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League boasts of solidarity among owners

With the NFL and the players’ union not meeting three days before the first uncapped year since 1993 commences, the league’s owners are meeting.

And the league is claiming that the 32 billionaires and multi-multi-multi-millionaires are on the same page like never before.

NFL Executive V.P. of Communications and Public Affairs Joe Browne declared on his Twitter page after today’s 90-minute labor update that he has “never seen the owners so united in all my [years] with the NFL.”

It’s bad news for the NFLPA — and it could be bad news for the rest of us.  Whatever the plan may be, the owners plan to implement it.  If, as the union believes, that plan entails a lockout, then a lockout could be coming.

Of course, the goal could be to get enough of the players to make enough calls to the NFLPA offices in the hopes of making the union go wobbly in the knees and do a deal.  Whether it works or not remains to be seen.

And even if a deal isn’t done by Friday, the NFLPA annual meeting later this month in Hawaii could be extremely interesting.  Two years ago, former Executive Director Gene Upshaw believed that Troy Vincent was trying to launch a coup.  Though such concerns might have been unreasonable in 2008, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that someone plans to make a push for new leadership in 2010.

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31 Responses to “League boasts of solidarity among owners”
  1. JaggedMark says: Mar 2, 2010 9:52 PM

    And by the way, Troy Vincent should have the position. IMO

  2. csmith_apd50 says: Mar 2, 2010 9:54 PM

    actually 31 owners, the packers are owned by the fans!

  3. VegasBronco says: Mar 2, 2010 9:54 PM

    Well Troy Vincent is now in the league offices so he will not take over. I think.
    One think is for sure DeMaurice Smith is not the right person, they need an ex player.

  4. RayDaMayor says: Mar 2, 2010 10:05 PM

    The owners have all the power.
    Now if only they can contain Davis, Synder and Jones.

  5. gopher says: Mar 2, 2010 10:07 PM

    I’m amazed that in the financial problems most people and cities face that the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball who are all making money and the NFL that is making a ton of money would possible strike or lock out the players. I don’t know who the fans would support, the owners or players but I will guarantee you the fans will be most upset.

  6. Deb says: Mar 2, 2010 10:14 PM

    I wouldn’t be saying this if Upshaw were still alive, but under present circumstances, maybe new leadership is exactly what’s needed. Of course the owners are hanging together. Their position has never been stronger.

  7. Abe Froeman says: Mar 2, 2010 10:16 PM

    UFL here I come.
    In two years the product should be decent enough to provide a fall football fix.

  8. .VoxVeritas says: Mar 2, 2010 10:27 PM

    So essentially what you’re saying is that we’re seeing the birth of the NFLOA, the NFL Owners Association.
    If the NFLPA’s knees aren’t knocking by now, it can only because they’re collectively too short-sighted to see the horizon. The owners have all the leverage. In spite of beliefs to the contrary, even NFL owners are allowed to maximize their returns and if the players think that they’re not making enough money for what they can do on a football field over 16 games, maybe they should see what they can make sitting in a cubicle or at the Home Depot paint dept. for 40 hours a week.

  9. rjgreen3 says: Mar 2, 2010 10:32 PM

    BOTH sides should take a real hard look at how a lockout will affect the people(the fans) who spend their hard earned $ each year. The fans will be very upset about any stoppage!
    GET RID OF COMMISSIONER GOOFBALL AND DUMBASS SMITH AND A DEAL CAN GET COMPLETED!

  10. Brewster says: Mar 2, 2010 11:07 PM

    It’s very hard to have any sympathy for any of the parties involved except the fans.

  11. SpartaChris says: Mar 3, 2010 12:12 AM

    To touch on Vox’s post, if I’m a player making millions, I would be talking to the owners to find out how to grow those millions and possibly turn those millions into billions like most of the owners. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help from those more successful than you are.

  12. smashmouthd says: Mar 3, 2010 12:17 AM

    The interesting thing about 2010, is that it is so vastly different from the 80s and 90s.
    First, while the economy had its ups and downs during those decades, at no time was the nation sitting over 10% unemployment rate, with no real solutions on the horizon (of course that 10% is really around 25% right now if you take into account people who have already used up all their benefits and are now slinging hamburgers at McDonalds to stay alive).
    Secondly, at no time during those years were rookies coming into the NFL making millions more than well known and well liked veteran players.
    Lastly, at those times players were not making millions more than the average, or above average, worker. The bond between regular stiffs and unions, and NFL players, is no longer there… NFL players are just the lesser Rich of this fight between players and owners.
    Example:
    Joe Montana’s first contract (three years) was for a $50,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $50,000, $70,000 and $85,000.
    Mathew Stafford signed a a deal containing $41.7 million in guaranteed money, and lots more in salary.
    No working stiff is going to have any sympathy for the players… and the more Smith whines his foolishness the more it will turn fans off.

