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Wa-Z
03-08-2006, 09:06 AM
On the main picture isn't that Lamar Hunt on the left??

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/index

cdcox
03-08-2006, 09:12 AM
Tags is the only picture I see. But this story is a must read:

Tagliabue's impassioned plea gives owners pauseBy John Clayton
ESPN.com
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GRAPEVINE, Texas -- For the first three hours of Tuesday's crucial NFL owners meeting here, everything was informational. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and others detailed the six-year proposal from the NFL Players' Association that commanded 59.5 percent of team revenues. Like patients receiving medicine, the owners took the bad news dose by dose.

Labor costs were much higher than expected. Provisions in the deal irritated owners and front-office people alike. Few liked what they heard.

Yea or nay?
The NFL owners have until 8 p.m. ET Wednesday to inform the union whether or not they will accept the current proposal. Here's what happens next:
Thumbs up
Free agency will start at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday, 24 hours later than scheduled.
The 2006 salary cap will be around $105 million.

Thumbs down
Teams will have until 9 p.m. ET to comply with the 2006 salary cap of $94.5 million.
Free agency will start at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, as currently scheduled.
The salary cap will dissolve after the season, making 2007 an uncapped year.

FAQ on the NFL labor talks

The tone of the meeting changed when the subject turned to revenue sharing, a problem within the league that has been getting worse for the past two years. In response to a question, Tagliabue stood up and delivered what some considered to be the best speech in his term as commissioner.

Remember, Tagliabue isn't taking a position -- publicly or privately -- on whether owners should accept or reject the players' proposal. His agreement with NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw was to present the union's final proposal to the full body of owners, even though he knows the costs it carries are probably more than the owners are willing to accept.

Yet, during Tagliabue's answer that turned into a speech, he emphasized the importance of walking out of this meeting Wednesday with some kind of a deal. He knows Upshaw is done negotiating. The union granted the owners a three-day reprieve for the start of free agency in order for them to decide if this deal was acceptable.

But Tagliabue's words hit home.

"I think he has made it very clear to me and the other owners that the future of labor relations, player relations, union relations are going to be decided in 24 hours," Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said. "I never heard Paul more opinionated and more animated and committed and passionate as he was tonight. I'm extremely impressed with his positioning, his leadership and his passion, which really came up in the afternoon sessions."

Owners wouldn't repeat Tagliabue's words, but they were apparent. Negotiations with the union are done. The players were willing to reject the NFL's last proposal and start free agency Sunday night. The league was heading toward an uncapped 2007 and a possible lockout in 2008 had someone not done something.

Though Tagliabue didn't want to take the union's proposal to the owners, it was the only way to salvage the salary cap and labor peace. He got all the owners to Dallas and into the same room on Tuesday. On Wednesday, either the NFL will come up with a revenue-sharing plan to make the union's proposal work, or free agency will start at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and the labor problems will escalate.

Tagliabue made it clear that at this point there is no more negotiating with the union. If the owners accept the proposal before 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, free agency will start at 12:01 a.m. Friday. If there is no acceptance, free agency will start Thursday as scheduled and 2006 will be perhaps the last year in the NFL's history with a salary cap.

Once Tagliabue made his speech, the lobbying began. Votes need to be sold. High-revenue teams have to sign off on a revenue-sharing plan that will cost them money. Low-revenue teams have to be convinced that the plan will keep their franchises financially solvent.

Tagliabue summed up history and the future with one long, well-narrated answer. Half the owners in the room are new to the league since the 1980s. They didn't go through the labor problems of the NFL of the 1970s and '80s. They didn't own teams when the NFL and NFLPA forged a salary cap agreement from years of lawsuits and one painful settlement. The NFL almost lost a season like hockey in the 1980s.

Upshaw and Tagliabue get along well and can negotiate deals together, but they aren't going to be around forever. Tagliabue's contract is running out, and he might retire before long. Upshaw has two years remaining on his deal.

If the NFL lets the salary cap disappear, it might be impossible to bring it back, because Upshaw and Tagliabue might not be there to fix it.

