Monday, February 15, 2010

Labor Disputes Upset Everyday Fan

The NFL has a looming collective bargaining agreement set to expire very soon. With our country's economy not as strong as many would wish, people obviously do not want to hear about millionaire's arguing about who gets what slice of the pie. But to look at it this way is unfair, and ignoring the bigger picture of the future of the league. So I will put aside that these players make eight digits a year and even more in benefits and sponsorships. I will look past a league in the NFL that made over eight billion dollars last year and still cut jobs. I will put what the league needs to do in order to keep the success growing in the world's best sports league.

1. Rookie Salary Cap: The Salary Cap is a great idea for the NFL. It allows almost every team a chance at the playoffs every three years, if not more often. If you draft well and are smart with your players, you can still build dynasties. But the playing field has been leveled to make the game far more enjoyable to watch every Sunday, Monday, Thursday and sometimes Saturday. Almost any team can win every game. This year is a poor example of NFL parity, but that is because of ridiculous coaching turnover than on the players. One thing seems very strange to me though. Why don't rookies have salary caps. You give the worst teams the highest picks then tell them, "Pay this player twelve million dollars a year, but be sure to assemble talent that doesn't go over X amount. By the way you better do well and sell out your games, or we will move you to Los Angeles." You put a few bad years together and three of your players are eating up thirty percent of your total allowed payroll. Matthew Stafford signed a six year $42.7 million dollar (guaranteed, he could make up to $72 million with bonuses) putting the Lions in a boom or bust situation. This year's first overall pick (if a QB expect more, if a DT expect a little less) could really put the Rams in a hole that isn't fair to anyone. Bottom line, make a salary cap for rookies to help teams rebuild and pick whoever they think will make the team better, not who will sign the lowest contract. After the first round, the problems go down a little bit. But the first round is really getting out of hand. This should not be too hard to do since, college players do not belong to the player's union. For a league that prides itself in giving every team a chance to win every year, they have neglected this aspect for far too long.

2. Invest money in helping former players pay health care costs, and invest in concussion prevention and treatment for current and former players: Some of these players are so crippled that they can't pay their medical bills. That is so tragic to see the people who laid the foundation for this league's success. The league would do itself a PR favor to pull this off.

3. Mandate stadium sponsorship, split the cost evenly among teams with sponsorship. Those that do not have sponsorship do not get the revenue: It isn't fair for the Dolphins to get money from it's "Stadium Sponsor of the Week" and have to split the profits with Cincinnati, Green Bay, Chicago and other teams that have no interest in corporate sponsors. So kick those teams out and split it between the teams with sponsors.

3B. Also, employ this system to teams and playoff revenue. Teams should be rewarded for doing well more than whatever the payday is for the players nowadays. This goes against what I said about evening the playing field, but only at first. Teams will try harder to obtain money and win. Look at franchises like Detroit, Jacksonville, New Orleans (until recently), Arizona (also until recently, and their time may be done), St. Louis and Cleveland. You can not convince me that those Owners do not need as much incentive as they can to win. My plan will try and push those owners to succeed more on the field instead of hiring Matt Millen as your GM and be all right with losing because you still sell out and make a profit.

4. Add games, make the preseason shorter or non existent, and figure out the Pro Bowl: Extra games means extra money, so its going to happen. I've accepted that. Old WFL players used to play 18 games a season, current CFL players still play 20 games a season. Plus, the games would mean a shorter preseason, which is best case for the NFL. Start the season a little earlier and nothing radical would happen to the schedule. Plus, if someone goes 0-18, I'm off the hook. For the Pro Bowl, try and keep this year's model. It was fairly successful. The Pro Bowl won't ever matter. Just try and make it as relevant as possible.

5. Keep the salary cap the way it is, keep the game like it is now: We are in the second Golden Age of Pro Football. Don't ruin it for us by taking away the cap or anything that has made the NFL so great since I can remember.

6. Put a team in Los Angeles: This is about money too, and what team could bring more glamour to the NFL than a team in Hollywood. Candidates: Jacksonville, St. Louis, Minnesota, San Diego. Minnesota is a good team and they aren't going to get another stadium anytime soon and I am sick of watching teams play in the Humpty Dump. They almost don't sell out playoff games. St. Louis could go back, as could San Diego. The Chargers aren't going to get a new stadium. Any team that moves their will see their revenues and franchise value double.

7. Outlaw any talk of a pay per view Super Bowl or regular season: This could really kill the NFL. Taking away average fans and viewers and making people pay to watch the games. Look what it did to boxing. Sure, optional season packages are fun and I enjoy the free preview enough (I live in my favorite team's market) but they should stay strictly optional.

This system, the "Corbitt Plan" will help the NFL maintain a strong economic stand point through almost economy. This will increase revenue and keep the level of competition strong. If this passes we can just sit back and watch the sport thrive well into the 21st century.

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