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Report: Some owners willing to open books

John Mara,  Robert Kraft AP

Following Florio’s report regarding incremental financial progress between the NFL and NFLPA on Thursday, we bring you another report of possible progress.

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reports that  “some NFL owners” that want to completely open their books to the union.  Other owners disagree.

It’s worth wondering a few things here:

1. If books were opened, how long would negotiations be stalled?  Freeman writes a deal could likely be “reached quite quickly” if the books are opened.

We’ve heard other opinions from people more educated in financial matters than us that the union would need weeks, if not months to truly digest the information made available.

2. Leaks have not slowed down Thursday.  We’re bound to hear in response to this report that the owners are more united than Freeman’s report suggests.  The union has something to gain by painting a picture in which the owners are fighting amongst themselves.

The truth, like so much in this labor mess, may reside somewhere in the middle.

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46 Responses to “Report: Some owners willing to open books”
  1. calmdownsir says: Mar 10, 2011 12:16 PM

    Report: Jerrah’s even willing to open his pocketbook.

  2. manderson367 says: Mar 10, 2011 12:20 PM

    I’m to the point to where I just want them to shut it down. Shut it down now and keep it that way for the next year. Maybe then both side will realize they need us, the fans, a hell of a lot more than we need them. I love watching the NFL, but my life won’t be affected if it went away. I’d still get up in morning, go to work, and live my life. I’d just have some extra time to do other things. Screw ‘em both.

  3. b7p19 says: Mar 10, 2011 12:24 PM

    “The truth, like so much in this labor mess, may reside somewhere in the middle.”

    As does the solution. Find the truth and you’ll find the solution.

  4. marvsleezy says: Mar 10, 2011 12:25 PM

    Wow, great question! If books were opened, how long would negotiations would be stalled?

    Makes me wonder though, even if would be books open, for how not they stalled would negotiations?

  5. bravin4evr says: Mar 10, 2011 12:27 PM

    The owner’s willing to open up the books are the one’s who are receiving money from shared revenue.
    The one’s who don’t are the one’s making big money…ie Jerry Jones and a select few others.

  6. mvp43 says: Mar 10, 2011 12:27 PM

    Packers books are already opened. If a handfull of owners are willing to truly “open their books” in a sign of good faith………can’t the union just accept that and extrapolate the numbers as a sign of their good faith?

  7. djteknision1200 says: Mar 10, 2011 12:28 PM

    GREAT more no news!!

  8. tresmang says: Mar 10, 2011 12:29 PM

    Whatever!

  9. 3octaveFart says: Mar 10, 2011 12:37 PM

    Some owners?
    I’m betting Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder and Jerry Richardson aren’t among them.

  10. bluepike says: Mar 10, 2011 12:41 PM

    It looks as though the owners have come down over $300 million from their initial want of $1 billion – on top of that they seem to have come down from 5 year rookie contracts to 4 year contracts for 1st round draft picks – if everything we’re hearing is true. The owners have also agreed to share financial info to a point.

    My question is – other than saying that the 18 game season will never fly( because they don’t want it), what has the players union brought to the table, conceded or met the owners halfway on? Somebody please inform me of anything in case I’ve missed it.

    I just read on another site where someone suggested that the players should take all their endorsement money and throw it in to the $9 billion pot. I think they might balk at that – afterall, it’s THEIR money and the owners aren’t allowed to be as profitable as possible when it comes down to money for them and the health of the business overall.

  11. ajaxonford says: Mar 10, 2011 12:42 PM

    Everything single move the owners and the NFL makes is calculated. The next thing that will happen is that ALL of the owners will decide to open their books halfway. The owners never really expected an 18 game season; it was just a bargaining tool that they could “lose”. And even as De Smith may eventually near a deal that he can agree on, he’ll have to keep fighting for more or it will appear like he capitulated to easily. It’s all just part of the silly game that these people play.

  12. ajaxonford says: Mar 10, 2011 12:43 PM

    Everything single move the owners and the NFL makes is calculated. The next thing that will happen is that ALL of the owners will decide to open their books halfway. The owners never really expected an 18 game season; it was just a bargaining tool that they could “lose”. And even as De Smith may eventually near a deal that he can agree on, he’ll have to keep fighting for more or it will appear like he capitulated too easily. It’s all just part of the silly game that these people play.

  13. ubummer says: Mar 10, 2011 12:45 PM

    “The owner’s willing to open up the books are the one’s who are receiving money from shared revenue.
    The one’s who don’t are the one’s making big money…ie Jerry Jones and a select few others.”

    I think how much an individual owner is making isn’t the deciding factor. Jones might be making a lot of money but he’s also the one taking a lot of financial risk to do so and that’s a position that’s defensible.

