The QB Blast: Owners Don’t Look Out For Game

May 12th, 2011

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Today, Carlson is angered by a syndicated columnist who claims the players’ role in the labor dispute is born from greed.

Throughout the offseason lockout I have listened to and been involved in many conversations with people of all walks of life and heard a wide variety of opinions on the causes and cures for what ails the NFL right now.

Then I read an idiotic story in Tuesday’s St. Petersburg Times’ TBT publication by guest columnist Ray McNulty, who surmised that the owners should prevail because they care more about the game than the players and that the players only care about themselves.

Let me shed a little light to this fight for Mr. McNulty and anyone that might have been swayed by this article.

The owners care more about the game than the players? Did the move of the Cleveland Rams (now doing business in St. Louis via Los Angeles and Anaheim) improve the game or help the ardent fans of Cleveland, while leaving the second largest television market void of football?

Was the midnight move of the legendary Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis in the best interest of the game? When Art Modell left the city of Cleveland without a team for the second time really good for the game? Has the frequent travel miles of Al Davis and the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders been in his financial interest or for his love for the game and its fans?

Did the Bidwell family take the Cardinals to Arizona because they thought the dry heat was good for the game or was it simply the highest bid? Why did the Houston Oilers become the Tennessee Titans or the Dallas Texans the Kansas City Chiefs? All for the owners love of the game I’m sure.

The players only look out for themselves Mr. McNulty? Players are currently playing all around the country in the Arena Football League and other minor leagues for peanuts or less and they would play in the NFL for very little if that is what the market would pay.

Why? For the love of the game.

During the players strike of 1987, the owners put a poor excuse for a product on the field to pressure the players to break ranks (did they charge full price for those tickets,  I can’t remember?) and go back to work for the minimum wage of $50,000, which was really not a big wage even for that time and plenty of players played for just that amount.

In fact, while Hugh Culverhouse owned this team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have led the league in minimum wage players while also leading the league in profit margin. We can all agree that he was certainly looking out for the best interests of the game, right?

Before the ’87 strike, and even after, players would get injured and teams would simply cut the player and he would have no recourse for getting rehabbed or paid during that rehabilitation.

Union representation was necessary for many issues like this, as owners were looking after the good of the game. After the “Scab” players broke the ’87 strike, the players had no bargaining power. But over the next few years, they collectively bargained a deal with the NFL owners that increased revenues and franshise values exponentially over the last 20 years. After taking over the title of America’s Game the last decade or so, the owners extended that same contract in 2006.

From what I understand through letters that I have seen from NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the players weren’t asking for much change moving forward, but the owners wanted the players to give them an extra billion dollars (to go on top of the other billion they already get) before the revenue sharing began.

It seems reasonable that if one side of an agreement wants to make a significant change, they should at least give you some evidence of the reason why.

That is what the players have been asking the NFL for since 2009, trying to avert the current situation. The owners have rebuffed the requests to show their finances and I don’t blame them, but you better come up with something to justify that billion dollars.

That billion dollars ain’t about the fans or bettering the game, it’s about the money, which is what players are always accused of only caring about, just like in this silly column.

Players will play and have always played for whatever the market will bear, just ask Jack Youngblood how much he was making when he came of of the University of Florida or while he was playing on a broken leg in the Super Bowl. It wasn’t a king’s ransom and if it was all about the money, he would have been on the sideline protecting his future earnings. 

Which one of us would tell a potential employer that he can keep his $100,000 offer, because you love his company so much you would rather work for $7.15 an hour?

I’m not even trying to make a case that the players are right and the owners are wrong, I’m just saying that the guest columnist getting space in the TBT might want to think about writing on topics he has better evidence for which to make a case.

He says that when the players win, the fans lose. I say that when we read his column, we all lose.

30 Responses to “The QB Blast: Owners Don’t Look Out For Game”

  1. Atrain WD40 Says:

    Wow a player who sides with… Players! Waste of time. I happen to agree with the owners in this dispute. 32 Owners put in billions to develope market and improve on the game. All i keep hearing from the players is were putting our health on the line every game….

