Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Today's Owners Meeting, CBA and what it means to Broncos fans…

The sports writers in the city of Denver are behaving as if the Rockies aren’t 11 games away from .500, the Nuggets are still in the Playoffs and the Avalanche will be drinking out of the Stanley Cup soon. To me, the only thing sports fans have left in Denver is to look forward to the Broncos season... Really, slow time in the NFL? Not much to write about? We’ve got the Patriots, the NFL mini-camps which started over the last two weeks, Marvin Harrison and oh yeah, a Eddie Royal showing up at the NFL Rookies Premiere this weekend wearing jersey number 3 (is that even possible?), oh yeah, and the fact that there might not even be a season in 2011.

You’ve seen it, read it or heard about it by now the Owners of the NFL’s teams could rightfully opt to terminate a contract they had agreed upon in 2006 that would lead to amongst other things a salary cap-less year in 2010. This could also lead to as Chris Mortensen at ESPN reports:

“… unrestricted free agency for players would be increased from four years to six years and the orderly selection of college players in the annual draft would not exist after 2011.”

Good news is, no matter what happens Broncos fans will not feel the repercussions of any decision over the next two seasons.

The last season the NFL played without a salary cap was the 1992 season, that year the Bills beat the Broncos in the AFC Championship game on a last second field goal by Scott Norwood, 10-7. The Bills went on to lose to backup Quarterback (and future Los Angeles Raiders QB) Jeff Hostetler, on a Norwood Field Goal, which went wide right in the final seconds of the game.

In the five years prior to that AFC Championship Game loss, the Broncos had been to the Super Bowl three times. Not to return again until 1998.

Why bring up painful ancient history? Because of the teams the Broncos lost to in the Super Bowl over those seasons. The San Francisco 49ers (1990), Washington Redskins (1988) and the New York Giants (1987) were all from extraordinary wealthy clubs, while the entire NFL was “uncapped,” combined they would account for 10 Super Bowl wins dating back to 1982. There is no denying that certain teams had much more money than others. Denver, while the 18th largest market amongst NFL teams also supported one of the most loyal and revenue generating clubs in the league.

It was right of the Player’s Union to agree to a Salary Cap and for the Owners to agree to Unrestricted Free Agency in 1993. However, was it right to agree to revenue sharing in 2006, to stop the possibility of an uncapped year in 2007? Is it a coincidence that both the last time there was an uncapped year and the last time there was a possibility of an uncapped year the Broncos went to the AFC Championship? No, stop being crazy, it’s the offseason, but it’s not that off of a season.

The deal, which we’re all aware, allowed for the players to receive 60% of the revenue generated by the NFL. This 60% is the reason why the Salary Cap goes up after every season, the NFL and its teams continue to make more and more money. However, that 60% comes from the overall league revenue. Not the individual team revenue, in places like Arizona or Cincinnati, where an overall revenue gain simply means that the Cardinals or the Bengals will be even further behind on their already trailing yearly income. This is why the Owners struck the Collective Bargaining Agreement in the first place, this was the agreement in 1997, that the top 15 earners in the NFL would share revenue and teams like Cincinnati and Arizona could continue to operate in the league.

New England Corner Back Randall Gay had this to say last season following the Patriots whooping the Washington Redskins 52-7.

“You hear people saying 'the Patriots are running up the score, they don't have any sportsmanship, they're the team everybody loves to hate because they don't have any mercy.' When you hear that kind of talk from people, what is your reaction and what would you like to say to those people?”

"Basically, you have to ignore those people because this is a job. We're out there, and what are we supposed to do? Like we scored on defense, when Ellis [Hobbs] caught the fumble, should he have taken a knee because we were up by so much? We're out there to do our job, just like they're out there to do their job. It kind of makes me mad when you hear somebody from the other team's defense going 'they shouldn't have done that; that's disrespect.' Do we think it's disrespect when they went and picked up their checks for letting a team score 50 points on them? That should be disrespect that you went to your owner and said 'All right, pay me for that game I just played.' You can't look at it like that. You have to go out there and do your best. If somebody is blowing you out, you have to play harder. You have to stop them."

An interesting little tidbit to add to that is that New England and Washington have been consistently two of the highest revenue generating clubs in the league consistently since 1994.

Onto what Gay said, he was onto a much bigger point here, I believe that one would be hard pressed to find someone within the NFL willing to say that the players did not deserve 60% of the revenue. I don’t know where I stand quite yet on an Owner saying that 40% of their revenue is not enough. How an Owner can declare a loss after charging $110 for nosebleeds, a shared television and licensing revenue and only dishing out $100 million plus to players, coaches and staff… I think it’s time to start taxing those teams that consistently go 4-12, 5-11, teams that haven’t been top two in their conference in the last five years. Owners who play magical Head Coach, why not penalize them? Is it really the players fault that they’re learning their third Offense in as many years? Or that because the team wanted to sign a twelve year veteran Defensive Tackle, they couldn’t afford a decent Kicker who could have gotten them into the playoffs?

Thanks for taking the time in my first article here at Broncotalk.net Know that in the end, one thing this research has shown me is that, regardless of Salary Cap, Denver makes the Super Bowl every nine years consistently, you can set your watch by it. The last time Denver was in a Super Bowl? 1998...

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