  13. SprintPhoneFTW says: Mar 3, 2010 1:30 AM

    The fans aren’t blameless.
    When you buy the tickets and over-priced, watered down beer, you’re saying “hey, I approve of and support the continued existence of this situation”.
    So…um…you know…don’t.

  14. SixburghDynasty says: Mar 3, 2010 6:21 AM

    I’m on the side that makes the me (the fan) the most happy. The NFL needs a rookie pay scale no doubt, but i’m all for having the owners have power over the players. The last thing we need is a sport where the players hold the cards like baseball. 5 competitive teams and Wal-mart CEO-like salaries for bums and the owners can do nothing about it.

  15. Bob Nelson says: Mar 3, 2010 7:32 AM

    Mike there are not 32 billionaire owners.
    There is one team that is owned by hundreds of thousands of stockholders. That team opens its books every year for everyone to see.
    Please get the basic facts right first before speculating.

  16. Ollie says: Mar 3, 2010 7:42 AM

    The NFL is just like all big corporations. Greed rules their thinking. It is never enouph. Even knowing that the economy is what it is today and how the common fan, which is who makes them the money, is suffering with job loses and forclosures, they still will risk loosing them because of greed.
    It makes me sick to hear the union tell the player to save up and make sure they can make through a year without pay. If I made six million dollars for the last three years, not getting a pay check for a year would be the least of my worries.
    To the owners….stick your fortunes up your butt!
    To the players….If you don’t want to play the game and take the risk for your millions, go get a minimum wage job like many have had to do after their secure job went overseas and they lost their home.

  17. reddog9 says: Mar 3, 2010 8:48 AM

    I hope the players continue to negotiate from their position of weakness and the owners really stick it to the union! I am a huge NFL fan, but I can find something else to do in fall of 2011 and save over $350 on the NFL Network. The fans will not side with the players in this dispute and the sooner the players realize it the better……I want to see all unions crushed!

  18. topcide says: Mar 3, 2010 10:01 AM

    If the players really have it so bad, Micky D’s is hiring.Shamrock shakes should be out this week so they should be busy.

  19. Hap says: Mar 3, 2010 10:21 AM

    Jones never has been nor never will eb the problem Ray(neva)Demayor.
    You mau be accurate on the other 2. Danielle is the biggest concern, especially after the regime of futility he has during his ownership pedigree.

  20. reddog9 says: Mar 3, 2010 10:39 AM

    Hey Ollie – You sound like a typical liberal……hurry up and get in line, Commrade Nobama has a hand out for you!!!!!!
    Don’t worry that some day soon the rest of us working fools are going to get tired of seeing all our hard earned money given over to the likes of you when all you do is complain while standing in line for a handout from us!

  21. Deb says: Mar 3, 2010 2:16 PM

    @Wow, reddog9, not only did you skip history in school, you also skipped economics. You’re actually paying $350 a year for the NFL Network? Makes me feel like I should call Comcast and apologize for complaining about the $60 a year I pay. Just got an e-mail this morning that you can now get a lot of NFL Network programming on Hulu.com … free.
    As for history, before unions, business owners forced workers–you know, average reddogs like you–to put in 18-hour days for barely enough to feed themselves. If they didn’t like it, they could starve. They worked in sweat shops–like the ones we tsk-tsk about in those nasty community countries. No windows. No breaks. No age limits either. You might have started work at six or eight–that’s years of age not time of day. If you dropped dead on the floor, they’d just scoop you up, throw you in an alley, and bring in the next kid.
    Safety measures, health insurance? Ha! If workers were expendable, then so were their arms, legs, fingers, and eyes. If a sweat shop burned down with all the employees inside because there was no adequate means of escape, well, the owner would just open another one. Fire traps are cheap. And if employees dared complain, they were labeled socialists or communists or anarchists and their fearful neighbors promised to crush them. Hmm, where have I heard that before?
    Yeah, sometimes today’s unions create their own problems and sometimes they’re corrupt. But if you have safe working conditions, employer-sponsored health care, a living wage, and decent work hours, you owe it to people about a 130 years ago who risked their lives to start a union. And you owe them even if you don’t work in a union shop … and even if you’re too ignorant to know it.

