Scotland Claymores. I'm sure the team would still make money (since TV revenues make up the majority of income for teams, and this would likely be unaffected, though ticket sales might take a hit), and probably moreso when their team is paying 15 million compared to some other team putting down 100 million on their players looking to be competitive. Remember, the CBA doesn't just restrict the maximum amount of money that owners spend on their teams, but the minimum amount as well.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2006
  9. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rookie

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    The NFL has no anti-trust exemption to lose ... which is why the NFLPA could bludgeon them into a collective bargaining agreement in the first place. Leagues can operate legally with neither exemptions nor collective bargaining ... they simply cannot conspire against the workforce. Individual contracts obviate any fear of that.


    I don't think there is any problem with jointly maintaining a level playing field for the game. Just make sure you don't oppress the employees. The equal distribution of the vast tv revenues and 40% of the gate receipts ... does constitute quite a large effort toward the common weal ... and is a big cushion to mitigate the sheer selfishness of some owners who don't care about winning.


    If the players vote for one, the owners have to deal with it. But smart management should be able to forestall a union for people who average 1.4 million annual income ... for about 8 months work. In the '80s, the players had grievances. What is their grievance today? ... revenue-sharing? Ha Ha.


    Yes. But we can refer to real history. In the modern era, the Browns ran roughshod for a while ... then pre-eminence switched to the Packers. Steelers ... Cowboys ... FortyNiners, each in their turn. The league coped well with those cycles ... and thrived. Even if that pattern returns ... is it so bad? The networks don't think so.

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