    If it’s too much for you come to work with me and forget the millions of dollars your getting every year. The league asked you give back a little… Shut up and do it!

    When the recession hit my company had to cut back like many others… We went to reduced hours as a company so no one would get laid off. Everyone gave a little and eventually everyone prospered!

  2. Atrain WD40 Says:

    I can’t stand the way baseball teams ( Yankees, Red Sox ) can buy all the players and leave small market clubs scrambling for second tier players…. This is the system the players and thier agents want from everything I can tell. Good luck, I’ll switch back to colege football and be done with the rich pampered egotistic……

  3. Mauha Deeb Says:

    This has never been about anything more than money, on either side of the argument. If the game was changed completely but the players made more money, they wouldn’t care a bit. Same for the owners.
    It isn’t about the game, its all about the money!

  4. Atrain WD40 Says:

    Does anyone know how many owners have been arrested this offseason affecting the stability of the game….
    OK now How many pampered crybaby thugs posing as players have been arrested? Never have the players been about the good of the game, Always about money and only money. I miss Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, John lynch and guys like that. True Ambassadors of the game.

  5. the_buc_realist Says:

    The players love the game! That is why hold outs are on the rise???

  6. Atrain WD40 Says:

    the_buc_realist Amen brother! Hold outs and Arrests, Plus constantly wanting to renegotiate (Chris Johnson) way ahead of the end of thier contract.

  7. Atrain WD40 Says:

    If Jeff Carlson is about being fair and a non-biased journalist ask him to interview and post both sides of the story. No player slant no owners rhetoric… Just both sides facts.

  8. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Atrain WD40 — There aren’t “both” sides to the story, when it comes to the lockout. There are about 15 sides. You’re bashing Carlson who is simply presenting some of the other side to a column that was devoid of it. Got off your high horse.

  9. Baz Says:

    I agree that the lockout stinks. Jeff Carlson’s goal wasn’t to initiate an original argument one way or the other in relation to the lockout, but rather to point out the ignorance and flimsy standing of Mr. McNulty’s article. And while you may point out minor points in Carlson’s article you disagree with, it’s difficult to disagree with his main argument.

  10. Chris FWC :) Says:

    I’m on the players side on this. You only get your health in the end. Money don’t mean spit if you are paralyzed.

  11. Atrain WD40 Says:

    Chris FWC :)

    Of the 10′s of how many are actually paralized? If you dont want to take the risk.. Dont PLay!! It’s that simple

    Baz:

    What makes you think his main point seen from his perspective is anymore valid than Ray Mcnulty’s? Evidently ray did his research as well and just didn’t lay his head in the lap of the players like Jeff has.

  12. Atrain WD40 Says:

    10′s of thousands i meant to say lol

  13. McBuc Says:

    Great article Jeff.

  14. Chris FWC :) Says:

    @Atrain It don’t matter. It’s a risk. We all take risks in every job we do. Players should get paid for risking their life/health. Ok, average “Joe” in the NFL makes 6 figures and plays 3.5 years. Kinda sad to be a broken man at the ripe old age of 25 and might be hurt for life. Then what?

    If you don’t want to watch DON’T watch…it’s that simple!

    Besides a judge already ruled that the NFL cheated the players.

  15. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Sorry, Joe, but this has got the be one of the worse articles Jeff Carlson has written. Clearly biased by his time as a player himself. Hey…the fans are not players OR owners. If anything, we’re more unbiased than both of them.

    Jeff Carlson is the one that needs to get off his high horse. I would be interested to know exactly how much of that revenue sharing made its way into his pocket through the previous union. None?

    Here’s what I think…without bias:

    - Players should have lifetime health insurance with FULL coverage. Paid by the NFL 100%.

    - All players contracts should be goal driven so that they have to actually work to get their money, rather than some of them taking plays or games off.

    - The NFL should match whatever a player puts toward his retirement pension. When a pension runs out…tough. They would still have lifetime insurance, which is more than most people have.

