Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Rant: Owners, Players & the NFL

It’s mid-February, and the prospect of losing some if not all of the NFL season due to, well, money issues, is a growing possibility. And you know what, I get it. The owners want to maximize profits, and the players want to maximize salary. A few random points I just want to throw out there:

If you can’t turn a profit owning an NFL team, you’re either inept or lying.

1. If You Own An NFL Team And Can’t Make A Profit, Sell.

Seriously, is there any other business in the world has a more guaranteed revenue stream than the NFL? Funeral homes, maybe, though people are living longer these days. If you can’t turn a profit owning an NFL team, you’re either inept or lying. The NFL is a license to print cash. The games are routinely the most watched on television, they have merchandising and promotional tie-ins to every conceivable product or service on the planet. And it says a lot that the NFL owners who are claiming poverty are also the ones refusing to open the accounting books to verify such claims.

2. Rookies Don’t Deserve To Be Paid Like Superstars

If there is one thing that irks me more than anything, it’s that the top ten picks of each year are probably going to make more than the top ten veteran players at their positions, and at least half of the rookies will underperform or simply bust out. The players, or more accurately, their percentage grabbing agents, have to support a rookie wage scale. How many more JaMarcus Russell’s can this league, let alone any team, absorb? It’s a disgusting waste of money, and damages the competitiveness of teams when their salary cap won’t allow improvements. Don’t give me that the-owners-don’t-have-to-pay BS, of course they do, or else the players hold out and ownership gets roasted by the fanbase. Other professional sports leagues have figured this one out.

3. No, Players Do Not Have An Equal Stake

I keep hearing that owners shoulder all of the risk, and part of this is making the players give back money to shoulder more of the financial burden of the league. Really? So, in what profession do employees who do not have a monetized stake in the company have to give money to the company to help offset risks and costs? Why should some seventh round pick who may only play a year or two have his salary reduced to help offset the costs by a billionaire owner, when that player will see no benefit once their career is over? I mean, if the NFL wants to become a publicly traded company, and hand out shares of stock to players, then sure, why not. Paying a salary isn’t profit sharing. Owners can’t demand the players shoulder the load, and provide them with no stake in the product.

Like an NFL player, I go to a job each day that is not guaranteed, and can be terminated at any time. I have no financial stake other than collecting a paycheck, so there is no reason for me to “give back” to the company to help with its success. Otherwise, it’s just extortion.