Archive for December, 2010

NFLPA Execs, Dawkins and Vrabel, Discuss Labor Negotiations

December 30th, 2010

NFLPA executive committee members Brian Dawkins and Mike Vrabel hosted a conference call with national media to discuss the ongoing labor negotiations between the players union and NFL. Here are some of the highlights from the call:

Let Us Play

Vrabel: “We want a deal because we obviously want to play football. We don’t know how – what else to do. You know, since we were 7, 8 years old, that’s all we do is we play football.

“And now we’re just lucky enough to be in the NFL doing it. And watching our kids grow up and want to do the same thing. But we can’t go back to 1985. We’re not going to give everything back.”

Dawkins: “The fans are watching this game. They love this game just like we, as players, love this game. We love to play – do what we do.”

Success of the Game

Dawkins: “Let me give you a couple of reasons to be optimistic (a deal will be made) — just a couple. Number one, the revenues are at an all time high. The ratings are at an all time high. Sponsorship is at an all time high.”

18 Regular Season Games

Vrabel: “[Players] want to share with us that their bodies couldn’t take another two games — couldn’t take another two regular season games, that they don’t think there’s enough return on that investment for their bodies. Those are the type of questions I’m getting. And I’m sure Brian’s getting the same ones in Denver.”

Vrabel: “Right now there’s just not enough return on our investment to play another two games. If it made sense, we could go back to our players and say, guys this is what can get for it and this is what we can give you. But I don’t think anybody, starting with De [Smith] in good conscience can go back into those locker rooms and say, guys this is all I can get for you for 18 games. Go out there, strap it up and I hope you make it through.”

Dawkins: “The safety of the players should be number one. And I don’t think adding two more games to a season that’s already a physical game as it, is something that’s going to adhere to guys, you know, being able to have prolonged careers and guys being able to play for a long time. The average career is short as it is. And for us who are able play as long as Mike and myself have, those will be – these types of careers will be rarities.”

From the AP Wire – Union: Talks have sense of urgency

December 28th, 2010

During a media conference call, NFLPA Executive Committee members Brian Dawkins (Broncos) and Mike Vrabel (Chiefs) express optimism and frustration with the NFL’s proposals. Both players say that CBA talks have sense of urgency. Read excerpts of the story here via Associated Press:

Associated Press
NEW YORK — Union executive committee member Brian Dawkins says he believes NFL owners and players have a sense of urgency to avoid a lockout because they don’t want to alienate fans.

“I would think common sense would say at the end of the day, after all the fighting and after all the words are said, we understand who butters our bread,” the veteran Denver Broncos safety said Tuesday. “That’s where the urgency comes in at.”

Dawkins and fellow NFL Players Association executive committee member Mike Vrabel alternated between optimism and expressing frustration with the league’s proposals during a conference call about negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The current deal expires March 4, raising fears of a lockout. One major sticking point is the NFL’s desire to go from 16 regular-season and four preseason games to 18 and two.

Dawkins and Vrabel said the league hadn’t offered enough in return for what they believe will be shorter careers — and therefore less money made — with the longer regular season resulting in more punishment for players’ bodies.

“I don’t think with good conscience we could say, ‘Guys, this is all we could get for you for 18 games. Go out there and strap it up and hope you make it through,’ ” said Vrabel, a veteran linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs.

To read the full story, click here.

Huffington Post Asks Why CBS Cut Jerry Jones’ Comments On The NFL Lockout

December 23rd, 2010

The Huffington Post ran a column today questioning why CBS’ 60 Minutes failed to televise comments made by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones regarding an NFL lockout.

Brian Frederick, the executive director of Sports Fans Coalition wrote, “His [Jones’] comments during the 60 Minutes interview on the looming NFL lockout should have garnered more attention. Problem is, CBS didn’t air them. Rather, CBS included them in its online “Overtime” feature, which was likely seen by only a tiny fraction of fans.”

Frederick points out that the first thing NFL fans want to know is whether or not there is going to be football in 2011.

“Jones’ comments about whether there would be football — again, what every fan wants to know — were cut for content reasons,” wrote Frederick.

The column highlights several lockout-related comments made by Jones to CBS reporter Scott Pelley:

“Basically, the model that we have does not work,” Jones told Pelley. “The economic model of the NFL that we have, relative to the players does. Not. Work.”

Frederick explains that Jones emphasized those last words “as if he was hoping to single-handedly change the (true) perception that the league is the most profitable in the world and has never been more popular.”

During the interview with Jones, the outspoken NFL owner was also asked: “Do you think [a lockout] would be disastrous for the game?”

Jones: “No. I do not. But I know that the sentiment is not to have a lockout.”

In response to Jones’ comments that a lockout would not be disastrous, Frederick wrote:

“How is that not news? At the very least, it would be totally disastrous for the fans.”

For the complete Huffington Post column, click here.

Scrooged

December 21st, 2010

NFLLockout conducts Twitter chat with NFLPA’s George Atallah during Monday Night Football

December 21st, 2010

NFLPA’s George Atallah conducted a Twitter chat last night during the first half of the Monday Night Football game. Using the hashtag #LockoutChat, Atallah took questions from fans, NFL bloggers, and media. The following is a wrap-up of the chat. Stay tuned for more Twitter chats on @NFLLockout in the near future.
Read the rest of this entry »

Will NFL Owners Take A Lockout Off The Table?

December 21st, 2010

During a recent press conference for Governor Deval Patrick, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was asked directly by a reporter if he would commit to no lockout next year.

Kraft told the Dorchester Reporter, “We’re here to celebrate the governor today, thank you,” and walked away.

Kraft’s response and the stance taken by other NFL owners of refusing to take a lockout off the table is another sign of what is to come once the current CBA expires in March.

NFL players know that a lockout would be a disaster for the fans, the game and those who support the game. A lockout would cost the average NFL city $160 million through lost jobs and revenue.

Speaking on behalf of the players, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has said several times that the players will not strike. The players want to play.

In addition, players have asked the NFL many times to extend the current CBA to avoid the economic problems that would be caused by an owner-imposed lockout. Each time, the NFL has refused.

With each refusal by the NFL owners, it becomes clearer each day that a lockout is coming.

For the complete Dorchester Reporter article, click here.

Why Would Owners Shut Down The Game When They Are Doing So Well?

December 20th, 2010

The numbers don’t lie. According to the New York Times, among the 20 highest-rated telecasts of any kind so far this television season, 18 have been NFL games on CBS, NBC or Fox. And of the 50 highest-rated programs during the calendar year, 27 have been NFL games, including eight of the top 10.

The through-the-roof value of the NFL’s television packages has even “surprised” those who supposedly know the business inside and out, such as Sean McManus, president of CBS Sports.

So why would owners shut down the game when they are doing so well?

When the lockout occurs, players won’t be able to play the game they love—the game that entertains millions of fans each fall and winter. The league’s broadcast partners are currently enjoying the dominance that NFL games are providing in the form of television ratings.

While very few other programs on TV are able to increase their audience sizes, the NFL continues to deliver its mass-appeal product to new viewers (customers.) Some have said the NFL is akin to reality television or a major motion picture. The truth is, even those comparisons fall short.

A media titan who runs one of the league’s top broadcast partners told the New York Times that the NFL is simply in a league of its own.

“I don’t think football is remotely comparable; it’s much bigger than a movie,” said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports.

The league’s television money amounts to roughly $4 billion in rights fees. As the undisputed most popular form of programming on American television, NFL football is a juggernaut that can’t be stopped—except by the owners who are prepared to lock out the players and fans when the current CBA expires in March.

For the complete New York Times article, click here.

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