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NFL Lockout? It's Coming

As has been widely reported, NFL owners walked away from the negotiating table Wednesday when the NFL Players Association proposed to take an average of 50 percent of all revenue generated by the league. Not only did the scheduled seven hour negotiating session end abruptly and prematurely, today’s scheduled five hour session was cancelled with no further meetings scheduled.

Yesterday’s meeting never had a chance as the meeting kicked off with a misunderstanding. As the union opened the meeting by proposing taking an average of 50 percent of all revenue generated by the NFL, the owner’s side took that to mean that they wanted an average of 50% of "total revenue," instead of the union's intended percentage take of "all revenue." What’s the difference you ask? Well at moment, if the their was a status quo in the CBA forward, the owners would take $1 billion of the top of the estimated $9 billion to be split and then the players would get a 60/40 split of the remaining $8 billion. That $8 billion is what they are calling “total revenue” and the $9 billion is what they are calling “gross revenue.” Apparently, what the owners want is to now take $2 billion off the top before splitting up the pot.

Here’s the kicker. In response to the owner’s proposal of taking $2 billion off the top, before splitting the monies, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith stated that the union would need to examine all of the owners' financial books before it would accept a substantial reduction in allowing the additional $1 billion in credits. Well what the hell have they been doing all this time?

It’s been quite a while since I did forensic algebra, but when I do my “Mike Math” it seems that if the players accepted the owners proposal that the players would get about 41% of all the revenue generated by league which according to DeMaurice Smith, represents the smallest percentage of a players' share by any professional sports union (not sure about that, we’ll take his work for now).

If the players have their way there would be no siphoning off the top by the owners before the money is split, and then the split should simply be 50/50. (The reality is it would be something less than that because the players are willing to grant additional credits to franchises that reinvests in stadium improvement, which if I understand it correctly is an orchestrated attempt by the players union to make certain that clubs are motivated to grow revenues, of which they will be getting a substantial part of.) Capisci? Comprende? Understand?

One would think that having a dilemma on your hands of how you were going to divvy up $9 billion dollars would be a good problem to have? But when you are consider that the two sides are more than 22% apart on just the complicated issue of how to slice up the pie, you are probably not surprised that they got nowhere on the rookie wage-scale issue either. Smith continues to claim that the owner’s latest proposal of a five-year wage scale for first rounders and four years for other drafted players and no individually negotiated contracts "is a veteran scale, not a rookie scale" and claims that the current offer makes things worse not only for rookies, but for veteran players with three to five years in the league who he considers the core of the players association. I don’t know about all of that and by this time I’ve probably confused the heck out of you anyway. To be honest, I think I may have just confused myself.

There’s a lot more to the CBA than splitting up the $9 billion and the rookie wage-scale but until they get past these two issues, nothing else is really even worth talking about.

It looks like college football may have the entire stage to itself next fall. Perhaps there is some good that will come of this and those across the nation who haven’t paid much attention to the pageantry and excitement of college football will get introduced to a wonderful sport. None of us here are old enough to remember, but before the NFL, college football was adored across the nation as it was all we had. Until now.

Tune in tonight for Xtra Point Football’s NFL Redzone Report on Blog Talk Radio with Hank Keobler and Jayson Braddock as they discuss the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft (which will go on as scheduled if there is a lockout or not) and talk more about the pending lockout. If you want to chime in with your thoughts on the draft or the lockout call (858) 357-9151 between 11:00-11:15 pm EST.

Mike Cardano is the founder of Around the Horn Baseball and Xtra Point Football. You may email Mike directly @ or follow him on Twitter @ MC3 SportsMedia

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