Blog Entry

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

Posted on: December 16, 2010 1:35 am
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Posted by Will Brinson

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- The NFL's labor negotiations (we'll upgrade them to "crisis" immediately following the Super Bowl, for those keeping score at home) have a chance of being completed by the end of the postseason.

That's the word from the owners' meetings in Fort Worth, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I don't think it's practical by the end of the regular season," Goodell said following the owners meetings. "We'll certainly work day and night to do that. I think the end of the postseason is realistic if we all work hard at it."

But if there's a reason for optimism regarding the labor negotiations, it wasn't being provided to the public from any of the NFL owners.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft earlier this season provided substantial optimism for the labor deal to be completed before the end of the season. On Wednesday, the only comment he would provide was, "The Packers are good!" (the Patriots play them Sunday, and he said it smiling and yes, it was funny). Goodell was more than willing, though, to provide a passive aggressive dispute of Kraft's previous statement.

"I don't expect it to happen in December," Goodell said. "I don't know if that's what Mr. Kraft said -- I think he said at the end of the season but I'm not sure if he meant the end of the regular season or the postseason. But you'll have to ask Mr. Kraft about that."

Whatever Kraft meant, there was clearly a signal crossed earlier in the year. That wasn't the case this time around in Fort Worth, when most owners appeared more inclined to silence than anything else.

Kraft offered no opinions on the labor negotiations, Dan Snyder bolted the Omni like he was headed for a Mission: Impossible premiere (sunglasses and all), Jerry Jones was actually unseen in his hometown, and any of the owners asked about the labor negotiations offered simply generic musings on what might happen, leaving only Goodell to offer cautious optimism of a new deal.

"The reality is, there are discussions going on but as I've said, it takes productive dialogue and we've got to get to that kind of place where we're making significant progress and get an agreement," Goodell said. "And I think it's a positive sign that we're having dialogue. But as I said it's not just about meetings or dialogues it's about getting real, significant progress on the key issues."

That's not to say that the NFL owners are at fault here, because, as always, it takes two to tango.

Asked whether he thinks the NFLPA feels the same urgency that the owners do, Goodell said, "I hope so."

That's the biggest problem though -- in order to find urgency, the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association need to be faced with a direct deadline regarding labor negotiations and stare the possibility of alienating fans in the face. Right now, that means that early March is the only looming date on the calendar.

"I don't have a deadline," Goodell said. "I believe that this becomes harder after the [CBA] expires, which is March 4. I've read comments about internal deadlines from the NFLPA and I'm not sure what that is.

"From our standpoint, we don't have a deadline other than to get this done as soon as possible."

The good news, though, is that Goodell and the owners do understand the danger in angering the consumer.

"Absolutely," Goodell said when asked if he was concerned with alienating fans. "That's why we all want to get it done. And that's why we're completely focused and make it the highest priority -- the fans want football. That's what we all need to continue to make sure we do, to bring football to our fans."

"I think I've been very clear that when there's uncertainty, that's not a good thing. It's not a good thing for the fans, it's not a good thing for your business partners, it's not a good thing for revenue going down the path. It could be damaging to the game and that's something we're trying to avoid."

Goodell also acknowledged how complex the current collective bargaining agreement has become.

"Well, it's labor negotiations and I think one of the efforts that both sides want to achieve is the simplicity of the agreement, because this has become a very complex agreement," Goodell said. "And there's an effort to simplify the agreement and that's a key priority for both sides."

Unfortunately, the complexity of labor negotiations aren't something that translate well to fans. Fans care about ticket prices, concessions, quality of their team's play and, most importantly, whether there's football on the field or not.

Right now, regardless of how many optimistic keywords the NFL (and the NFLPA) want to sling around, it doesn't appear there's a strong movement towards getting a deal done.

That's not to say that Goodell is bluffing with his Super Bowl deadline, it's just that he said himself it will take legitimate sit-down/hash-it-out negotiations in order to make something happen, and right now, that's not taking place.