    - Revenue sharing???? Is this a joke? The freaking Hooters girls don’t get revenue sharing, so why should players? The girls are the reason Hooters is popular. And before anyone mentions the players images and names endorcing products like jersaies and such…that’s already in a different agreement.

    - Of the players, this whole anti-trust suit serves only the top tier players. Over 80% of the players, who make the least money, are barely going to benefit from all this.

    - Like them or not, the owners are sticking with the same gameplan. Meanwhile the players are constantly changing what they want and increasing their demands.

    - Owners are now having to build their own stadiums…that’s huge expenses. The players could care less.

    - For YEARS the players have been over paid. One might argue that the owners didn’t have to pay it…but that’s wrong. Because if they didn’t, the players would have sued…oh wait…they are!

    - I think the players do need some rights in this, but I also think the owners should have more rights. Afterall…they are the owners. The players are not.

    Go ahead and say the NFL would be nothing if not for the players. The truth is, the players would be nothing without the NFL. And if the players all quit tomorrow…walked away from the NFL…the owners could hire replacements within a short amount of time. Would the quality of product be as good? Not immediately because in most cases, rookies would be playing. But over a couple years, the game would improve again.

    And finally…
    Jeff Carlson points out to teams leaving and assumes that such moves were not good for the game. I beg to differ. Those teams moved, brought football to new areas, and then most of the towns they left eventually got teams again. That’s growth, my friend.

    And also, in some cases they moved because games were not selling out, they needed stadiums and towns would not build them or for a number of good reasons. Moving certainly made the game better. They moved into new stadiums in new towns and got new and safer playing surfaces, better quality stadiums for the fans to enjoy and more. This also helped the game grow.

    And finally…Mr. Jeff Carlson…if the owners did not care for the game, guess what? There wouldn’t be football. The NFL made American Football what it is today. They formed the teams. They made the rules. They promoted the product. They invested the money.

    The players? The work out and play one game per week. That’s it. And if they play well? They get paid more in salary…they don’t deserve revenue sharing at all. That’s the bottom line.

    I know if the employees of one of my businesses insisted in getting 60% of the profits (which is what the players want) I would tell them to shove it and show them the door. Then I would hire new players who are grateful just to have work in this economy.

    And in the end…
    The players getting more money hurts the fans. Why? Because owners have no choice but to raise ticket prices in order to pay salaries ($100 million for Haynesworth(less)?)

    You want to know why ticket prices are so high? Look at player salaries.

    If a stadium costs $900 million to build…and the Bucs (for example) only get $140 million in revenue sharing, how will the stadium get built while still paying the players? In short…it won’t.

  16. RIs_Buc Says:

    GREAT read.

    Its not about who should win in negotiations, its about who is putting the game first.

    Even in these hard times the NFL is still expanding and growing so locking out and threatening to cancel the season CAN’T be good for the game. the players are ready to play. I agree with the QB, the lockout in no way improves the game.

  17. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Can’t go through all the points here, but lifetime health insurance was a disaster for general motors and would be for the NFL. That’s not the answer there. …Goal-driven contracts are not in the best interest of the game or teams. Creates too much of a me-first culture.

    NFL can’t afford to match pension open-ended. That’s nuts. …You write that owners have to pay for new stadiums. Really? Why? And it’s not as if football is the only source of revenue for an owner. Many stadiums are a lot busier than the CITS. Conventions, concerts, college games, soccer, etc.

    It’s a complicated mess that really doesn’t interest Joe very much.

  18. Wienaman Says:

    Would just like to point out that if the Dallas Texans had not moved out of the Dallas Cowboys’ market, to Kansas City, the AFL would more than likely have flopped, since before that decision the Hunt family was considering pulling out (due to the fact that they were hemhorraging money), and they were one of the main backers of the AFL. Try to tell me that incorporating the AFL and NFL together to make the Super Bowl wasn’t good for the game, and I will call you an outright liar.

  19. McBuc Says:

    Timing sucks for this stuff. Most of the US is struggling, and these guys are fighting over a huge chunck of money. If it goes on too long, it may hurt the game and the NFL for years to come. Remember the last baseball strike, it has taken years to build baseball back up.