These are 24 of the most critical hours in the league's history.

"Paul as been a tremendous communicator," Tisch said. "He has really given Gene's benefits of the deal to the owners. I'm sure afterward, a number of owners will have an opinion. You know, like any other negotiation, when the clock gets to 11:59, I think things get pretty close."

Some owners were getting optimistic vibes from the room that something could pass before Wednesday night. Others like Bob McNair of the Houston Texans were pessimistic. "There's a lot of work to do," he said.

"I'm sold we negotiated the best we can under the circumstances," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said earlier Tuesday. "So I think we ought to take a look at this thing at its face value."

Here are a few other provisions of the deal.

Teams will be able to use their franchise tag on a player more than once, but if they franchise a player for a third time, they will have to do it at a salary equivalent to that of a top-five quarterback, the highest-paid position in football.

Contracts for players selected in rounds two through seven of the collegiate draft will be limited to four years in length. More and more teams have been trying to lock second-day draft choices into five-year contracts that prevent the player from hitting restricted free agency after year three and unrestricted free agency after year four.

Bonuses in contracts will be pro-rated over five years this year and over six years in 2007, but in 2008 the pro-ration reverts to five years.

The Tuesday meeting ended at 10:15 p.m. ET, completing more than eight hours of talks. No vote was taken, and most of the evening was spent discussing at least three different revenue sharing plans, plans that have been discussed for years.

Raiders owner Al Davis joked that a lot of people were in the room "giving money away." While the discussion was good, no revenue sharing deal was close to settled. "Whenever you discuss revenue sharing, it's like Groundhog Day," Colts owner Jim Irsay said.

Steelers owner Dan Rooney was asked if there was any progress as the meeting ended. "Nothing worth talking about," he said.

Talks will resume at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday, giving the owners 11 hours to get word back to the NFLPA about whether they accept the proposal or not.

One thing is clear: There will be no extensions past Wednesday.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

BCD
03-08-2006, 09:14 AM
http://espn-i.starwave.com/media/apphoto/TXDP11203080044_thumbnail.jpg Near the bottom...

cdcox
03-08-2006, 09:19 AM
It's do-or-die time. The NFL will either be saved today or we will get to see some years of labor uncertainty, that could change the sport forever.

ct
03-08-2006, 09:21 AM
I have a gut feeling they get it done today. Or maybe I'm just a dreamer...

jAZ
03-08-2006, 09:29 AM
I don't understand how Tags can come in to the Owners and say "this is a take it or leave it deal" and then lobby to take it. That seems ridiculous, and it seems that should be the job of the Union Rep, not the Owners rep.

And the whole "saving the league" angle (because tags and upshaw are so close and both are likely to retire) seems silly as well. It's only a 6 year deal. What happens in 6 years when they are both gone? Same thing that would happen today I suspect.

I'm not going to argue that the owners deserve more money or this is a bad deal, but I'm suprised by the position Tags has taken on such a deal.

It seems to me that he's saying the owners have no remaining negotiating leverage. I'd be suprised if that's true, and I'd be suprised if they crafted a proposal with some reasonable modifications that the Union would say "hell no" and screw everyone.

It seems like Tags is saying the owners should blink. And I don't buy it.

Bob Dole
03-08-2006, 09:38 AM
On the main picture isn't that Lamar Hunt on the left??

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/index

FWIW, Bob Dole thought the same thing when he looked at it earlier today.

Amnorix
03-08-2006, 09:51 AM
It seems to me that he's saying the owners have no remaining negotiating leverage. I'd be suprised if that's true, and I'd be suprised if they crafted a proposal with some reasonable modifications that the Union would say "hell no" and screw everyone.

It seems like Tags is saying the owners should blink. And I don't buy it.


Not that they have no leverage, but rather that after over a year of negotiations, two extensions to free agency, and hard bargaining on both sides, that THIS is the absolute best deal that can be worked out with the union.

If the owners don't take THIS, then it's on to free agency, an uncapped year, labor strife in '08, and nuclear armageddon or whatever.

