In an op-ed piece titled 'The Time Has Come To Make A Deal' , released in full on NFLLabor.com, Roger Goodell makes his case against the "status quo", immediately after praising it's results last season. He makes his case for a rookie salary cap, and the need for new stadiums in several cities, including Los Angeles. Goodell also once again packages the owners demands for an 18 game schedule, as fan-friendly.
Although the fans have indeed balked at paying full price for meaningless pre-season scrimmages, a recent poll suggests that only about 27% of NFL fans are receptive to the notion of an 18 game schedule.
The staus quo that Goodell makes such a provocative case against, is actually an astoundingly lucrative package for everyone involved. In an economy that is in a shambles in virtually every other medium, the NFL maintains it's handsome profits. Much of it is from broadcast contracts, but a considerable amount is garnered from a fan base, whose economic fortunes, generally speaking, have not been as sturdy.
Make no mistake, Roger Goodell and the NFL ownership is ultimately asking for more of your money and mine. It's absolutely true that rookie pay scales are problematic, but they don't come anywhere near the one billion dollars more ownership is demanding off the top.
Over the last decade or so, several American businesses failed as a result of increasing profits at an unsustainable rate. The drive to show shareholders they were operating at a profit, made several companies cut the quality of their goods and services. They moved manufacturing bases to greener pastures, and cut operating costs by cutting support staff.
The people who lost those manufacturing and support jobs, are the people who the NFL are counting on now, to elevate them past the 'staus quo'. I daresay many of us long for the times when we were taking in more money than we were spending, without having to make any significant sacrifice.
The NFL, and to perhaps a lesser degree the NLPA, have been very quick to attempt to curry favor with a fan base that is already hard-pressed to rationalize its expenditure on the luxury item they provide. The tone-deaf nature of the current conversation suggests that both parties don't think we understand a couple of key elements.
NFL players and NFL ownership have never made more money than they do now. We, the fans are currently trying to overcome one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history.
As it stands now, neither side is offering us anything in return, for the loyalty they're taking very much for granted.