Some owners are rooting for CBA vote to fail

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As the players vote on a new CBA — and as plenty of players urge others to vote no  — some owners are indeed hoping that the measure fails.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that “a number of NFL owners are hoping the current CBA proposal doesn’t pass next week because they believe they can negotiate a better deal next year, potentially with a push for an 18-game season in the future.”

It’s not really news but a new characterization of facts that have lingered for several weeks. The NFL’s vote on the CBA, as previously reported elsewhere, was not unanimous. At a time when many owners are willing to treat players as partners, some owners (fully aware of the failed strike of 1987 and the way the 2011 lockout ended) want to squeeze the players as hard as possible, knowing that the players won’t endure a lengthy work stoppage. And some owners, including Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, want to expand the regular season to 18 games right now.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith explained during his recent visit to #PFTPM how things potentially would unfold if the CBA fails. The owners already have voted to table any talks until next year, as the CBA expires. At that point, the owners can either lock out the players or impose the last, best offer as the new work rules pending the finalization of a new labor deal. This would essentially dare the players to strike.

If the players strike, the owners would hire replacements, like they did in 1987. And then the owners would wait for players to start crossing the picket line. Once that starts — and with so many football players who want to play football it inevitably will — it won’t stop until the strike collapses and the players play under the work rules imposed after the CBA expires. Next, the players likely would decertify the union and file a lawsuit, challenging those work rules as a violation of the antitrust laws. Eventually, after multiple years of playing under those unilaterally imposed work rules as the litigation moves through a federal court system that is in the process of taking a hard turn to the right (which is good for the owners), the case would be resolved with (drum roll, please) a new CBA.

So when Richard Sherman bristles at doing a new deal now for “fear of what may happen,” that is exactly what may (and likely will) happen. CBA expires, rules less favorable than the current deal are imposed (possibly with 18 games), players strike, strike fails, players play under the rules imposed by the owners while litigation proceeds, and several years later the process ends with a new CBA. And maybe, just maybe, that CBA will be as good as the CBA on which the players currently are voting.

That’s exactly what happened in 1987, with work rules imposed by the league and a strike that failed and a lawsuit that was filed and a CBA that became effective six years later.

Most players weren’t born then. All owners were. All owners know what happened then and, yes, some of them indeed want to do it all over again, since they believe that they’d make more money over the next seven or eight years through chaos than they would through partnership.

While the new ESPN report may indeed be couched by its source as a not-so-subtle threat aimed at getting players to vote yes, the core of the story contains the vague but real promise of history repeating itself, more than 30 years later.

46 responses to “Some owners are rooting for CBA vote to fail

  1. Riiight. Not believable at all. A negotiating tactic to get the players to approve it now.

  2. This is just smoke trying to get the players to accept 17 games in fear of having 18 games.

    The owners wouldn’t have put the deal on the table if they think they could have gotten a better one.

  3. 17 games is nonsense, 18 is ludicrous. I have to wonder if the owners are serious or just throwing that out there as a way of scaring players into taking the current deal.

  4. The fans look forward to their weekly escape from reality, by watching NFL games. This includes Fantasy Football leagues, and those who enjoy gambling, spending time with family, etc. It’s not a matter of taking sides between the players and owners. It’s the game that we love. We hate whoever threatens to take away what we love. That’s just the way the human brain is designed to work. You’d have to talk to someone more powerful than me if you don’t like the way humans were created. Most fans don’t have any problem with players making more money or less money. That’s really not the reason millions of fans watch football. It’s an escape from life’s struggles, which includes many fans who live paycheck to paycheck, and who don’t have any sympathy when a millionaire gets too greedy and decides to take something away from them. Like I said, I didn’t create humans, so don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger. The owners hold all the cards.

  5. Greed and lawyers kill the nfl a little more each day what has happened to this legendary game we all grew too love?

  6. If you are going to increase the season, why not eliminate some of the Sorry pre-season games? Could very easily eliminate the fourth Pre-season game if you went to 17. Lots of them already hold joint scrimmages which are just as valuable for young player development and evaluation anyway.

  7. Football players are employees, not “partners”. And at the end of the day, they’re just entertainers.

    Personally, I would love to see the scenario you described. The players are getting too greedy, too entitled, and entirely too big for their britches.

