The NFL, NFLPA, and an 18 game season.

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“We’re ready for round 5 in the Goodall vs. Smith fight.”

While almost every NFL analysts was projecting a massive spending spree by the league in an uncapped year, nearly 2 years ago I told you that the NFLPA would be crying for the reinstatement of the salary cap floor because teams would use the uncapped year to dump expensive players and save money. That is exactly what happened.

More than a year ago on this site, I proposed a solution to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that involved the 18 game season. The proposal was that the current players would get paid 18/16ths of their current contracts which would increase their gross by 12.5%. It should allow the NFLPA and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith to give back 8% of the player’s cut of the total income from around 60% down to around 52%. If that proposal included an increase in the rosters from 53 to 60 and a rookie salary cap (to cut the amount of the pie that went to newbies and increase the pool available for the Vets) with the reinstatement of the NFL Salary cap, I believed that the NFLPA would accept it in order to prevent a strike/lockout. There were still going to be a few other issues but those were inconsequential next to the money.

Three things were true then that are not true now. First, the NFL looked like it was going to win the American Needle vs. NFL law suit that involved the league’s anti-trust status. That would have strengthened the league’s position and in the opinion of some might have allowed it to impose an agreement that the union would have almost been forced to accept.

Second, at the time I wrote that, it also looked like the NFL and the drug enforcement program would prevail in the Williams’ vs. NFL in Minnesota state court. Instead the court has failed to give the league a win and has stopped the league from enforcing the suspension of the Vikes’ DTs.

Third and most important, the proposal was not submitted quietly so that the union could digest it as part of the overall proposal. The stick only works if there is a carrot at the end of it. Recently, the NFL came to the same conclusion about the 18 game season and are expected to approve it at the next league meeting.

That is a really stupid move.

What the league had done is take the one carrot they had and stuff it down the disposal rather than adding it to a balanced dinner salad of a solution to the labor issue. The owners got greedy and gave the key to an agreement away and now they have nothing with which to bargain.

This almost guarantees that there will be a work stoppage because the league will have very little to offer the union that could encourage them to give back some of the money they got in the last agreement.

I wish I had better news but I try to give you the best forecast I can of what will happen.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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The NFL owners meeting produces little real news.

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Fryingpan Sports

The NFL owners meeting produces little real news.

By Bill Smith

The NFL owners held their March meetings this week and very little of any real significance resulted.

Rule changes:

The changes the owners agreed upon were minor. Perhaps the most important was the change to the draft order. Beginning (and maybe ending unless the new agreement includes a draft) in 2010, the 20 non playoff teams will be ranked based on the existing formula that is based on record first then reverse of strength of schedule. The 12 playoff teams will be ranked based on how far they got in the playoffs.

The losers in the wild card round would be ranked by record and the reverse of strength of schedule. That group would be followed by the losers in the Divisional round, the losers in the conference championship games.

The second rule change is that quarterbacks will now wear pink tutus and are not allowed to be tackled. The defense will get credit for a sack by sticking a finger into the QB’s ear hole and tickling the ear. Just kidding! The defensive player will be called for a personal foul if he hits the quarterback on or below the knee unless the tackler has been blocked into the QB.

In a third change, the league decided to increase the use of “instant” replay to include if a lost ball by a QB is a pass or a fumble regardless of a whistle. This change would have allowed the right call in the Charger Bronco game and given the ball back to San Diego.

There was also a discussion about changing the pass interference rule from the spot of the foul to a 15 yard penalty. This would prevent cheap touchdowns by a QB throwing it up hoping there is a foul. However, the change was tabled.

My Analysis:

The QB tutu rule is just another example of political correctness pushing its bulbous nose into sports. Some in the NHL think that the only thing separating the league from a financial bonanza is fighting. Not the case guys. It might help if you actually had a real network deal for the season.

The NFL rule change is another attempt to protect the QB. Gone are the days of Turkey Jones picking up Terry Bradshaw, turning him over and repeatedly pounding the QB’s head into the ground. Ah, those were great memories.

Other issues discussed:

The owners discussed the possibility of extending the regular season by 1 or 2 games by eliminating a like number of preseason games. Even if the owners approved this change, it would have to be approved by the players and incorporated into the new collective bargaining agreement.

My Analysis:

This is an attempt to float a trial balloon for the players. The owners want to back off the 60% of all revenues going to the players. The only way a reduction in percentage can be approved by the NFLPA is to increase the total revenues by adding 2 games to the regular season. That would give the current players a 12.5 percent increase in pay.

The other sweetener that will be needed is the addition of players to each roster. The increase should be 2 players to a total of 55. The league will need the extra players to survive an 18 game season.

The idea of 17 games is a non-starter. No team will give up a home game to an opponent. There are not enough neutral sites to support a league wide 17th game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: nfl,pro football,NFLPA,Owners meetings,rules,changes,housing crisis,18 game season,preseason,tutu, NFL Draft,2009 NFL DRAFT,2010 NFL DRAFT

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