And until it does, there is a very real danger that there won't be football in 2011.

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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:52 pm
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:59 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:48 am
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

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Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: December 17, 2010 12:53 am
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

after the last regular season game this year the players should refuse to play any playoff games until this thing is settled
Crazy and idiotic comment.  The players can't do that, even if they wanted to.  The players and their union would be responsible by law for every nickel in revenue the owners and league lose.  Not even one court or any judge would have any trouble finding the players guilty and responsible for paying back that money.

If the players did that, the owners would literally own them and their families. This year's playoffs is part of the agreement the players already signed.  What if the owners would have just shut the league down halfway through the regular season to make their point? You think that would have been allowed?  The players make a lot more money then the owners during the regular season.....



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2010 1:21 pm
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

My take is the players aren't the ones to re-open the CBA. They are willing to keep the status quo and then the owners proposed another 2 games. What do the owners have to do for two more games? Go to the office to more weeks? None of them are banging heads. And which player held a gun to an owners head demanding he back a trackter-trailer full of money in his driveway? Sure the owners put up the money, but risk? that's laughable. If their economics are so bad why won't they open their books? Even with two sets they would be hard pressed to show a loss. TV money alone will assure a profit. There aren't many people walking around with team jerseys with an owners name on the back. I also don't know of an owner who thinks the fans fill the stadium to se him unless it ia Jerry Jones. The owners just want a bigger piece of the pie and the players want to keep what they have already bargained for.Christ! the owners get their factories (stadia) built for them! For nothing! They sign a lease. So what? they'll break it in a heartbeat. I hope in Minneapolis and Atlanta they demand a part of the team based on appraised value and the money they put in a stadium or refuse to build it. Goodell is blowing smoke!



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: December 16, 2010 12:34 pm
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

With all the overpaid prima donnas and the wusses sitting out the year on IR with split ends and players feigning retirement to get out of training camp I actually look forward to a lockout...I want a full on strike and hungry scabs to come in that would appreciate the opportunity they have before them to play instead.  Wouldn't it be nice to see players that aren't worried about their millions or someone else's millions?  Players that do it for the love of the game...players that would do it for less than the league minimum just because they love it?  I would put up with the lack of talent to see hard working guys gutting it out through "injuries" that keep our high priced babys out pretty much an entire season...




Since: Dec 31, 2007
Posted on: December 16, 2010 11:53 am
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

after the last regular season game this year the players should refuse to play any playoff games until this thing is settled




Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: December 16, 2010 11:52 am
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

I don't think we'll miss any games:  this has all just been posturing thus far.  As has been said in the article, no one's feet is to the fire yet, so there's not actually much urgency to get anything done:  I still think we'll get a deal in late February, or into March.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: December 16, 2010 10:57 am
 

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

This isn't looking good and my guess is we aren't going to have football next season.  I hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't appear to me like anything positive is happening. It looks to me like the NFLPA and owners are waiting each other out, not much compromising going on. What I think the players don't really get though, is a work stoppage primarily hurts the players, fans and the game itself and not so much the owners. 

Quite a few owners are billionaires with about half of them being in the top 400 earners in Forbes. The rest? Worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the most part.  The owners didn't make their fortune in the NFL, they made it in business or businesses outside of the NFL. They will continue to thrive financially, with or without football. The same can't be said for the players, that's for sure.   The same can't be said for businesses North American wide that depend on football for a good portion of their revenue. The same can't be said for regular people that will become unemployed during the toughest economy we've seen in North America in decades.

Am I saying the owners should get EVERYTHING they want? No.  But the players better realize quick they're not the ones in the drivers seat.  And if the union has them thinking they are, then shame on the union because that couldn't be further from the truth.  Decertifying isn't going to do a thing... the owners will gladly shut the doors and go to court.  No CBA will mean no football, regardless of the nonesense the union has players and fans believing.

I'd hate to wait until September of 2012 before I watch another football game after this year..... but I don't have a choice.. and neither does anybody else.


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