  8. Negotiating tactic 101, push out information that you think you can get a more lucrative deal from the players by waiting to just force their hands to accept the current deal on the table.

  9. Honestly I’d love an 18 game season with 2 bye weeks and no preseason. I also wouldnt be surprised that if the players got time eliminated from training camp and offseason workouts(especially any padded workouts reduced) that it wouldnt be too hard of a sell.

  10. Go to an 18 game season now, but forbid any player from playing in more than 16 games.

  11. During the 1987 strike the Redskins, with none (or hardly any) of their starters, played Dallas after most of their starters had crossed the picket line. Dallas was, of course, heavily favored to win. Big surprise, the Redskins won!
    Good times.

  12. The players will never get a good deal so long as veterans have the most say. They just want their last contract or two to pay out, on their way out the door. They have no interest in tearing it down and playing hardball, because they have such a small earning window left.

    The players hold ALL the cards, if they ever showed a shred of solidarity. They have enough money as a group to rent a stadium and play their own games and sell the TV rights. All the owners have is money and contracts and IP rights. The product is the players. If the players weren’t so short-sighted (especially the ones doing the negotiating), they would get everything they ever wanted. Or they could walk away and be owners in their own league and leave the likes of Jerry Jones in the rearview

  13. Some owners are dumb as rocks. The fans of their teams already know this. If those owners want to see how losing part of a season to labor chaos affects a major sport in the 21st century they should take a look at MLB and be very afraid. News Flash! It’s not 1987.

    Any negotiation that leaves a sizable minority on BOTH sides unhappy is a fair deal. That is how compromise works.

  14. I pledge to watch one full game of soccer or hockey for every extra game and playoff round the nfl adds

  15. It’s time for these owners to stand up and show these fools who the real adults and businessmen are. This is a part of larger societal problem where young people think they are entitled to everything simply for existing(See Bernie Sanders and his millennial followers…) when in actuality these players are nothing more than employees.
    Think very wealthy bottlers at the Coke plant. Same thing. They play an integral role in the operation but they are still EMPLOYEES and nothing more.
    I hope the owners play hardball and teach this generation their true place in the pecking order.

  16. There are lots of “fans” out their hoping and clamoring for It’s failure, too. Not sure why? Having endured the previous craziness and seeing the results skewed so far in favor of ownership, I anticipate no positive fan experiences in a failed CBA NFLPA vote.

    Enough insanity. Vote to approve and let’s get on with the Draft & Free Agency.

  17. Unfortunately for the players the owners have more time and more money on their side to wait this out starting next year if no agreement is made within the next several days. Any player that thinks otherwise is making a wrong mistake

  18. The players hold ALL the cards, if they ever showed a shred of solidarity. They have enough money as a group to rent a stadium and play their own games and sell the TV rights.

    * let’s say the players could agree on all the little details, like who plays where and for how much, could they hold out long enough to even get started? Who negotiates the tv deal? Who takes the loss if it all blows up? These ideas always sound great till you start digging a little bit.

  19. Very obvious a lot of people here are just regular employees at their job and think that NFL players are just like them. NEWS FLASH!! they’re a million times more valuable than you are and you are replaceable, they are not. You got another Tom Brady laying around somewhere? You got another Mahomes to plug in? The NFL is about the PLAYERS. no one goes to a game to watch the owners, people don’t give a crap about owners, except for the arm chair bums on welfare that try to relate to them on this site.

  20. If the owners force them to strike again then i will be a full time college fan. Better games anyway…

  21. Players of the world unite! The only thing you have to lose is your chains!

    Look, there are no irreplaceable players in the league. None. The owners know it and the players know it. A 23-year old marginal talent isn’t going to sit out a year for nothing and then have to beat out a new crop of minimum-salary players next year. The owners need that 17th game to keep the international games going, and there are many more players who could use that extra payday. Of course, the rich guys like Rodgers and Wilson don’t want to play that extra game, they’ve been paid and their contracts are done. The guy making the minimum sees it differently. Go read what Nate Solder did before he announced he is voting yes. He’s the realist here.

