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Inside The Owners Meeting (1 Viewer)

fatness

against the grain
There's a nice article in the Boston Globe this morning with the first inside look I've seen at the negotiations between the owners leading to the revenue-sharing agreement. Some quotes:

Only minutes into the day, ''It started to get confrontational because that was a ridiculous number," said a league source who was in the room at the time. ''It wasn't a productive way to start off unless you wanted to blow up the deal."

More than a few owners wanted just that. They had no interest in expanding revenue sharing or increasing the players' take. They didn't want to see nearly 60 percent of their revenues go to their employees. Some wanted no salary cap so they could be free spenders. Others wanted no cap so there would be no restrictions on how little pay and benefits they could offer. The wealthiest teams had no interest in writing ''welfare checks" to profitable but indolent owners such as Arizona's Bill Bidwell or Cincinnati's Mike Brown. Frankly, they weren't at all happy to write one last year to Paul Allen, the cofounder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in America who also owns a low-revenue team, the Seattle Seahawks, that had just entered a new stadium and played in the Super Bowl. For hard-working organizations such as the Patriots and Cowboys, it was bad business and insulting. The low-revenue teams felt they were getting squeezed by a financial model they could not control.

At one point during the often contentious negotiations, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones mockingly offered to buy the naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium from the Bengals for $5 million ''because I can double that in about five minutes, Mike."
''It's a lot easier to talk about sharing what you don't have yet than it is what you've already got," Jones said later. ''That was a major part of it. We took things from the future and basically shared that. We agreed to some things we're not sure how much will be involved financially. That was a brilliant stroke."

That stroke was Kraft's ..........
once a team financially qualified it could not be in a stadium fewer than two years old and no new owner could benefit from that shared money, under the theory that they knew what they were buying into.

''That delineates between someone like Bidwell and someone like [Jacksonville's] Wayne Weaver, who's working hard but is constricted by other factors like the size of his market and having too large a stadium," one NFC owner said.

This argument over who deserved the money was punctuated when Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who controls one of the league's richest teams, said he was ready to help any team in a bad circumstance but then turned toward Brown and said, ''But if someone has a publicly funded stadium they pay $1 a year for with no operating costs, I'm not helping that person."

Snyder then looked at Michael Bidwell, son of the Cardinals' longtime owner, and snapped, ''If you have a publicly funded stadium in a great market and charge $10 a game for season tickets in the upper deck, I'm sorry sir, I'm not going to help you."
Eventually it was agreed that if enough teams didn't qualify to exhaust the pool in any year, the money would pay down league debt caused by stadium funding loans or to create a reserve for future problems, a sign to the low-revenue teams that this was not a charade.

''We wanted them to know we weren't looking to pull money back," Kraft said. ''We were willing to leave it in to benefit the league."
Despite some last-minute fussing by Cass and Michael Bidwell, the deal passed, 30-2, as did the approval of a CBA extension for six years. It is a deal that could cost high-revenue teams such as the Patriots, Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, Browns, and Texans from $3 million to $7.5 million a year in profits paid into the shared pool. Yet despite the vote, not a single owner seemed happy.

They had all agreed they needed to maintain labor peace but one who voted for it said Friday, ''This thing is a powder keg in the future. It puts player costs and revenue sharing to the edge. We handled this the way some teams handle their cap problems. We pushed them into the future but the problems are still there. They won't go away."
 
gotta love owners giving cash to paul allen. now they understand how the public feels about funding their cash cow stadiums

 
Ya know, as much a I can't stand Snyder, he has a great point about Bidwell. It's one thing to help out an owner and his team in a small market that's attempting to succeed (Jacksonville), but a whole 'nother thing to help one in a smaller market that isn't doing anything but pocketing the extra $$...

 
Did anyone else notice this section?

Denver's Pat Bowlen said many low- and middle-income teams were worried about this proposed $30 million income source that didn't presently exist. What if it didn't materialize?

Kraft said history showed it would and talked about an expected explosion from internet income.
And how would this internet income be generated? Higher fees for fantasy league licenses? Statistics? Streaming radio and video broadcasts? What else?
 
It sounds like when it DOES come time to pay the piper, expect some lost games, possibly a lost season. From the little I understand about this situation, things are going to get ugly when they finally need to work this out, unless a white knight comes in with a solution.

 
It sounds like when it DOES come time to pay the piper, expect some lost games, possibly a lost season. From the little I understand about this situation, things are going to get ugly when they finally need to work this out, unless a white knight comes in with a solution.
:goodposting:
 
It sounds like when it DOES come time to pay the piper, expect some lost games, possibly a lost season. From the little I understand about this situation, things are going to get ugly when they finally need to work this out, unless a white knight comes in with a solution.
Given the huge amount of progress the owners made in discussing revenue sharing in just one day (the second day of the last owners meeting), and the significant changes they've made in their agreement with the players, I think revenue sharing is more likely to be discussed yearly, with problems identified and solved as they go along, rather than 4 years of no talk and then an explosion. Matt Birk probably thinks I'm wrong, though. And he went to Harvard.