    I agree with Admin Joe, life time benefits and pension plans have not done so well for the auto industry or the airlines. If you want to see your prices go through the roof, those are sure fire ways to do it. The fan will pay the bill for sure. The UFL may be licking their chops at the players not under contract…I think Joe wrote about that a few weeks ago.

  20. BamBamBuc Says:

    I think the article is ridiculous. To claim that the players are there for the game and the owners are in it for the money is putting things too simply and incorrectly. The players play for the money, it’s a very lucrative job that only a select few qualify for. The dreams of fame and fortune in an NFL career start at a very young age, the good young players learn to have a lot of fun playing the game too. So, the players are in it for the game AND the money.

    But, what about the owners? Just for the money? Well, that’s not entirely incorrect, because even their love for the game and desire to improve the game and the fans experience of the game is driven by greater revenue. Make the game better, more competitive, a better fan experience and you will make more money. The owners are the ones that invested money in buying a team. They took the risk that they could run the team in such a way as to be the most profitable. The players never made that risk, they never invested a dime of their own money to make the NFL work. The owners care about the game because the game makes them money. It’s a business and the better you run your business the more profitable it is. Sometimes that includes more expenses (in this case because ticket prices are maxed out for the economy and voters are not approving tax increases for stadium improvements, yet demand a better game experience), so the owners are spending that money making improvements and expect a return on investment. The players aren’t paying for stadium improvements, it’s not coming out of their pocket.

    Until now, when the economy has slowed down and the owners are experiencing higher expenses without increased revenue. So, the owners are looking to cut expenses, namely the revenue going to the players. In return, they’re offering better retirement benefits and a safer work environment.

    Face it, they’re both in it for the money. The owners have even dropped the amount they’d like to see come their way. The players? They’ve been adamant about the current revenue being shared not changing, meanwhile looking to increase their demands with changes to the draft, free agency, etc. The players don’t run the business and are looking to maximize what they can get…. even if it damages the game for the future. That’s just sad.

  21. Tom Says:

    I think Carlson owned McNulty on points.

    For those too slow to comprehend let me try break it down for you:

    1. McNulty writes = “I’m rooting hard for the owners.” Players get “greedy, arrogant and stupid. They get drunk with power.” “I’m rooting for the owners — because they care more about the game, because the players care only about themselves.”

    2. Carlson combats this with examples where owners are “greedy arrogant and stupid.” Points out times when the owners did not and do not care about the game along with times Players did care about the game. Thus Carlson states his disagreement with McNulty’s points.

    Now idiots on message boards call out Carlson for siding with the players.

    Here is a newsflash people, when you disagree with an argument, it does not automatically mean you believe the strict opposite point. Often times it can be due to lack of merit a person makes in their own statements that calls for a response and critique.

    An example would be if someone said that welfare should not exist because everyone that uses it is a drunk/retarded bucs message board poster that deserves to die. Just because I argue that their statement is incorrect on merit does not believe that I believe in welfare should exist for all drunk/retarded bucs message board posters like the first commenter on this article.

    Get it?

  22. McBuc Says:

    BamBam makes some good points, and is right about both sides being in it for the game and for the money. Tom is right about making a point does not mean you agree or disgagree with one side or the other, in fact, I think jeff says that in the article. His point was how crazy the writer of the first articles argument was. Bottum line, the biggest losers out of this mess is the NFL fan.

  23. passthebuc Says:

    There is no one side that is right or one side wrong.

    It takes two to TANGO and it takes two to TANGLE.

    You can either make the dance appealing or ugly it is their choice.

  24. BamBamBuc Says:

    Both sides ramped up for this battle a couple years ago. They both knew it was coming and both had plenty of time to prepare for the battle royale. The owners negotiated TV contracts to continue revenue in the event of a lockout, because they knew they were going to opt out of the CBA and felt there was a chance the players wouldn’t negotiate a new deal. The players also saw the owners were going to opt out and decided early that they could clearly take full advantage of this scenario. They hired D Smith (a politician and lawyer) to head the Players Assoc instead of getting a guy like Gene Upshaw again. Someone who could “fight a battle”. They knew they could make the owners look bad in this scenario, because it was the owners that opted out. With fanbase and the legal system on their side, they could then attempt to get more than what they had before, while crying how the owners were trying to take it all away. Perfect storm to demand greater opportunity in free agency, eliminate the draft, maybe even eliminate the salary cap…. all while crying “victim” of the owners greed.

