SBD/Issue 72/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Discusses NFL Economics On "FNIA"

    Jones Says Owners "Wouldn't Have Opted Out"
    Of Current CBA If It Worked For The Future
    Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said league owners “will not let economics play any role in the competitiveness between the teams of the NFL” in a new CBA in an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas on “Football Night In America.” During a portion of the interview, Costas focused on the upcoming labor talks:

    COSTAS: “I don't want to get you in trouble with the Commissioner again, he already hit you with a fine. But with the possibility of an uncapped year, and possibly either reduced or eliminated revenue sharing, are we looking at a radical restructuring of the business model of the NFL?”

    JONES: “We do want to have a deal with the players that would continue the playing of football right on through any given year. We want to get that done. On the other hand, we wouldn't have opted out of the existing deal that we're in right now if it would work at all, and it doesn't work for the future at all. So, we've got a lot of work to do, but let's get it done in a way that's good for the fans.”

    COSTAS: “The two things that concern the average football fan is, A) uncapped year in 2010. Does Jerry Jones in Dallas or Dan Snyder in Washington become the George Steinbrenner of the NFL and leave the Buffalo’s and Cincinnati’s and Green Bay’s further in their wake?

    JONES: “The way we are structured, we share the majority of all the revenue.”

    COSTAS: “Will that continue?”

    JONES: “We share it equally. And yes, that would continue.”

    COSTAS: “Let's say I'm a fan in upstate New York, a fan of the Buffalo Bills. I say to myself, ‘No matter how smart, no matter how daring, no matter how resourceful Ralph Wilson or his successor may be, we don't have the wherewithal or the upside possibility (to compete with high-revenue teams). ... So what are we to do?’”

    JONES: “First of all, let's look at the past. Economics have never played a part in the competitiveness of an NFL football team.

    COSTAS: “Which has been the greatest thing about the NFL.”

    JONES: “And it's fabulous.”

    COSTAS: “Which is why a Steeler fan knows he's in a different boat than a Pirate fan.”

    JONES: “We will not let economics play any role in the competitiveness between the teams of the NFL. It hasn't in the past and won't in the future.”


    SLOW GOING: After the taped interview, Costas said, “You heard Jones say that in his view, the NFL’s present system no longer works for the owners. Peter King is reporting, meanwhile, that negotiations between players and owners are now going very poorly, and some on the players side who once were optimistic about a deal getting done, now believe there will in fact be a lockout in 2011” (“Football Night In America,” NBC, 12/27). King today writes, "I hear progress is virtually nil and the players are pessimistic that a new deal will get done in time for them to play the 2011 season. It was clear listening to Jerry Jones on NBC last night that the league wants to blow up the current system it views favorable to the players, and it's just as clear that if that happens, the players want something significant in return" (SI.com, 12/28).

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  • NFL Tests Helmets To See Which Protect Best Against Concussions

    Final Results Of Helmet Tests 
    Are Expected In March
    The NFL “has begun to test models of helmets worn by players to try to determine which models might best protect players from suffering concussions during on-filed collisions,” according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. The program is “being funded by the NFL and run cooperatively by the league” and the NFLPA. League officials said that the final results are “expected in March.” An initial round of testing of helmet models designed for NFL players by five manufacturers, conducted at two testing facilities, “was completed and the results of the testing were given to the manufacturers during a meeting last week.” Manufacturers can “offer input and potentially resubmit helmet models for a second round of testing before the final results are made available to players.” NFLPA Medical Dir Thom Mayer said, “Some helmets performed extremely well. Some did not” (WASHINGTON POST, 12/24).

    TESTING QUESTIONED: In N.Y., Alan Schwarz reported the NFL’s new helmet safety standards being developed are “raising familiar questions of faulty science and conflict of interest.” The development of a new helmet-testing protocol, amid the league's “tangled web of industry relationships and using data long believed to be incomplete, is drawing criticism from rivals of the league’s official helmet sponsor and some of the few outside experts aware of the plan.” NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello in an e-mail said the league through testing aims “to continue to learn as much as possible about the protective qualities of helmets, to share the information with the manufactures and others.” However, helmet manufacturer Schutt CEO Robert Erb said that he is “concerned with ties among Riddell, the league, its concussion committee and one of the two labs currently used for testing helmets, Biokinetics and Associates of Ottawa.” Riddell has been the NFL’s official helmet sponsor since ’89 and outfits about 80% of the players. The sponsorship deal “mandates that the brand names of non-Riddell helmets be taped over so they cannot be seen on television.” Erb said too many of the doctors and technicians now involved with the NFL’s testing protocol “have a vested interest in Riddell looking good.” But Riddell President Dan Arment said, “I don’t think that anyone would compromise any part of their business by acting in any sort of a biased way” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/24).

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  • AF1 Set To Launch With 15 Teams, More Scaled Back Budget

    Iowa Barnstormers Owner Says AF1 Will Play As
    One-Tier League For First Couple Of Years
    The AF1 has closed applications for '10 and “will start its inaugural season with 15 teams split into four divisions,” according to Dan Johnson of the DES MOINES REGISTER. It “will be a mix of teams” from last year’s af2 league with those from the defunct AFL. The league’s owners paid $6.1M “to acquire the team names, logos and other assets from the AFL in bankruptcy court.” Iowa Barnstormers Owner Jeff Lamberti: “In some respects we shocked people from the old AFL by our willingness to buy the old assets and demonstrate our (financial) strength.” The league will have a higher budget than af2, but it will be "far cheaper than the AFL.” Travel “will be higher than in the af2 and players will be paid a base salary of $400 per game instead of $200.” But there “will be less overhead than in the AFL, where players were paid $30,000 per year.” The AF1 will include eight franchises from the af2 -- Iowa, Spokane, Tulsa, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Bossier-Shreveport, Jacksonville, and Alabama (formerly Tennessee Valley). They will be joined by seven former AFL teams -- Chicago, Cleveland, Orlando, Arizona, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Utah. Lamberti said that AF1 was originally planned “as a two-tier league, with the top tier having affiliates in the lower tier.” But there “will only be one tier for at least the first couple years.” Single-game tickets will go on sale in March (DES MOINES REGISTER, 12/24).

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