Mawae says players “got such a great deal” in 2006

The NFLPA can now stop asking to see the league’s financial records or otherwise demanding justification for the current effort to adjust the player compensation system.  The union has acknowledged, sort of, the reason for the present labor mess.

The players snookered the owners five years ago, and now the owners want to level the playing field.

“I think what really happened is in 2006 we got such a great deal,” NFLPA president Kevin Mawae told Sirius Mad Dog Radio.  “I mean, the players got a good deal and the owners felt they got it handed to them and it’s kind of a revenge factor, ‘Let’s get back what we felt like we lost,’ and things like that.”

We have to give Mawae credit for a good recovery.  But it was too late.  He said what we already knew that both sides have known.  The owners are making sure the rest of us know it, too; it’s the latest headline at

So the players can stop feigning ignorance as to the reasons for the league’s desire to adjust the deal and the players can stop telling anyone who’ll listen that they’re willing to extend the current deal (why wouldn’t they be?) and the players and the owners can sit down and work this thing out before the fans turn on both sides.

We’re not irritated only with the union on this.  We’re irritated with the league, too.  The owners created this mess by doing a bad deal in 2006, primarily since they weren’t inclined to deal with rules of the “last capped year,” which would have required multiple teams to suffer the short-term consequences of past mismanagement of the salary cap.

In the end, 30 presumably smart and shrewd owners agreed to the deal, and only Mike Brown and Ralph Wilson, who were ridiculed by us and others, stood firmly against the proposal.

Our present concern is that the owners now want revenge, and that they’ll end up with “such a great deal” of their own that, at some point in the future, the players will feel compelled to strike.

So why not declare everyone even, especially in light of the money saved in the uncapped year, with most teams at or below what would have been the salary floor, do a fair deal, and move on?  (Or move out?)

We appreciate having the content.  But we’d rather be focusing on free agency and the offseason and the draft and all the other stuff that we’ll otherwise be focusing on again once the two sides wake up and find a way to continue nearly two decades of labor peace.

28 responses to “Mawae says players “got such a great deal” in 2006

  1. Good article especially the part about fans turning on both sides because thats what will happen. The fans will find something else to follow and spend their hard earned money on and the NFL will lose.

  2. Each side has their points on this, both good and bad. But no matter which side “wins” in this, it’s we the fans that will “lose”.

  3. OMG……….the NFLPA is headed by a bunch of buffoons!

    Are these educated people? Everytime someone opens their mouth, the owners sit back and smile. The union is killing themselves…..
    (perfect strategy)

  4. This is a glimmer of hope, the NFLPA actually conceding that they likely will have to give something back in order to get a labor agreement into place. Let’s just hope that the “radical fringe” doesn’t take Mawae’s comments as a sign of NFLPA weakness and/or lack of solidarity and try to drive a stake into their hearts. There is a fair deal out there to be done given the billions of dollars there are to be divided. Let’s hope these comments are viewed as an olive branch and can accelerate meaningful negotiations between both sides.

  5. It has been common knowledge for years that the players got the better of the owners last time. There is no reason why the pendulum can’t swing back the other way this time.

    The players – knowing they got too good of a deal before – need to be realistic in realizing that they can’t end up killing the Golden Goose. Look what happened with the Big Three and the UAW; the unions got incredible concessions and deals to the point where automakers had to price their products much higher, and the door was opened to the imports. Toyota, Honda et al took off, while two of the Big Three went under and market shares went through the floor. The NFLPA needs to seriously re-think about holding onto their gains from the last CBA.

    The NFL may have a lock on Pro Football, but they DON’T have a lock on pro sports in general. It took years for MLB and the NHL to even begin to get fan interest and market share back, and BOTH sides need to realize what is good for the survival of the game.

    A work stoppage is not.

  6. “Good article especially the part about fans turning on both sides because thats what will happen. The fans will find something else to follow and spend their hard earned money on and the NFL will lose.”

    No they won’t. NFL fans will come back …like always.

  7. I can totally see the NFLPA caving in & accepting less money for what is obviously a more lucrative deal for the owners. They need the money more than the owners & the players get a majority of the money now, which is like the cart leading the horse.

    Back off the current deal & realize that you’re replaceable employees, many of you get replaced every year.

  8. The problem is…the last deal is considered to be Pandora’s box by the union. No way they’re going to give back. They’ve been trying to paint the owners as greedy, when the reality is, they both are.

    Trying to pick a side is like trying to choose between death by lethal injection, or hanging. Either way, its the fans who are getting screwed (insert F-bomb here).

    I went to the last Packers Super Bowl, tickets were $275 face value. This year, $800. Almost a 300% increase in less than 15 years. Who among the average fan has seen such an increase in their income over that same time period?

    The NFL’s revenue for the ticket sales ALONE for the Super Bowl will be at least $84M. Fans pay to build the stadiums, pay the players salaries, buy the tickets, pay for parking, buy the $12 beers and $5 hot dogs, buy the $25 T-shirts, yet the fans are the ones who are taking it in the shorts.

    Until both sides of this game realize it, and more importantly, do something about it, fans will keep taking it in the shorts. They’re killing the golden goose IMHO, the same way baseball already has.

  9. So that is all you have for Ralph Wilson. He was dragged through the mud for weeks. Called crazy and everything else and you give him one sentence. Go back and read what he said he was spot on with all of his predictions and everyone ignored him because Jerry needed his stadium done. He saw everyone of these problems right then and there. The owners deserve everything they got. They rail roaded Wilson and Brown.

    And for the almighty Rooney he was leading the charge in bed with Jerry Jones and the rest of the big market teams. Jones forced that deal through because he knew his superbowl and stadium would be impacted if a deal did not get. Now Jones is leading the Lockout charge because he got what he wanted and wants more. Greed is going to kills this sport.

