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Pash: “Let’s not get to the point where we are flat on our backs”

J. Pash

The NFL recognizes it currently has a healthy business, but the NFL doesn’t believe it can last as presently constituted.

“We don’t have a healthy business model,” NFL chief negotiator Jeff Pash told a gathering of reporters Thursday.

There was a lot to take away from the 90-minute session with the media, but the league tried to drive home two main points.

1. NFL teams and its players will begin losing a truckload of money starting in March, so there is “heavy incentive” for both sides to get an agreement.

2. The league doesn’t believe their current business model is sustainable.

“Let’s not get to the point where we are flat on our backs,” Pash said.  “Let’s not get to the point where we talk about contraction.”

It seems crazy that a system that has led to huge growth over the last decade is unsustainable.   But the NFL employees that met with the media Thursday said that was the case.   (Here’s who spoke from the NFL:  Pash,  Senior V.P. of Public Relations Greg Aiello, Executive V.P. of NFL Ventures and Business Operations Eric Grubman, Senior V.P. of Labor Operations Peter Ruocco, and Senior V.P./Treasurer Joe Siclare.)

Pash said the NFL didn’t want to be like the housing market or the dotcom industry before their bubbles burst.  He referenced the President’s State of the Union speech, saying the league needs to invest more in the future.

There is a lot of nitty gritty economic data I could get into here — including the vital argument over “direct costs” — but I’ll leave that to Florio.  (He’s smarter.)  A simple takeaway even I can understand is that a work stoppage of any length will be costly.

“There are very powerful reasons for both sides to get an agreement by the beginning of March,” Pash said.

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19 Responses to “Pash: “Let’s not get to the point where we are flat on our backs””
  1. melikefootball says: Jan 27, 2011 5:40 PM

    It feels like the draft choices rate of contract could be the area that could rise up and bite the NFL. This cost then causes rising prices to players resigning after first contract.

  2. russin010 says: Jan 27, 2011 5:43 PM

    “Let’s not get to the point where we are flat on our backs.” – what college girls say when they see Ben Roethlisburger in their local bar.

  3. jw731 says: Jan 27, 2011 5:44 PM

    Hell, if it gets really bad, the NFL owners can just ask the government for a bailout, like all the other thieves…

  4. ErikW65 says: Jan 27, 2011 5:47 PM

    Not sustainable? They just signed a deal with ESPN for 2 Bil that gives each team 6 Mil per year for the next ten years. For one game per week.

    Contraction? The NFL is pushing overseas markets, and LA & Toronto want teams. And the number of billionaires jumped from 793 to 1011 in ’09, so I’m sure there are plenty of rich folks who’d like to get in on a business with an anti-trust exemption.

    The unsustainability argument doesn’t add up.

  5. cincinnasti says: Jan 27, 2011 5:49 PM

    I’m for getting a deal done and if one doesn’t get done I’ll blame it on the players union more than the NFL When it comes down to it I don’t think the players have much leverage here. I wish they’d just take what the big wigs are offering and go with it. I’m not saying I agree with the owners making more. I’m just saying the players don’t have as much leverage and will be the ones that will have to give in to get a deal done. When a deal does get done it will be the NFLPA that caves in not the NFL. They might as well do it sooner rather than later if they’re truly interested in playing football next year.

  6. nygiantstones says: Jan 27, 2011 5:59 PM

    What a crock. How can anyone buy that the League is running an unsustainable business model when they refuse to open their books for an audit? I don’t buy the protestations of any group of billionaires claiming they are going poor.

  7. chrisbermansdoublechin says: Jan 27, 2011 6:33 PM

    the league does not believe the current business model is substinable … but they are planning to charge 5,000 people $200 a piece, to watch the Super Bowl, outside Cowboys Stadium on a large screen TV

  8. FinFan68 says: Jan 27, 2011 6:34 PM

    This is essentially the same argument I brought up months ago. Why wait until the business is already in the red before taking any action to fix the issues? What the players make compared to what the owners make is irrelevant but that is what the union is hanging their collective hat on. One needs to look no further than the #1 pick’s initial contract to see that it is an unsustainable business model. The union got a better deal than they should have the last time around. This could be fixed fairly quickly if both sides thought about it rationally. Find an acceptable draft pick compensation package and drop the 18 game season garbage. The NFL knows 18 games won’t be optimal and it is their main bargaining chip with the players. The money saved on the rookies can be split between the owners’ obligations and the vet players. Stop the posturing and the blame game and sit down and hash it out.

