Owners and Unions
Over a decade ago, I took part in a BBC Radio discussion on the baseball strike that saw the World Series cancelled. I was the only person there defending the players' stance and wound up being promised a free dinner by then Atlanta Braves' pitcher Tom Glavine, for probably being the only one who truly understood the issues involved. The baseball owners complained they were spending too much money and wanted the players to stop them doing it. Ridiculous.
Then came the hockey strike - the owners wanted a salary cap, the players didn't. The problem with the NFL was that the television revenues were a fraction of those found in the other three American sports but the players wanted salaries and conditions commensurate to the other three. Ridiculous.
Now comes the breakdown in talks over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL Owners and the NFLPA. Gene Upshaw of the NFLPA is probably the weakest of the four Amerrican sports labour representatives, and he has given way probably too much in past negotiations over revenues and benefits.
But the NFL owners are making more money right now than they ever have done. Since the original salary cap and revenue agreement was drawn up, the owners have become a lot better off across the board and hence quite rightly should be asked to give a little more back to the players.
And without going into numbers, the NFLPA have to be careful on being tarred with the same brush as Don Fehr and his baseball cronies did at times in the past decade, although thankfully they are not dealing with a lameduck commissioner as Bud Selig.
There is room for everyone to be happy here, owners, players and fans. There is enough money to go round to everyone. The NFL is the most successful sports league in the world and is there because of "League Think", the original revenue-sharing agreement dreamt up by Pete Rozelle in the 1960s. Every fan is watching this saga unfold and analysing every little step.
Find a solution please, because the alternative is well, ridiculous.
Some other thoughts
The NFL has just announced a plan for a new reality show. They are going to take some real no-hopers, put them in front of knowledgable judges, and see if any of them have the remotest chance of making it in the league. It's going to be called National players in NFL Europe.
Quick quiz - name two Scandanavian kickers from the NFL. OK, Jan Stenerud who was Norwegian, and Martin Gramatica who is Finnished.
Anyone seen the latest Budweiser advert with Kevin Cadle helping to coach a soccer team? Good to see our Kev making some money on the side and thankfully, these adverts are a mile better than the awful ones that my old mate Jonny Gould has been doing for NASN's on-line store.
Last week's editorial mentioned the Bucs' players to have caught TD passes in ALL their actual receptions. There were three - RB Scott Dierking (1984), T Ron Heller (1986 and G Randall McDaniel (2000), the latter two being on tackle-eligible plays.
You've been great - enjoy Bobby Brown.
Paul Stewart, March 2006.