NFL Getting Ready For Lockout

Bobby Curran
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Friday - February 17, 2010
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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates after winning the NFL Super Bowl XLIV

The Super Bowl victory for the New Orleans Saints was a success not only for the long-suffering fans of the team and for people in the region, who regarded the black and gold as a symbol of hope, but for the entire NFL.

The game was seen by 106 million people in the U.S., making it the most watched television show in history. The 48 minutes of advertising was by three minutes the most ever, making it the most lucrative revenue generator for the television rights holder. And the Super Bowl followed the highest rated AFC and NFC championship games in years.

So everyone should be happy with the status quo, right?

Not so. The owners have made it clear that they do not intend to continue giving the players 59 percent of the revenues. No serious bargaining has taken place on a new agreement to replace the one that expires in March 2011.


Consequently, this upcoming season will be an uncapped year. While that means that an owner could try to buy himself a Super Bowl, it also means there is no minimum a team must spend in salaries. Expect some teams to use 2010 as a profit-taking year, preparing for a lockout 2011. If it’s true that the owners want to reduce the players take to 41 percent of revenues, there is the probability of an interrupted season in 2011. Commissioner Roger Goodell says owners need more money to build stadiums and market internationally. The owners also claim that some among them are losing millions every year. The union counters that the owners are making huge money now and nobody is losing money. With the books closed, it’s tough to tell who’s telling the truth, although with the television contracts and ticket revenues being what they are, it would seem that an organization would have to be very poorly run to be losing money. With all of the players on winning teams explaining how they did it for the fans, and with owners bleating that they do so much for the communities they play in, we’ll find out come 2011 just how important the public really is in their thinking.

My guess? Not very important at all, and a strike-shortened season or no season at all could be the result.

The situation at Saint Louis School with the athletic director being asked to resign and the football coach rumored to be possibly forced out shows that no level is immune from the pressure to win. We expect it from the pros, and have seen college athletics ramp up the heat to win, but when you see a coach like John Hao go 15-6 and get vilified, you know high school sports are not excepted. That record would get most coaches an extension and gratitude, but Saint Louis is different. The almost unbelievable success under Cal Lee has raised the expectation level to lofty heights. Previous coach Delbert Tengan was put on the hot seat after losing two games in two years! It may get to a point where good coaches will look at the Saint Louis football job and say no thanks.

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