  22. smashmouthd says: Mar 3, 2010 3:31 PM

    Deb,
    I fully agree with you that we owe a lot of the privileges and benefits employees have long enjoyed to what the Unions fought for in the past.
    I agree that in the past, the NFLPA/Union had legitimate gripes back in the 80s and 90s.
    But much like the United Auto Workers a couple years back, the NFL Union right now is putting a gun to it’s own head, and pulling the trigger.
    If they don’t give in to some/most of what the Owners are asking from them, they are only going to lose more than they would by compromising.
    I don’t care what friends Smith has in ‘high places’ the players will lose out. They are about to start losing out in 2010, and it will be much worse for them in 2011 without coming to terms.
    To reiterate my previous example, the biggest problem is the Agents/Rookie contracts:
    Joe Montana’s first contract (three years) was for a $50,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $50,000, $70,000 and $85,000.
    Mathew Stafford’s rookie deal contained $41.7 million in guaranteed money, in a six-year $72 million deal, with another $6 million in playing time incentives.
    See a difference?
    See why no-one will be sympathizing with the players?

  23. Deb says: Mar 3, 2010 5:14 PM

    @smashmouthd …
    My previous comment was directed to reddog9 because it was a specific reaction to his knee-jerk diatribe about wanting to see all unions crushed.
    Of course, some of us will sypathize with the players because they’re labor and so are we. Most of us are expendable because thousands with our skills could replace us. But there aren’t thousands of star left tackles and QBs floating around. There aren’t even 32. The owners make billions off their unique talents, and they have a right to a large chunk of the profits. And remember, there was a contract in place. The owners have chosen to toss it because they don’t like the terms they previously accepted. So much for “my word is my bond.”
    But I agree the players have no choice but to compromise. And I have little confidence in De Smith to do what’s best for them.
    As for agent/rookie contracts, yes, it would make sense for players to earn the bulk of their money after they’ve proved themselves–as workers do in most businesses. Then again, in most businesses, the average career lasts longer than 3-4 years. I suspect that’s why players want to earn what they can up front. And most of us don’t go to work each morning knowing our careers could end on a single Darryl Stingley/Jack Tatum play. So it’s understandable why players want to get a high-paying rookie contract. But we all know those deals only go to the top draft picks and the pay scale begins to spiral downward significantly after the low first, second, and third round.
    You can’t compare the rookie contracts of Joe Montana and Matt Stafford given they occurred 30 years apart. Not only did players earn less in Montana’s day, but the owners weren’t reaping the profits of the multi-billion-dollar network and satellite contracts they have today. There were no satellite contracts in Montana’s day. So it’s apples and oranges.
    Yes, I’m sure a lot of fans will be rooting for the poor owners. Most rank-and-file fans don’t make that much and think players should be happy with what they’ve got or take a job at Home Depot. Never mind that they’ve spent their lives working and training and disciplining themselves to become elite athletes. Funny how you never hear anyone suggest owners like Little Danny Snyder should be happy with the billions HE has now or go take a job at the Home Depot. I certainly hope that’s not because he’s white, and 70 percent of NFL players are black. But no, I’m sure that’s got nothing to do with all this animosity everyone seems to have toward the players.

  24. smashmouthd says: Mar 3, 2010 7:53 PM

    @ Deb
    In reply to your last two paragraphs – I understand the difference in times between Montana’s days and Stafford/today… however when Montana was a rookie making $75Gs a year, I was 18 while working nights stocking shelves at Stop and Shop for $25Gs a year, while going to college days.
    While Joe was making significantly more than I was, it wasn’t an obscene amount that made what I earned seem insignificant and meaningless in comparison.
    Today, 30 years later, that same night clerk at stop and shop makes $25Gs a year starting out, and has less benefits than I did. While Stafford is making and average of $12 million a year.
    I’m trying to point out to you why there will be resentment towards the players, and no amount of logical debating about player’s value in relation to earnings of the NFL is going to sell to the vast majority of people who have no hope of ever coming close to earning the type of money the minimum-waged NFL rookie makes.
    Truth of the matter is, without sports, without football, a large majority of these players would be hard pressed to get a job better than stocking shelves for Stop and Shop. And most people know that, including the owners.