  22. There is way more money to be lost than in 1987. To compare the two is preposterous, not to mention the league has lost tv ratings in 2016, 2017 and into 2018, only with a slight bounce this past year.

    The players have the leverage and should sign a deal that is more favorable than the last one, where they had zero leverage.

    Use the obvious leverage.

  23. Some committed union members. Willing to decertify and sue their union quicker than farts leave a fan factory.

  24. I really hope the players vote it down because in this case I truly believe that the owners offered them the best deal first and the latter deals will get worse and worse the longer the players hold out. And like someone stated above the players are getting entirely too big for their britches, it isn’t the players we watch like they think, its the “GAME” that we watch and love and I’ll prove it, when the best players retire does anyone ever stop watching? NO!

    What I don’t understand is how so many players can make millions and still be living paycheck to paycheck just like a person that’s making minimum wage? Unfathomable!
    Let them eat bologna sandwiches for a few months or come out and joing us here in the real world for $50-$100K/yr and maybe they’ll realize just how good they’ve got it!

  25. It’s still pretty amazing to me, looking at some of the comments and the “up/down” vote totals and see how many fans sympathize with the billionaire owners over the players. Despite the fact that the players are the ones that we actually are tuning in to watch, and are also the ones who have very short careers and end up paying the price with physical and mental pain and disability long after they’re done. And the players collectively don’t even get 50% of the revenue they generate by playing.

    Meanwhile, the owners are the ones constantly demanding (and getting) handouts from the taxpayers and leaving fans behind in one city when another gives them a better handout.

    Yet, fans continue to worship the owners. My only explanation is that the owners are all white and the players are mostly black. Hard to think of any other.

  26. The owners absolutely LOVE D.Smith he’s been in their corner from the beginning. The players need to vote no and strike next year, and be prepared to let the season expire with no games played. The owners are businessmen, and when the revenue stops completely they’ll come around. The players are being scared into signing another bad deal

  27. To those who say it seems like alot of us are sympathizing for the owners really don’t get it. We fans who are on the owners side are tired of mediocre players getting 30+ million a year because that is what the market says. News flash.. even the stock market goes through the corrections. You hit a ceiling and then the market corrects itself. We need to reset things and get things more in line. No reason some of the QBs are getting what they get because boy, I might need to go through a rookie instead. Pay the right guys, not just those because of a position they play.

  28. The majority of owners favored the proposed deal but if the union votes it down, then the minority of owners who don’t like this deal may get more of what they want, that is, some of the owners who favored it will shift their view. Will enough shift? Maybe. The players will be shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t take the deal on the table right now.

  29. Another thing to consider…what if the general public doesn’t care any more?

  30. Still hoping for a player no vote with a strike next year. Then they should be offered 10% of the pie and don’t allow announcers to be paid 18m/year.

  31. @danimal. Definitely. So weird how people here side with the billionaire owners over the players. Probably still bitter that coach didnt start them senior year. Weird how no one accuses the owners of greed. I wonder why…

  32. I think the players will pass the CBA on the table when they vote. Over 60% make the minimum which means those guys are getting a 100k raise right now. Tough to say no to that.

  33. >>If the players strike, the owners would hire replacements, like they did in 1987. And then the owners would wait for players to start crossing the picket line. Once that starts — and with so many football players who want to play football it inevitably will

    The game has changed a lot since 2017. If the starting QBs and the good backups did not cross the picket lines you would have some dull football.

    Do you want to pay to watch Nathan Peterman, Trevor Siemien, Josh Rosen, and QBs like that play? To me thats not worth watching.

    I can see a 17 or 18 game season – provided no player may play more than 16 games.
    i think the revenue should be split 50-50 because players get hurt much worse and far more frequently than in other sports. It’s not the guys making 12+ million I’m that concerned with, its the guy who is in the league for a number of years and gets hurt a couple of times and doesn’t make that much.

  34. Tons of bad conclusions based off of incomplete facts today.
    FWIW: The players negotiate a percentage of the total revenue and it’s doled out to them by teams with subjective ideas about which players earn the team more wins. The money has to go somewhere. You buy merch or watch, you contribute to the revenue, period. No sense complaining about who gets what or how good they are. The alternative is the owners keep more.
    To the SJW types talking about why people side with the owners: Spoiler alert it’s not your stupid take that the owners are ‘white’. The owner is the personification of your favorite team. You want them to spend the money on the right people who helps your team win. It’s pretty simple and has nothing to do with race. If it did, all the lefties here would be Jags fans because Khan is a PoC.

