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Volume 21 No. 6
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Murphy: CBA extension is ‘best thing for everybody’

Mark Murphy is a unique “owner” in the NFL, in that he is not an owner. Got that?

The Green Bay Packers are the only public team in the NFL and are run by a seven-person executive committee, of which he is a member and serves as president. The former Washington Redskins safety votes at owners meetings (and sits on the NFL’s labor committee), and is treated like one by fans.

Mark Murphy greets fans at the Packers’ annual shareholder meeting in July.
With four years left on the CBA and rhetoric heating up from the NFLPA, Murphy had some thoughts on this and whether the NFL should locate a team in London. Murphy spoke to SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Daniel Kaplan soon after the Packers’ shareholder meeting in a conference room at Lambeau Field.

There has been talk of a labor stoppage, strike coming from the NFLPA side. What’s your response?

MURPHY: In my mind, the agreement is working well for both sides. We have seen tremendous growth in the salary cap. I think it’s been five years in a row where it’s gone up over $10 million, so it’s pretty significant. To me the best thing for everybody involved in the NFL would be an extension. [The cap has risen more than $10 million for four years.]

Should there be guaranteed contracts? After the recent spate of NBA deals, some NFL players questioned why their money is not guaranteed.

MURPHY: There are pretty significant differences between football and basketball: the number of players on a roster compared to NBA rosters, [and] obviously salaries [and] salary cap are pretty high in the NBA. But you are only spreading it over 14 or 15 players. And guaranteed money with the nature of football and the short careers and the injuries, I think, makes it a little more difficult issue.

What are the main CBA issues you see?

MURPHY: From the owners’ perspective, the agreement is working and we would like to continue it. There will be a number of people on our side, partly coaches, that would like to have a little more access to players, maybe more time in the offseason, looking at how can we develop players, younger players particularly. So, I think one of the really good things about the last agreement was … there were pretty significant strides made in terms of safety initiatives, reducing the number of practices. We will have to work that out. Younger players want help and they want to be coached, and they want to improve. That will be an issue, safety will continue to be an issue: What can we do with the NFLPA to make the game as safe as possible?

The biggest issue we will both face are economic issues, and we have seen tremendous revenue growth. Hopefully that can continue. The way people are watching the game is changing. When our contracts with the networks are up, what does the future look like? Do we have a mixture where you have some online streaming or live streaming and is a company like Amazon or some of the other companies playing a bigger role than a traditional broadcaster?

Should there be a team in London?

MURPHY: I just think there would be a lot of logistical issues that need to be worked out if a team is permanently in London. How do people in their division travel in for this game every year? Now it is a one-off. … What do you do about bringing players in for tryouts?

NFL Executive Vice President Mark Waller has targeted 2022 as a year the NFL could have a team in London. Your thoughts?

MURPHY: We’ll see. You know … [playing games in London] has been very successful. There has been tremendous growth. It has benefited the league in terms of international TV and international revenues, but I guess in my mind something in Mexico or Canada would present [fewer] issues.