    Both sides planned this, prepared for this, and it came down to exactly what was expected. A lockout and no football. Both sides waiting for the other to flinch. Both digging in their heels for the long battle ahead.

    So, the question is whether one side is right and the other is wrong? I wouldn’t quite put it that way. But I do think the owners of the teams and the operators of the NFL know how to run a league, keep things competitive and exciting, and increase the fanbase (thereby increasing revenue). That’s in the best interest of BOTH sides. More money to split between them, more to bicker about next CBA…

  25. Joe Says:

    The owners are the ones that invested money in buying a team. They took the risk that they could run the team in such a way as to be the most profitable.

    None of the breathing members of the McCaskey/Bidwill/Mara/Rooney/Ford/Brown/York families put forth any risk to obtain their teams; it was handed to them. Same could be said for Team Glazer. Yeah, NFL owners who purchased teams put up mountains of cash, but not sure what sort of risk they had.

    Going broke with an NFL team is worse than Donald Trump owning casinos that go bankrupt… which until recently never imagined would be possible.

  26. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’m not going to be as critical towards Jeff Carlson for this article. As a former player, he should feel this way. I guarantee you that if any of us ever played in the NFL, we would feel the exact same way. Likewise, if any of us ever owned an NFL franchise, we would side with the owners.

    I get what he is saying. Players do normally play for the love of the game, at least initially. I played a little college basketball, and that is certainly why I played it. However, one thing I disagree with him on is that as a player becomes a pro-caliber player, that focus shifts from love of the game to how much he can get paid for it. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion, especially when there are so many people (family, agents, coaches, fans, etc.) hanging all over them encouraging them to make their money. I am a firm believer that if you are gifted at a particular skill set, you should be rewarded for it. A great lawyer gets paid for that skill set, a great doctor for his skill set, etc. etc. Athletes generate a tremendous amount of income, and as long as that is the case, I have no problem with however much they get paid. The day I want them to get paid less is the day I stop watching sports, which will be never.

    As for the owners, I don’t have a problem with them wanting more money. As a business owner myself (although a far less successful one), I understand and accept that. No matter what the business, you will always have employees and outsiders saying the owner makes too much money; it’s just the way it is. Bottom line is that it is their business, and they have that right.

    As for where I stand on this lockout, I really don’t care who is to blame. I just want the damn thing over. My biggest gripe is not that there is a lockout, but that the two sides can’t even get together and work out a deal. They should be meeting every single day. It seems to me this is a business deal that has gotten way too personal. That is never a good thing. I have always said to stick them in a non air-conditioned room with no food or water and tell them they can’t come out until a deal is signed. Or you could just stick them in a room with Thomas, forcing them to listen to him talk about football, unless they can come to a deal.

  27. BamBamBuc Says:

    Semantics, Joe….Whether they put forth the money or their father put forth the money, the team was bought and paid for. And there is risk in any investment, although an NFL team is a pretty solid investment. I’m not one to say what they do with any gains they make on the investment and some may rely on profits from an NFL team to fund other investments that aren’t as lucrative as an NFL team. If the profits from the NFL team shrink (whether due to higher payroll, lower attendance caused by poor record, stadium improvements, whatever….), then it may affect their other financial ventures. There is risk, and the owners are looking to minimize any reduction in profit margin. They’re the ones paying for the facilities, the team’s travel, all the extra personnel that goes with running a team (trainers, field maintenance, etc).