  9. FinFan68 says: Jan 27, 2011 6:41 PM

    nygiantstones says:
    Jan 27, 2011 5:59 PM
    What a crock. How can anyone buy that the League is running an unsustainable business model when they refuse to open their books for an audit? I don’t buy the protestations of any group of billionaires claiming they are going poor.
    ================
    Owners have never said anything like that. They simply said the profit margins are shrinking. The union is eating a very large percentage of that on compensation. This is the typical union cycle…workers gain so many concessions through collective bargaining that it becomes unprofitable to continue. That is why the factories have gone overseas…because the workers are cheaper. The NFL doesn’t really have that option so the owners are doing what is available to them. Ultimately the union can decertify and start their lawsuits and eventually the NFL will start again with new (read: cheaper) players that will eventually win the hearts of the football starved fans. It will be bad but the league can stick it out…and they know it.

  10. dempsey63 says: Jan 27, 2011 6:44 PM

    Contraction?

  11. JSpicoli says: Jan 27, 2011 6:59 PM

    He said the “C” word. Contraction.

    It is coming.

  12. imsmartyouarenot says: Jan 27, 2011 7:02 PM

    Billionaires vs Millionaires……

    Excuse me for not weeping in sympathy.

    Just take our money and give us football.

  13. flairflop says: Jan 27, 2011 7:06 PM

    If the NFL does not have a successful business model, then who does? When you have a network willing to pay $2 billion dollars for the privilege of televising 1/16th of your product, I’d say that’s a pretty successful business.

    The owners are being greedy, and they know that they have leverage, so they are using it. To pretend that it’s in “the best interests of the game” or anything else of the like is just an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

  14. hooterdawg says: Jan 27, 2011 7:06 PM

    Note for an english tutor: the abbreviation for Sr. VP is not SVP, nor EVP for Exec. VP. Gawd…does it really take that much extra effort to use correct terms?

  15. jc1958coo says: Jan 27, 2011 7:22 PM

    let’s see where we are, if a team isn’t making $$$ they just cut the payroll!! if the stadium is old they make the tax payer foot the bill or move!!
    if they don’t get what they want, cry and lock out!

  16. arnoldziffel says: Jan 27, 2011 7:25 PM

    If the NFL players and owners indeed have a partnership … why shouldn’t the NFL owners be willing to open their books to let their “partners” see what dire financial straits they truly are in.

    Trust the owners blindly?

    Why not? After all … would rich guys try and hide some of their profits so they don’t have to share them with others?

    Unheard of!!

  17. jrs2300 says: Jan 27, 2011 7:49 PM

    Did someone say they were on their back..

    – Rashard Mendenhall

  18. ErikW65 says: Jan 27, 2011 8:45 PM

    “The NFL doesn’t really have that option (moving overseas) so the owners are doing what is available to them”… (FinFan68)

    Which is to tell a bare faced lie and say “This doesn’t make profit over the long-run”?

    No, that was NOT the only thing available to them.

    The current agreement worked, and would’ve continued to work just fine. The NFL is a goose that lays olden eggs. At least for now.

  19. godellgetalife says: Jan 27, 2011 9:55 PM

    i believe what they are trying to say is the current business model will not work (and it won’t) if left the way it is.even tho the nfl is a multi billion dollar business too much of it goes out to continue at this pace. and i for one am with the owners on this,to many players are over paid and continue to want more and i firmly believe if you want somthing go and earn it do not expect it to be handed to you because thats what someone else got.are we as fans gonna start shelling out 1,000 bucks a ticket for the nose bleed section because some player wants 30 mil a year for avg. preformance? no were not. fans will draw the line somewhere.as it stands right now there is enough money to go around if it is used wisely and not givin away to unproven players and high guarenteed contracts, that type of wasteful spending will kill any business including the nfl.

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