    It is so fitting that the largest superbowl played in the stadium built by the greediest owner with 10,000 people paying $200 to stand outside and watch games on TV will be the nail in the coffin of this beautiful game.

  10. Even if the players all acknowledge that they did a good deal, it’s difficult to see what should make them feel inclined to give some back. Ownership is making money hand over fist, their only real complaint is that they want even more. That isn’t a reasonable objection to an otherwise acceptable deal.

    In any other profitable business, if the boss went around demanding everybody take pay cuts for no reason other than increasing his own paycheck, there would be no doubt, on anybody’s part, who the unreasonable party in the room really is.

  11. @pakguru,

    Who expects their salary to increase at the rate of Super Bowl tickets? If you cannot afford to go, stay at home. I’m sure the folks in Dallas would appreciate it. Bitching about it doesn’t seem to have accomplished anything at all.

  12. It’s Funny how so many people said Upshaw caved in to the owners when the 2006 deal was signed. They tought he was too chummy with the league. Now they’re saying that he got one over on the owners. What’s even harder to believe is Ralph Wilson and Mike Brown being the voices of reason.

  13. Oversimplifications abound in this post…

    1. Not ALL teams are unhappy with the current deal – at least half a dozen would be fine with continuing the current contract…

    2. Several teams would appear to have operated in 2010 OVER the likely salary cap – the Cowboys, Redskins, Seaehawks and Saints to name a few. This is important to note since the price paid to top players can get distorted when a few teams have no incentive to pay fair market value [Redskins?].

    3. A number of teams were under what would have been a salary floor – but several of them were competitive – the Bucs contended for a playoff spot with probably the LOWEST player payout – and the Chiefs made the playoffs with the next lowest based on the Forbes and Football Outsider data. The Broncos and Bengals payed out well below the salary floot with less impressive results.

    4. While the players may have liked the current contract when the add up this years compensation they will probably be less pleased – yes the Boys and Skins went “over the top” but the same data mentioned above indicates an overall payout to players of around 56% – down 3 points from last year.

    4. So continuing uncapped – and unfloored would not be a good thing long term for the players – and might not be sustainable for the owners – yes this years Superbowl teams appear to have been with the appropriate cap-floor band – but they cannot generate the revenue of the big market teams….

  14. I’m resigned to the fate that there will be no football in early September in 2011.

    I just hope whatever they agree upon, two things get addressed:

    A) Medical assistance for ALL former NFL players

    B) A reasonable rookie wage scale

    The problem with ‘B’ is the average career of an NFL player is 3.25 years. However, I don’t want to see some Top 5 pick come into the league and be guaranteed more money than some Pro Bowl player is making.

  15. The NFL is pricing the average fan out… like The NFL Network, this is all just a prelude to Pay Per View when the NFL will screw us all out of brand we built. (If nothing else they will go pay per view in markets where games are not sold out the Friday before kickoff).

  16. the owners got a great deal too..probably just not as great as the players. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any of them at the salvation army anytime soon.

  17. The owners are trying to do a fair deal.
    The problem is the players’ union has a skewed impression of what is fair since they’ve had it so good recently. Going back to what is “fair” would require some concessions from the NFLPA, and I don’t see *that* happening.

    The owners conceded back in 2006, but I haven’t seen the players concede on anything.

  18. @thetooloftools who states “the NFL is pricing the average fan out”.

    Numbers do not support this (ratings, attendance, etc.). The fact is it IS expensive to attend an NFL football game. However, until there is a tipping point reached to which attendance is negatively impacted by the cost to attend games, prices will hold or escalate. The NFL does not have an obligation to price their product so the guy making $30k can afford to go to games no more than Morton’s has an obligation to price a steak so the “average” diner can afford it. It is supply & demand and ruled by free-market practicies.

    Case in point, when the Rams couldn’t fill up the Dome in St. Louis due to a period of historically bad play, the team had to lower prices to bring fans back. If and when the Rams become an elite team again, trust in the fact that the team will monetize thier success through increased ticket prices.

    I really get tired of the “whoa as me” fan thinking they have some inalienable right to attend an NFL game or any sporting event in general – if it costs too much either don’t go or get a better paying job. And yes, I do expect lots of thumbs down to this post.

  19. It doesn’t matter … all the cards should be put on the table.

    The owners should open their books and all sources of revenue should be exposed before this deal gets done.

    Has the average value for an NFL franchise gone up or down over the past ten years?

    Obviously, the value has gone up. That value alone isn’t shared with anyone … it’s the exclusive property of the owners.

    Pleading poverty while refusing to open the books is laughable.

  20. Just confirmation what we already knew – Tagliabue pushed the owners into a bad deal so he could retire with uninterrupted labor peace during his tenure as commish. He mistakenly thought this would quickly enshrine him in Canton.

    Good to see the NFL now actually has a commish with a backbone. Long live Goodell.

  21. lasher1650,

    Everything you said is correct.

    Unfortunately it is a part of societies problem. Reason the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer while the middle class is disappearing. I don’t mean the NFL ticket prices in general. Everything is like that. Greed. Milking people for every dollar you can get. Make a killing instead of a living.

    But that is the American dream.

  22. arnoldziffel – why? The players want the books opened because they want to go on a fishing expedition – they want propaganda points, not facts. The burden of proof is on the players, not the owners. The players need to prove they’re losing real money if they allow $1 billion more to go to stadium upkeep, etc. Not only have they not made a case for this, Mawae’s ignorance of economics merely proves the owners’ point – if the league is as profitable as Mawae claims, then there would never be a lockout.

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