 
It sounds like when it DOES come time to pay the piper, expect some lost games, possibly a lost season. From the little I understand about this situation, things are going to get ugly when they finally need to work this out, unless a white knight comes in with a solution.
Well said. They are able to continue this with anticipation of a public willing to fund more income for NFL. When that increasing income stops/slows then the proverbial excrement will hit the air movement device.Six years should be about right for that.

 
Tagliabue offers some insight...

Al Davis said to me very early in the meeting, "You've got the votes," And I said, "I do?" He said: "Yeah, now you just have to figure out what they're voting on." So I said: "That's not too easy."

But it was only when he said that, after the first four hours, that I finally had the sense that maybe he's right. But then it still wasn't easy to figure out what it is we were going to put on a piece of paper, and say we all agreed to.
Burmeister: I heard a lot about the role you played Wednesday evening in the final meeting, an impassioned speech, rallied the troops, at least built consensus amongst all of the owners ... how did you do that?

Commissioner: Well, I don't quite remember, because some people said I gave a wonderful talk about the history of the game and the evolution of the player arrangements in pro sports, and it's something that after 35 years, has become as much as part of my own brain as my own family's history. So, I feel very strongly that pro sports has moved in a very positive direction over the last 30 years, from the mid-'70s to today, in terms of the balance between management and players and the contractual arrangements, and I think David Stern and the NBA get a good hunk of the credit for starting down the salary-cap path.

And then we came in, and everyone's arrangement has evolved in its own direction, but it's a lot better than what was in place in the '60s and through the '70s, in my judgment, and that was basically the thrust of my speech ... so that everybody should try to keep it working, it'd be great for the game and, Al Davis jumped in and said that he's been around 10 years longer than I am, but he supported a good deal of what I had set forth. And I think that Al had a great impact on the meeting because he does have tremendous perspective, and when he comes in and says it's time to make the decision for the good of the game, it has a lot of impact, and he reinforced what I had said.

Burmeister: Were you surprised that it was Al Davis, the one to get up and do that?

Commissioner: Not really, because when I first became commissioner in '89, Al called me and spoke with me on a number of occasions and had some really good advice about how to change the relationship with the Players Association and to make it less adversarial and less confrontational, and build a relationship of respect and trust. We've tried to do that over the years -- Gene Upshaw and I -- and the owners and the Players Association Executive Committee. It's reflected in many things we do, meeting together in Indianapolis at the Combine and talking about safety and issues and the rules of the game, but Al gave me that advice 17 years ago, and it's some of the best advice I've ever gotten, and he and I have always been on the same page when it comes to trying to make this system work fairly.
LINKI think the average fan's perception of what Al Davis stands for and how he operates is way off base.

 
Tagliabue offers some insight...

Al Davis said to me very early in the meeting, "You've got the votes," And I said, "I do?" He said: "Yeah, now you just have to figure out what they're voting on." So I said: "That's not too easy."

But it was only when he said that, after the first four hours, that I finally had the sense that maybe he's right. But then it still wasn't easy to figure out what it is we were going to put on a piece of paper, and say we all agreed to.
Burmeister: I heard a lot about the role you played Wednesday evening in the final meeting, an impassioned speech, rallied the troops, at least built consensus amongst all of the owners ... how did you do that?

Commissioner: Well, I don't quite remember, because some people said I gave a wonderful talk about the history of the game and the evolution of the player arrangements in pro sports, and it's something that after 35 years, has become as much as part of my own brain as my own family's history. So, I feel very strongly that pro sports has moved in a very positive direction over the last 30 years, from the mid-'70s to today, in terms of the balance between management and players and the contractual arrangements, and I think David Stern and the NBA get a good hunk of the credit for starting down the salary-cap path.

And then we came in, and everyone's arrangement has evolved in its own direction, but it's a lot better than what was in place in the '60s and through the '70s, in my judgment, and that was basically the thrust of my speech ... so that everybody should try to keep it working, it'd be great for the game and, Al Davis jumped in and said that he's been around 10 years longer than I am, but he supported a good deal of what I had set forth. And I think that Al had a great impact on the meeting because he does have tremendous perspective, and when he comes in and says it's time to make the decision for the good of the game, it has a lot of impact, and he reinforced what I had said.

Burmeister: Were you surprised that it was Al Davis, the one to get up and do that?

Commissioner: Not really, because when I first became commissioner in '89, Al called me and spoke with me on a number of occasions and had some really good advice about how to change the relationship with the Players Association and to make it less adversarial and less confrontational, and build a relationship of respect and trust. We've tried to do that over the years -- Gene Upshaw and I -- and the owners and the Players Association Executive Committee. It's reflected in many things we do, meeting together in Indianapolis at the Combine and talking about safety and issues and the rules of the game, but Al gave me that advice 17 years ago, and it's some of the best advice I've ever gotten, and he and I have always been on the same page when it comes to trying to make this system work fairly.
LINKI think the average fan's perception of what Al Davis stands for and how he operates is way off base.
Very true. Football has been a part of Al Davis forever (and vice versa). He's got a keen football mind and usually has the best interest of the league atop his priorities. He's also a businessman who has to look over his ventures, and that's the side of Davis that usually gets spotlighted.
 

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