    On the other hand, a guy like Mike Brown who just rakes in the dollars from other franchises might hate the thought of opening his books to the union, because then they’d likely be open to other owners like Jones.

    One of the reasons the owners opted out of the CBA early was because they were having a hard time agreeing on revenue sharing amongst themselves.

    I think the owners that milk the team profit sheets are the ones who want to keep the books closed.

  14. nbaraie says: Mar 10, 2011 12:54 PM

    Owners willing to open books: Bills, Bengals, Vikings.

    Owners not willing to open books: Cowboys, Redskins, Giants.

  15. williammunnyy says: Mar 10, 2011 12:54 PM

    Opening the books does nothing. The Packers released audited financial statements showing a modest profit and increased expenses. As soon as that info went public, the Union came on the radio (106.7 The Fan) and said “This doesn’t change anything.”

  16. mikebrownmakesmefrown says: Mar 10, 2011 12:56 PM

    Go Reds!!!!!!!!!!

  17. mick730 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:05 PM

    The Green Bay books are already open and the union simply ignores what the numbers show.

  18. thefiesty1 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:06 PM

    I agree with manderson367. There is plenty of college ball that’s WAY more exciting than watching these guys move up and down the field and end up kicking a field goal.

    At least most of the college teams actually try to win a game and provide entertainment.

  19. 3octaveFart says: Mar 10, 2011 1:06 PM

    calmdownsir says: Mar 10, 2011 12:16 PM

    “Report: Jerrah’s even willing to open his pocketbook.”

    Like that cheap bribe to the Fire Marshall?
    The only thing I see coming out Jerry’s pocketbook is moths.

  20. pkrjones says: Mar 10, 2011 1:07 PM

    Exellent post, Bluepike.

    The owners take their $1.7B off the top.
    1.Players get their 59.6% of remaining ($7.3B)
    2.Players immediately take 9.6% and self-fund retirement/health care account.
    3. Players agree to rookie cap: 4 yr. contracts for round 1 (w/ capped bonus/salary), 3 yrs. w/ RFA for other rounds.
    4. Vets get remaining $$
    5. League-wide team cap.
    6. UNrestricted Free Agency after 4 yrs. – NO tags.
    Get it done, and start free agency!

  21. ncsteeler says: Mar 10, 2011 1:11 PM

    I suspect that the owners that are willing to have their books have few secrets to hide. Those that have half their family on the payroll or are paying themselves exorbitant salaries (e.g., how much does Jerry Jones, the owner, pay JJ the GM?) are probably the most reluctant. This later group has some filthy rich (JJ?) and some very rich (Mike Brown?).

  22. monkeesfan says: Mar 10, 2011 1:17 PM

    The real question is – just what is supposed to be gained by having the NFLPA read the owners’ books?

    pkrjones – NO to no tags. Stop taking away teams’ rights to keep players.

    What the deal the owners apparantly want involves $2 billion for stadiums etc., $2.8 for the owners, $4.2 for the players. This isn’t much of a reduction for the players and bringing in more revenue will wipe out whatever “cut” even happenes.

    So who’s being unreasonable here?

  23. moondog7 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:18 PM

    Getting sick of this. I live eat and breath football when its on, but i can see myself without it now, just one more free day on the weekend in the fall. I could get more into hockey, basketball, and baseball. That marty st louis goal was nasty last night.

  24. chatham10 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:18 PM

    When the union gets the financial statements please remember the debits are on the left and the credits are on the right.

  25. 3octaveFart says: Mar 10, 2011 1:19 PM

    mick730 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:05 PM

    “The Green Bay books are already open and the union simply ignores what the numbers show.”

    ..and the fact that the Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned team has no bearing on this right?
    Besides, their numbers showed a $10 million profit last year – I’d imagine if anything, it shows that other teams made substantially more than that.

  26. kernelreefer says: Mar 10, 2011 1:21 PM

    mvp43 says:
    Mar 10, 2011 12:27 PM
    Packers books are already opened. If a handfull of owners are willing to truly “open their books” in a sign of good faith………can’t the union just accept that and extrapolate the numbers as a sign of their good faith?

    ———————

    That doesn’t make any sense. Revenues for teams vary widely and the owners that choose to open their books are very likely in a very different situation than the ones that don’t choose to open their books. Everyone operates according to an incentive, and if opening books helps the owners’ case that profitability is decreasing, they would likely do it. If not, they probably won’t. That only some of them are doing it more likely points to a skewed sample–that the ones opening their books are bolstering a case. Sure some might be operating in good faith. Some might be doing it to accelerate negotiations. Some might not be. The NFLPA is not stupid enough to only take them on their word.

    Also, it is incredibly bad statistical practice to extrapolate several records to a group of only 32 in widely varied markets. Very bad.