  25. Deb says: Mar 3, 2010 11:27 PM

    smashmouth’d says:
    “I’m trying to point out to you why there will be resentment towards the players, and no amount of logical debating about player’s value in relation to earnings of the NFL is going to sell to the vast majority of people who have no hope of ever coming close to earning the type of money the minimum-waged NFL rookie makes.”
    ———————————————
    I completely agree with that statement, smashmouth’d–and since I’m not simple-minded, was aware of it long before you started trying to point it out to me. But just because the vast majority of fans can’t logically debate a player’s value in relation to the earnings of the NFL doesn’t mean I’m going to pretend not to know any better and go along. I’m not a go-along-to-get-along gal.
    Your assertion that, without football, a “large majority” of these players would be hard-pressed to get a better job than stock boy is irrelevant. They have football. They’re elite athletes and that doesn’t happen by accident. They had to WORK for it.
    Many people have natural talent for athletics and the arts, but don’t become successful athletes, singers, actors, writers. It’s common for people outside those fields to look at the success stories and jealously dismiss them as “lucky.” But they weren’t lucky. They had to work to maximize their talent.
    So if a Stop and Shop clerk makes $25k and Bill Gates makes $10 billion, should we take away Gates’s money so the clerk won’t feel small and insignificant? How Marxist of you! Or does this need to stamp out wage disparity only apply to athletes like Matt Stafford?
    Look, I’m no happier than you that athletes and actors, etc., make millions while teachers and nurses earn a pittance. But in a capitalist society the market decides the wages. And I wouldn’t be happier knowing players and actors had their salaries cut so Jerry Jones and Disney could earn more. I’d rather see a football player earn millions than the CEO of a health insurer. Most of the player’s money comes from television contracts and ad revenue. The CEO’s comes from denying coverage to the sick and dying. That player isn’t taking anything from me–and he’s providing me an escape from worries about health insurance and other concerns.
    So the owners know that, without them, the players would be stocking shelves? Do you know what the teams would be without the players?
    Nonexistent.

  26. smashmouthd says: Mar 4, 2010 7:57 AM

    @ Deb,
    I never believed you to be simple minded, but your defense of players as being something special, something so unique no one else could do it, comes close to an argument I would label as such.
    Athletes of any sport, choose to invest their time and energies into making themselves good at that particular sport… this is true.
    It was more than a decade or two ago, but I served with men in the Army that could have been NFL players, if not for a busted knee, or a sense of patriotic duty they felt a need to fulfill, or a commission they had to honor.
    As a Ranger I was just as ‘elite’ and ‘unique’ an ‘athlete’ and it didn’t happen by ‘accident’ and I had to ‘WORK’ for it. Truth is, most NFL players aren’t any more special than many of us that choose to go on and do other things with life.
    That’s why they are doomed to go into this battle against the owners without the support of the fans behind them… because most fans know the argument you are trying to present is so much BS, the worst of them are getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to play a game… no one will have any sympathy for them, that’s plenty of money for doing nothing of major consequence to society.
    Bill Gates, he revolutionized our world, he created one of the biggest industrial giants of the last half century, he is an intelligent well educated man who has given back billions to society. Not the best example to bring in for your argument.
    The Owners run the organization, take the financial risks, employee hundreds/thousands of people, some of them build their own stadiums and restaurants and run other multi-million dollar businesses. Their efforts, and their stakes, are substantially more significant than what the 22 year old brings to the table right out of school.

  27. Deb says: Mar 4, 2010 2:08 PM

    @smashmouthd …
    Actually, Bill Gates is the perfect example. In a capitalist society people are paid according to their market value–the profits they generate. Bill Gates didn’t reap billions because he’s an intelligent, well-educated man who has given back to society. He reaped billions because his products earned billions. Period.
    No, the players aren’t doing anything of major consequence for society. Neither is Simon Cowell, who earns $40 million a season on American Idol because the producers consider him an essential factor in the show’s profits. All are paid based on the revenue they generate. And right now, all indications are that the players are generating record profits, but the owners are trying to stiff them so they can keep a bigger piece of the pie.
    Yes, the owners have the overhead responsibilities. But PROFITS come after EXPENDITURES. Currently, players make a percentage of total revenue … but not really. That’s because the owners take out a ONE BILLION DOLLAR chunk of total revenue to cover expenditures before even starting those calculations. Now they want to increase that amount to $1.3 billion. Why? Because they claim expenses are up. The only problem is that profits seem to be up–at least for the one team whose books are available for review. The owners want to claim they’re in dire straits, but don’t want to provide data to back up the claim.
    How would you like it if your boss said, “I need you to take an 18 percent pay cut because my profits are down”–but all external evidence indicated profits were up? You’d probably think your boss was a dirty dog.
    I agree that within military circles Army Rangers are just as elite as NFL players. Unfortunately, they don’t generate the same profits, so they don’t have the same earning power. I don’t agree that they are necessarily interchangeable with NFL players. Army Rangers, for instance, would probably be too well-toned to perform as nose tackles or offensive linemen. Would they have the rocket arms to play the QB position? Being an NFL player is a combination of inherent athletic talent and mechanics learned over time. You can’t just be a good athlete and play in the NFL–anymore than you can assume a finely tuned NFL athlete has the other intangibles needed to be an Army Ranger.
    I’m not saying players are special lil people. I’m saying they have a more unique skill set than the average Joe or Jane, and they work in an industry that generates billions in profits. That combination is why they earn what they do. The market determines their worth.
    You’re right, the average fan won’t sympathize with them. But the fact that the average fan is jealous of their earning power, imagines they’d be stocking shelves without the NFL, and won’t bother to research any of the issues doesn’t make me more sympathetic to the owners.