  35. I’m kinda rooting for a strike myself. I’m a huge fan of the NFL, don’t get me wrong, but I’m sick and tired of merchandise and ticket prices going through the roof while the NFL makes billions in profits on television contracts alone.

    I mean, teams make enough money in television contracts alone to fund their expenses, they get taxpayer funded stadiums to play in, taxpayer dollars pay for in-stadium security as well as police to control traffic, but they want to charge me $150 per ticket, $80 to park, $12 for a small beer, $50 for a t-shirt, $200 for a jersey, etc, etc?

    Meanwhile, we have guys like Joe Flacco making $22 million dollars a year.

    Greed is killing the game, long live the XFL!

  36. Go to an 18 game season now, but forbid any player from playing in more than 16 games.”

    I hope YOU have tickets to the game when every star player is forced to sit out. Enjoy paying big bucks to watch the backups! It’ll be just as fun, really.

  37. Go to an 18 game season now, but forbid any player from playing in more than 16 games.”

    I hope YOU have tickets to the game when every star player is forced to sit out. Enjoy paying big bucks to watch the backups! It’ll be just as fun, really.

    ———————————————-

    That already happens to season ticket holders. Isn’t the face value the same for preseason and regular season game tickets?

    A fun variation on that would be if teams had to announce the game a player will sit out before the season starts. That would make it entertaining. Certainly wouldn’t happen though.

  38. Im an old school LA Raiders and LA Rams fan. Im so thrilled to have the Rams back, not so thrilled about the Chokers. Anyways, my wife and I are educators we don’t make a big living but we re able to buy two PSLs for the new Inglewood stadium. $2k each, for two seats, thats $4K paid out over ten years. Plus I got to buy the season tickets. I don’t like having to spend all this to see starters chilling on the sideline during meaningless preseason games that Im paying a lot to get. Why not cut two worthless preseason games for two more regular season games? Whats wrong with that? Let’s say a starter doesn’t want to play the two extra games, well guess what? Your back up can play and the game would count, maybe the starter will get outplayed. As a fan, you should be excited for the extra two meaningful games. Both the owners and players get their revenue from the FANS.

  39. alonestartexan says:
    March 7, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I’m kinda rooting for a strike myself. I’m a huge fan of the NFL, don’t get me wrong, but I’m sick and tired of merchandise and ticket prices going through the roof while the NFL makes billions in profits on television contracts alone.

    I mean, teams make enough money in television contracts alone to fund their expenses, they get taxpayer funded stadiums to play in, taxpayer dollars pay for in-stadium security as well as police to control traffic, but they want to charge me $150 per ticket, $80 to park, $12 for a small beer, $50 for a t-shirt, $200 for a jersey, etc, etc?

    Meanwhile, we have guys like Joe Flacco making $22 million dollars a year.

    Greed is killing the game, long live the XFL!
    _________________________________________

    EXACTLY! And for the last few years we’re starting to see the results of all of these huge prices as more and more teams are seeing less than full stadiums every year, Miami, TB, Cincy, both NY teams, Wash, Cleveland and quite a few others. Even the Baltimore Playoff game was at less than capicity as the mid and top tiers were 30-40% empty. Then the NFL lies through their teeth about the attendance like the Miami games this past season, there weren’t 15K fans in the seats in the games I saw but yet when you go look up the attendance it says 65-67K, what BS! The NFL is going down the same path as NASCAR did, people will still watch but because of the huge costs of going to a game they are electing to watch from home or a sports bar. The NFL better wake-up and take notice or they’ll kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    Some people claim that the attendance doesn’t matter as most revenue comes from the TV contracts, but I’d argue it does matter a lot because the fans at the game are the ones they get to buy beer, food, jersey’s, souvenirs and memorabilia and the percentage of profits on those things are HUGE, $10 for a beer that costs them a quarter and if the fans aren’t in the seats you aren’t selling them anything, PERIOD!

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