    Also, the Packers, as a public company are required to have open books. That’s not a gesture, that’s the law. Further, the Packers are NOT representative of the league. The city of Green Bay is more willing to take a financial loss to guarantee a gaming win (price shares on an open market, according to P/E should be dropping but are not) and operates substantially differently than everyone else. If anything, one would throw this out if you were extrapolating. But that would reduce your sample size very significantly (my guess is anywhere from 20-50%), of an already sadly small sample.

  27. dryzzt23 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:32 PM

    I bet the owners are willing to open their books solely b/c they know that Judge David Doty is a tree-hugging bleeding heart, pro-union democrat who would side with the NFLPA no matter what

  28. jagmania65 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:35 PM

    Meh – how do you know when Mike Freeman says something that is full of crap? His lips are moving…

    Freeman was full of crap when we ran him out of Jacksonville, and he’s full of crap now…

  29. 2011to2020lions says: Mar 10, 2011 1:40 PM

    Bla Bla Bla Either get a deal or don’t who even cares anymore?? not me, well not me a little LOL

  30. chris1982 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:44 PM

    green bays books are 1 out of 32 teams and doesn’t not show the financial history of the entire league over the period of time, who cares what their books say, every teams books are going to be drastically different

  31. wryly1 says: Mar 10, 2011 1:53 PM

    The ‘some owners’ who are willing to open the books, are the ones wise enough not to kill the golden goose or cash cow that IS the PLAYERS and FANS!

    The greedy billionaires who are resisting, are pimples on the arse of progress.

  32. riverhorsey says: Mar 10, 2011 2:01 PM

    cosign, who the hell cares… it’s the millionaires vs the billionaires, screw them.

  33. moochzilla says: Mar 10, 2011 2:11 PM

    The players are expected to cover Jerry Jones’ over-extending himself by fronting the cash for that monstrosity of a stadium in Dallas.

    He built it assuming he’d get $100M over 10 years in naming rights, but in this economy that will never happen.

    So he wants the players to eat the cost of his idiotic decision.

    Simple.

  34. moochzilla says: Mar 10, 2011 2:12 PM

    “I bet the owners are willing to open their books solely b/c they know that Judge David Doty is a tree-hugging bleeding heart, pro-union democrat who would side with the NFLPA no matter what”

    That what you do every time you lose? Whine and cry and wallow in self-pity. Like a professional victim?

    Might explain why you are where you are in life.

  35. 3octaveFart says: Mar 10, 2011 2:24 PM

    It looks like the owners are beginning to realize, that if this thing goes to litigation, they’ll all have to open all their books – and I’m sure that’s something they’d like to avoid.

  36. billsfan1 says: Mar 10, 2011 2:43 PM

    Why is it ok for the ow.ers to concede anything but not the players……I say the league puts a cap ojn all players , not just rookies..then and only then should the financial be released……then they redirect extra money into health insurance and pensions for the REAL players who made this league what it is today…
    Only in professional sports in America is it conceivable for employees to split 50/50 with the boss…..
    Not my fault u have 5 kids around the country….i ll be supporting them when ur broke in 4 years anyways

  37. purdueman says: Mar 10, 2011 3:05 PM

    The players union realizes that if it de-certifies it can then sue the NFL under anti-trust legislation to force them to open their books. I’d favor a “cap” as to how much profit that the owners can reap in any one given year, with any excess profits going to either a new stadium slush fund (as they’ve done in the past), distribution back to players active in the prior year after the books have been audited, a reduction in ticket/concession/stadium parking prices and/or to the pension/health fund for players who played prior to the advent of the union being formed. ** After all, ALL of the NFL owners are already wealthy beyond their dreams (and many have simply inherited or married into their wealth, not earned it).

  38. vetdana says: Mar 10, 2011 3:28 PM

    Opening the books does nothing, NOTHING ! BECAUSE, the owners are not going to show the losses or break even scenario the players are looking for to reduce their demands !! NO MATTER HOW YOU COOK THE BOOKS, PLAYERS ARE GOING TO THINK THE OWNERS PIE IS TOO LARGE !!

  39. phinfan says: Mar 10, 2011 3:45 PM

    I bet Al Davis’ book is:

    “How to make a NFL Football Team FOR DUMMIES’

  40. tdk24 says: Mar 10, 2011 4:00 PM

    “The real question is – just what is supposed to be gained by having the NFLPA read the owners’ books?”

    I know, it’s like the help thinks they should make more than the company owners who run the business. Hey players, you want to make more money? Stay in college for 4 years and actually learn something other than being an athlete.