His job is in part to give an honest assessment of where things are at. I don't think "this is the best we can do, now it's up to you to take it or leave it" is at all unreasonable or whatever.

cdcox
03-08-2006, 09:55 AM
I don't understand how Tags can come in to the Owners and say "this is a take it or leave it deal" and then lobby to take it. That seems ridiculous, and it seems that should be the job of the Union Rep, not the Owners rep.

And the whole "saving the league" angle (because tags and upshaw are so close and both are likely to retire) seems silly as well. It's only a 6 year deal. What happens in 6 years when they are both gone? Same thing that would happen today I suspect.

I'm not going to argue that the owners deserve more money or this is a bad deal, but I'm suprised by the position Tags has taken on such a deal.

It seems to me that he's saying the owners have no remaining negotiating leverage. I'd be suprised if that's true, and I'd be suprised if they crafted a proposal with some reasonable modifications that the Union would say "hell no" and screw everyone.

It seems like Tags is saying the owners should blink. And I don't buy it.

The choice is to make the deal or play hardball. There is no choice of "continuing to work toward an agreement". If the owners turn this down it will be war.

Sure the owners could decide to play hardball. That would guarantee discord in the league. It would risk losing the salary cap permenantly. It would put the '08 season at risk. At the end, the owners might "win", but the cost of winning is very uncertain. It could damage the populatiry of the sport (e.g. strike) or its competitive balance. And there is a very real possibility the owners could take all these risks and lose a court judgement (as has happened in the past). The risks are insanely high for a relatively small gain.

The owners are fighting a two-front war: one against the union and another between the high-revenue and low-revenue teams. Had the owners had a unified position on revenue sharing, they could have acted in a unified manner, made a strnong counter proposal, and probably gotten an agreement at 58%. Now its too late for that.

At this point, the smart move is to agree to the players proposal. No agreement today means a continuation of the 3-way battle into the indefinite future. And that is definitely not in the fans' interest.

Dave Lane
03-08-2006, 09:59 AM
I don't understand how Tags can come in to the Owners and say "this is a take it or leave it deal" and then lobby to take it. That seems ridiculous, and it seems that should be the job of the Union Rep, not the Owners rep.

And the whole "saving the league" angle (because tags and upshaw are so close and both are likely to retire) seems silly as well. It's only a 6 year deal. What happens in 6 years when they are both gone? Same thing that would happen today I suspect.

I'm not going to argue that the owners deserve more money or this is a bad deal, but I'm suprised by the position Tags has taken on such a deal.

It seems to me that he's saying the owners have no remaining negotiating leverage. I'd be suprised if that's true, and I'd be suprised if they crafted a proposal with some reasonable modifications that the Union would say "hell no" and screw everyone.

It seems like Tags is saying the owners should blink. And I don't buy it.


Why shouldn't he tell them to blink? If in his opinion this is the best deal he can work out with the union then he should tell them that and that no labor unrest for the price of $10 million per club is worth it. The cap change is the extra amount it will cost the clubs. Personally I think the amount of increase in ticket price far exceeds the 10% increase for 6 years the union is looking for.

Dave

cdcox
03-08-2006, 10:00 AM
And the whole "saving the league" angle (because tags and upshaw are so close and both are likely to retire) seems silly as well. It's only a 6 year deal. What happens in 6 years when they are both gone? Same thing that would happen today I suspect.



I don't agree with the sentiment that "it is only a 6 year deal". With local revenue, the finances of the game have changed. This deal will set the framework for relative labor peace until something new changes the financial picture. Last time that happened was in the '70s and '80s with big TV money and the desire for free agency. That was a bloody, bloody fight. Once it was settled, the NFL had labor peace for 20 years, until the local revenue thing came into the picture. Once a new framework is laid, it could be the model for many future CBA extending for 10 to 20 years or more.

dr00d
03-08-2006, 10:12 AM
everyone will start packing the arena football league games in a couple years because we will have dallas holding 15/25 of the best players in football on their team...*cough* yankees *cough*

Amnorix
03-08-2006, 10:12 AM
I don't agree with the sentiment that "it is only a 6 year deal". With local revenue, the finances of the game have changed. This deal will set the framework for relative labor peace until something new changes the financial picture. Last time that happened was in the '70s and '80s with big TV money and the desire for free agency. That was a bloody, bloody fight. Once it was settled, the NFL had labor peace for 20 years, until the local revenue thing came into the picture. Once a new framework is laid, it could be the model for many future CBA extending for 10 to 20 years or more.


