You got a $9 Billion dollar behemoth called the NFL and its greedy owners placed a pittance in comparison to their profits above the integrity of the game we love. So once again, short term gain was more important than the interests of the public good, the general welfare – or in this case – the customers who generate the enormous profits for this Sunday afternoon cartel.
Ok, my bleeding heart liberal sentiments have come through. Still, I’m probably not alone - no matter the political affiliation. That said, feeling slighted by the abomination we’ve just witnessed does not
In other words, if you question the business methods or morality of the owners, make sure you do so while acknowledging that these are a group of guys who know what they are doing.
You and I are living proof.
According to an anonymous owner quoted in the Washington Post, “You can’t cave in and give them everything they want. It sets a horrible precedent for the rest of your business.”
In this, the owner’s primary concern did not specifically refer to any bottom line figure but the manner in which pension money accrued over the long term. (The owners wanted out of the agreement in which they are sole contributors to the referee’s 401k plan.)
But two separate calls went up in front of a national TV audience and the roll of the dice the owners took had them come up…Losers?
First of all, the settlement reached, it’s now as a distant memory to us as the Monday Night number Bill Walsh once did on Bill Parcells in another replacement fiaso – circa 1987.
Of course, by the numbers the owners conceded an annual pay raise from $150,000 to $200,000, but on the key issue, forces did not only coalesce around the owners. Missing games and salary, the refs also moved to the middle. The owners wanted out of the pension plan after this year, the refs had set their sights on eight and five became the agreed upon center.
What I do find interesting from my soapbox is that there were still a number of owners who did not want to give in. “These are guys who aren’t used to being pushed around,” said the anonymous owner again.
In that, I believe they really were in disregard of the public good. On the field, the replacements were clearly losing control of the game. Someone was going to get hurt and in a manner going well beyond the bounds of the normal violence associated with the game.
Higher up, the public anger seething, a few more bizarre calls like the one in Seattle, and our crowds might have started resembling their European football cousins at Wembley Stadium and such.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit much, but fortunately we didn’t have to find out, and the core consisted of enough cooler heads among the owners to keep us all in the know and in our seats.