  41. purdueman says: Mar 10, 2011 4:06 PM

    I don’t know about the NFL billionaire owners “pie being too much”, but I would say that their “pie holes” are too big for sure!!! (LOL!). The likelihood of the owners having a second set of “cooked” books is I’m sure extremely high, but the union has their gaggle of lawyers and CPA’s as well to poke holes in them before they cry foul and proceed with lawsuits for “bargaining in bad faith” and anti-trust (restraint of trade), violations.

  42. purdueman says: Mar 10, 2011 4:11 PM

    Unfortunately many of the so called “football student athletes” that I went to college with could never in a million years earn a college degree on their own. Were it not for professors who are “friendly towards the athletic department” and provided tutors (who conveniently have advanced copies of tests), there’s no way a lot of these lunkheads could remain academically eligible, much less graduate.

  43. purdueman says: Mar 10, 2011 4:13 PM

    Funny, isn’t it, that when the Duke basketball program was studied over the tenure of Coach K being there, over 85% of their so called “student athletes” all took the EXACT same classes with the EXACT same professors. Nothing beats that down home Southern home cooking folks!

  44. j0esixpack says: Mar 10, 2011 4:24 PM

    As we all should know by now, this impasse has more to do with the owners inability to agree how to more fairly split profits among THEMSELVES, and less to do between the players and owners.

    Grabbing back $1 billion from the players was simply an easy way to avoid the true issues of inequity within the League (and for the record, I think the Bob Krafts who have built their own organizations with their own money, rather than taxpayer money, and skillfully marketed their organizations deserve to keep their money rather than share it with organizations that are lazy – i.e. the Patriots don’t play in “Bob Kraft Stadium” but the Bills do play in “Ralph Wilson Stadium”.)

    That being said, the reluctance of some owners to open their books to OTHER OWNERS is understandable. It’s also understandable for the players to demand access to numbers.

    There’s no reason why qualified mediators can’t be given private access to “the books” – so that no players, reps, or other owners, have access yet the gross data needed is available.

    I’d suspect this is done routinely in negotiations with similar circumstances.

  45. kernelreefer says: Mar 10, 2011 5:04 PM

    I think that the people who are arguing that it is “inconceivable” that players should have the balls to ask for even a 50% share, much less an “astonishing” 60% need to realize that employees in almost every industry makes 70% of the revenues of the company.

    It is certainly not obscene that the players are asking for such a “large pie” of the money, especially when they are both the product and the labor.

    The players wouldn’t be making more than the owners any more than a franchisee “made more money than” Ray Kroc did for McDonald’s.

    Remember, the players aren’t asking for “too much.” They are willing to extend the current CBA deal. It’s the owners who are asking for more money.

  46. edgy says: Mar 11, 2011 9:01 AM

    People think that if Jones opens up his books that the other owners are going to know what obscene amounts of money he makes when nothing could be further from the truth. Other than those here who stick their head in the sand, those owners know what Jerry makes from his NFL revenue, which is all that they OR the players will see. What they’ll never get a chance to see is the obscene amounts of money that he or the others make OUTSIDE the NFL and that’s the reason for their need for new palaces. Atlanta wants to build a new stadium NOT that the Georgia Dome is a crappy place after only 18 years but because they don’t get as much of the revenue from the stadium as they would if they get a new stadium (The new stadium will have fewer seats and almost half the luxury boxes but the revenue would be theirs and not the city’s, like it is now. Frankly, with the money that they’re talking about having to put out for a new stadium, they would be better off just giving the Falcons better terms and keeping them in the Dome).

    Opening the books won’t expose Jerry or the others with their new palaces because their extra revenue never goes on the NFL’s books but it will show that there are owners that are crying poverty that aren’t even close to it and they only want new palaces like Jerry and the boys so they can make some of this obscene money AND not have to share it with the players OR the other owners.

    As I’ve stated many times, if a business wants concessions, they have to open their books to their employees to prove that they need them. I’ve heard some of you financial geniuses talk about how that’s stupid but that’s the realities of life and it happens.

    Those of you who work for public companies and whine that your employer would never do that are just too dumb to realize that you don’t have to ask them to open their books because they already do AND if the company was really in distress and really needed the money, their stock performance would reflect that. Also, geniuses, if you can’t find out about the financial situation of your publicly traded employer then you haven’t dug far enough OR if you’re too lazy then buy 1 share of stock and let them send you an annual report so that you can see for yourself.

    As for private employers, if they won’t open up their books, they’re hiding something. I’ve never worked at a company that opened up their books that didn’t get financial concessions from their employees once they found out how bad things were and the only one that never got them was a guy who didn’t open up his books to show that he needed help. If the NFL was really in as much distress as they claim then they should have no problems opening up their books to show it. You could claim that even if they do that the players will just laugh off their claims but until they actually open their books up AND the players laugh them off, this is all speculation.

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