    And I’m not saying they’re going broke, just that it’s cutting into their profits and (as owners) they are the ones that should dictate what the profit margin is… not the people hired to do the work. If the people doing the work (whether employee, sub-contractor, whatever…) dictated to business owners what the profit margin should be and what percentage the workers get, not a single person with money would be stupid enough to invest in a business and most businesses would shut down or go bankrupt. I’m also not saying we should let the owners go crazy and pay minimum wage to guys that put their health on the line for very short careers. The players get paid very well, and should continue to get paid very well. But for the good of the game, both sides need to negotiate, not get further apart on the issues. The draft and free agency weren’t even issues when this began. If they were, it would have been the players that opted out of the CBA instead of the owners. But now, all of a sudden, since this is in the courts, the players are widening the gap between themselves and the owners, taking football even further from the fans.

  28. Tom Says:

    A couple of things:

    One, the owners want an additional 1 billion taken off the table (for a total of 2 billion) before revenue sharing can take place. It is the owners, not the players who want this change to take place. It is not status quo. One billion dollars less is a pretty big pill to swallow and it’s not any easier when the owners are saying “trust us” when it comes to their rationale for why they want the additional money. In other words, they haven’t given any cause for a NEED to request it, they just want that extra money. Good for them, but there’s a problem…

    Two, it’s fine for the owners to lock out the players. The owners can do as they did in 1982 and 1987 and hire replacement players. Great. Except despite these tactics, the owners eventually AGREED to a deal with the players in both cases. This gets to the bigger point about bargaining and yes, about leverage. If the players are just “employees” and should take what the owners give them, then why hasn’t the replacement player thing worked yet for the NFL? Oh that’s right, the funny thing called supply and demand. People pay to see the best athletes play a certain sport, not scrubs. And if the NFL loses all of their best athletes to the UFL…then your buddies the owners become the Not For Long League….funny how a free market economy works. It’s worth a look up on the ole google or wiki’s.

    Bottom line, the leverage between both sides are more even than some of the owner-huggers here want to believe it is.

  29. Joe Says:

    BamBamBuc:

    To Joe’s knowledge, the only two NFL owners that went broke were Leonard Tose and Art Modell and in both cases it had nothing to do with their NFL teams not making money.

    Tose had a gambling addiction so severe he was finally banned from Atlantic City. He had to sell the team because of his debts and he died a penniless man, living in a modest studio apartment in downtown Philly that was paid for by former Eagles employees who pitied him.

    Modell made horrible investments in his non-football business ventures and sucked all the money out of his football team to keep him afloat before he too had to sell the club or face financial ruin.

    To lose money with an NFL team is nearly impossible. Look at Bill Bidwill and Mike Brown as Exhibits-A and 1A. Drunks in a bar could run a team just as well as those two clowns and they are swimming in cash.

    A clarification from a previous post: the late Art Rooney didn’t buy the Steelers. He seized control of the team in a poker bet. (That’s a fact).

  30. BigMacAttack Says:

    Quite frankly, I think the both Jeff and McNulty missed the Point.

    It’s the FANS’ love of the game that counts. Today, tomorrow, and the next day. Both sides have somewhat lost site of that.

    It’s the same ongoing argument, only a different day

    I’m sure everyone here read the Owner’s final offer that was published on PFT by FLorio. It seemed to be the best offer by any owner of any business in America.

    As a business owner, I can not understand splitting revenue before expenses. It is absolutely crazy and a terrible business model. The Owner’s got themselves into this mess by agreeing to the last Lopsided CBA, and now they want to correct their mistake, in a down economy. I can’t fault them for that given the financial risk they take.

    It is not in any Union’s charter to give ground. Unions always want more, always ask for more, and only take less when a business is in trouble, with the guarantee that they get it all back after a return to profitability. There was a time that Unions were good for this country, but that time is long since gone.

    To the average Joe, like me, how is it that a person making $2,3,5,10Million per year is not making enough money, or yet how they couldn’t make 10% less and share in expenses and still not be making enough?

    I think the NFLPA is about 80% wrong here and took advantage in the first place. Their greed and misrepresentation will not allow them to see that. The players want every single dollar earned by owners on the table, yet the players (top tier) don’t want to put their $Millions in endorsements on the table. Fair is fair, the NFLPA is not fair, and the fans lose, and lose, and lose.

    Go Lightning!!!

 
 

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