Agreed, but the problem is that a "fair" framework between the owners is massively complicated.

Amnorix
03-08-2006, 10:14 AM
everyone will start packing the arena football league games in a couple years because we will have dallas holding 15/25 of the best players in football on their team...*cough* yankees *cough*


I don't think so. Football is not susceptible to having one team like the Yankees. The Yankees make double, or more, than any other baseball team, so there's a huge, huge cliff between thema nd everyone else.

Football has several high powered, high revenue teams, so I don't think having ONE team dominate the league in terms of free agency dollars is likely. What is likely is a have/have-nots split like baseball. Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers etc. on the one hand and for football, Dallas, Giants, Redskins, Patriots, etc.

KCTitus
03-08-2006, 10:33 AM
Agreed, but the problem is that a "fair" framework between the owners is massively complicated.

It's really not...that's a 'large market' excuse.

cdcox
03-08-2006, 11:28 AM
I don't think so. Football is not susceptible to having one team like the Yankees. The Yankees make double, or more, than any other baseball team, so there's a huge, huge cliff between thema nd everyone else.

Football has several high powered, high revenue teams, so I don't think having ONE team dominate the league in terms of free agency dollars is likely. What is likely is a have/have-nots split like baseball. Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers etc. on the one hand and for football, Dallas, Giants, Redskins, Patriots, etc.

The current NFL model is soooo much better than the baseball model. You don't feel the heat because your team is in the "haves". I'd hope the fans would be united in keeping a competitive league.

KCTitus
03-08-2006, 11:29 AM
The current NFL model is soooo much better than the baseball model. You don't feel the heat because your team is in the "haves". I'd hope the fans would be united in keeping a competitive league.

Ask yourself...if you were a large market fan, why would you care?

Kclee
03-08-2006, 11:34 AM
If the owners don't take THIS, then it's on to free agency, an uncapped year, labor strife in '08, and nuclear armageddon or whatever.



Not really. The next deadline would be March of next year to get something worked out.

Mr. Laz
03-08-2006, 11:34 AM
It's do-or-die time. The NFL will either be saved today or we will get to see some years of labor uncertainty, that could change the sport forever.
melodramatic much?


the league and players still have a whole year before any real damage is done.

cdcox
03-08-2006, 11:37 AM
Ask yourself...if you were a large market fan, why would you care?

The same reason I watch every minute of the playoffs even after the Chiefs have been eliminated. I'm a huge NFL fan who happens to be a Chiefs fan. A weaker league will make it worse for everybody. Revenues will go down, player salaries will go down, people will get interested in other things. Baseball is less than half the sport it was 30 years ago. Most kids don't even play little league anymore.

cdcox
03-08-2006, 11:42 AM
melodramatic much?


the league and players still have a whole year before any real damage is done.

If the league turns the players down today it is a declaration of war. It won't resolve itself in the next year. While no one is giving details, it is clear that Tags made an impression with his speech. Its very clear that he doesn't think this will resolve peacefully in the next year if the owners vote this down.

KCTitus
03-08-2006, 11:48 AM
The same reason I watch every minute of the playoffs even after the Chiefs have been eliminated. I'm a huge NFL fan who happens to be a Chiefs fan. A weaker league will make it worse for everybody. Revenues will go down, player salaries will go down, people will get interested in other things. Baseball is less than half the sport it was 30 years ago. Most kids don't even play little league anymore.

The weaker league would impact everyone, yes, but as a large market fan, your team still has an advantage to advance and you would still be interested in the game. Which is my point. A large market fan doesnt have a horse in this race...they will have some advantage regardless.