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Editorial: Football Armageddon

The Glazers quickly dispelled rumors of a Cowher/Morris swap.  The Panthers refuse an extension for John Fox and he does not want to coach without one (cry me a river).  Black Monday was extremely quiet, with the only firings foregone conclusions.  If you'll recall, my very first post related to the reasons the Glazers went with Morris in the first place, specifically the low cost alternative while they rebuilt through the draft and prepared for the upcoming disaster known as 2011, or as we will detail after the jump, Football Armageddon.

Last year, owners voted unanimously to opt out of the labor contract.  That created an uncapped year in 2010.  Furthermore, we will most likely face a lockout in 2011.  I can not fathom how so many rich people can argue over how to divy up their very fat pie, and risk killing the goose that laid the golden egg.  Football is a public trust.  Owners leverage the irrational love that many cities feel for their football teams into one-sided stadium financing packages, then lobby Congress for additional antitrust exemptions and favorable tax treatments (even though I hate the Patriots I do have to respect Bob Kraft for building a stadium with his own money, but he is one of a few that did).  Now, on "Inside the NFL" Jerry Jones stated that a new system is needed because the current system is "broken".  Really?  Broken?  Really?  He said the current system wouldn't allow him to build the stadium he just built.  Um, what system were you working under when it was built THIS YEAR?  Did the NFL lose money?  Are owners filing bankruptcy due to lack of revenues?  In fact, when trying to sell us tickets, they tell us how the NFL has never been better.  I hate double talk. 

Look, I do not begrudge business people trying to make money.  I love capitalism as much as the next guy, and I understand that football is a business.  However, the problem is that football is not all business.  Stadium financing deals are funded by municipal bonds and tax revenues.  With the economic downturn decreasing tax revenue, many counties and states, like Hamilton County in Cincinnati are facing serious problems in the projections to pay off their new stadiums.  So, the answer from wealthy owners like Jerry Jones and Mike Brown is to cry poverty?  Surely, there is a common ground to be reached.  Surely, a middle ground that rewards the risks that owners face but also fairly compensates players for the long term damage they do to their bodies in service to the league and the public at large.  Fellas, let's get our rich heads together and find that middle ground.  Stop listening to owners that seek short term cash over long term viability and fairness. 

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that middle ground can be reached.  And, these owners may find a public that has moved on after a strike.  Seattle said goodbye to basketball and has embraced soccer.  Could that happen on a national level after a year without football.  Owners are bunkering in across the board.  John Fox, who has made the decision to make many players, like Julius Peppers, play without long term contracts, wants an extension and won't coach without one.  How does that hypocrisy taste, Mr. Fox?  Panthers ownership will not extend him or sign a new coach because they see an impending strike.  The Glazers are not making changes because they see an impending strike.  The Jaguars would like to fire Jack Del Rio, but a looming strike makes paying two coaches when games aren't played particularly unpalatable.  Wade Phillips will not be replaced, regardless of playoff performance, because he has one year left on his deal.  Across the board, owners are trying to limit their costs in 2011.  Of course, Dan Snyder does not count, because he's so rich, rich people think he has a lot of money.

Is this article a little negative?  Yes.  However, I love football, but, as Greg Easterbrook is fond of saying, there is no law that says it will stay popular.  I'd hate to see it go through a needless strike when everyone involved with it is making lots of money.  At any rate, Raheem will stay for at least another year, and he has Football Armageddon to thank for that.