  28. smashmouthd says: Mar 4, 2010 3:22 PM

    I agree with you there, I am not more sympathetic to the Owners, I’m not upset with them either.
    BUT I do agree with them fully on one thing, the system where rookie players come out getting tens of millions of dollars handed to them needs to be fixed.
    In a couple of situations here, it is neither the players or owners who are the biggest culprits in this stand off, I believe its the agents.
    Now the NFLPA/Union is trying to marginalize that particular topic of contention, and focus the general public on the 18%, and I think that is because they are in bed together and the Agents have much more influence than most imagine.
    The deals at the top end of the NFL draft are so out of control that 2009 top pick Matthew Stafford received a $41.7 million guarantee, the largest guarantee ever for any player.
    Nothing hurts the NFL, generally, and teams, specifically, more than young players who don’t earn their keep… and earn more than anyone else on their team, who does.
    A wage scale would drastically reduce the need players have for an agent, I wonder how much the Agents would lose if they couldn’t negotiate how much bonus money a player they represented got?
    Other than that, this is simply a matter of the Owners holding better cards than the players, the players should not allow themselves to be pushed back to 1980s paychecks… but if the floor minimum wage is over 300 thousand dollars, and most starters are making over a million dollars a year, they should think twice about playing hardball over a fraction of the billions available to them.

  29. Deb says: Mar 4, 2010 4:37 PM

    I’m pretty much with you on the rookie salaries–and on the agents. If I’m not mistaken, player agents are capped at 3 percent, so Stafford’s agent probably got about $1.25 million of that $41.7 million guarantee. That’s a big incentive for agents to troll campuses trying to talk to promising recruits, which is what gets kids in trouble and leads to college programs being sanctioned. My real beef (surprise, surprise ;-) is with the NCAA, which makes a fortune off these kids but won’t allow them to even talk to an agent about securing their futures. Colleges don’t penalize writers or actors who secure agents while still in school. But the agents are vultures.
    As for the rookie salaries, $325,000 isn’t a bad guarantee for an entry-level employee who hasn’t proved himself. $41.7 million guaranteed … is a bit daft. But as I say that I can’t help thinking “What if?” What if Matt Stafford went down permanently in his rookie year and that $325,000 were all there would ever be? Of course, life happens to everyone. He was taking the same chance his last year at Georgia.
    Yeah, giving on rookie contracts makes sense over giving on veteran salaries and benefits to retired players. It sets my teeth on edge to see rookies holding out for more money when they haven’t done anything yet.
    As for the agents, I posted the other day that maybe they could help their clients have a better understanding of what’s at stake here. Good grief–what was I thinking? They’re only going to act in their own best interests. My fear is that De Smith is some kind of firebrand who doesn’t get it. They need a respected player–like Upshaw–who can help them work out a fair deal because the owners do hold better cards.
    I know many, if not most, of the fans will come down hard on the players if there’s a strike. But the owners should understand they won’t be fan darlings, either. No one will win if there’s a lockout.

  30. edgy1957 says: Mar 4, 2010 8:22 PM

    smashmouthd says:
    Nothing hurts the NFL, generally, and teams, specifically, more than young players who don’t earn their keep… and earn more than anyone else on their team, who does.
    ***********************
    What makes me laugh is that you bring up Joe Montana’s salary and yet, he was taken in the 3rd round and yet the salary that you quoted for him was well above the salary of most of the league at the time.
    There are only three groups of people who hate what rookies make: owners, fans and marginal players who think they’re worth more than they are. The stars and the starters love it because it gives them a place to start. It’s also why they loved the AFL, WFL and USFL, who did as much to raise salaries as anything.

  31. Mista T says: Apr 27, 2010 1:56 PM

    If a “lockout” occurs next season: so be it. I’ll gladly support replacement players at the stadium each week. I’m looking forward to breaking the back of the NFLPA. NFL ticket prices have skyrocketed to absurd levels, due to one reason: player greed.

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