NFL Lockout Analysis: Getting into Roger Goodell's Head

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The NFL Lockout is close to ending as the two sides have stared each other down and negotiated a settlement that the two parties appear to be able to live with. But before you go ahead and say that both sides are winners in this deal, let’s look at one last thing that will eventually make the owners very, very, rich. It was a tactic that only someone as clever as Roger Goodell could devise. Let’s take a closer look at the genius of Roger Goodell:

Right now, owners are very happy to have a larger piece of the revenue pie. They will make more money and will receive approximately 52% of the new revenue model. Even better, they have cut rookie salaries. No longer will owners be saddled with bad contracts such as the one that JaMarcus Russell signed. For the top ten picks in the draft, owners will have a fifth year option where those players are paid at an average of the top 10 veterans salaries at that position. This is a big win for the owners as rookies such as Chris Johnson who dominate in their first few years of the league will be grossly underpaid throughout their first five years in the league.

The players are happy with the deal because more money will be spent in player salaries. No longer will teams be able to stay way under the cap and not spend equal amounts of money. Teams will be forced to spend a minimum of the cap (around 95%)  to keep up with other teams. This will put more money into salaries and in turn, benefit players. Minimum salaries have also been increased. Players who make the minimum will get close to a 12% raise. This is a pretty good deal, considering about 45% of players around the league make the minimum salary. The players are also winners in the respect that they improved their “quality of life” in this deal. There will be no more two a day practices, fewer OTA’s, and once they retire, they are entitled to insurance for life.  This should improve help reduce wear and tear of the players’ bodies over the life of the agreement.

But wait…there’s a catch and Roger Goodell knows this!

Here is where Roger Goodell had his stroke of genius. Goodell’s main objective is to get the NFL to an 18 game schedule. He knows that the NFL and its owners stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars for each extra week they play. They will increase TV revenue and a host of other contracts that will make the league even more money and put more dollars in the owners’ pockets. Goodell has said that it is the fans that want the extra two games. No report has proven this to be accurate. What is probably more accurate is that the fans don’t want to be forced to pay for pre-season games and see less than competitive action on the field.

The new agreement says that the NFLPA will decide if the schedule should be extended from 16 to 18 games. This is where Goodell’s genius takes effect. By giving the players a better quality of life in the first few years of the agreement they will have less wear and tear on their bodies and their argument that football is too rough will not hold water with those that want the extra games on the schedule. So basically it is a work less now-but work more later-deal that Goodell has configured. Moreover, Goodell is hoping that in the next three years, he can put enough public pressure on the players to get them to agree to the extra games.

So, to the NFL players out there don’t forget that all this generosity by the owners comes at a price. Maybe you won’t feel the price today, but if Roger Goodell has his way, you will feel it in just a few years time.

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A diehard sports fan with multiple graduate degrees, Mark Bloom is never shy to offer his opinion on the world of sports. Mark was a former contestant on ESPN's Two Minute Drill and is an encyclopedia of sports knowledge. Residing in Florida Mark can often be found watching Spring Training and attending Bucs pre-season camp. You may email Mark directly @ [email protected]