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Roger Goodell Will Reduce Salary to $1 a Year if There’s a Strike, PR Stunt?

The Super Bowl is almost upon us and there is still no guarantee that there will be NFL football in 2011.  None of want to believe it, but a work stoppage is still very possible at this point and many knowledgeable sources have even said it’s likely.  The deadline to reach a new agreement is in March.

Fear not, ye morally correct businessmen and businesswomen.  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and chief NFL negotiator Jeff Pash have vowed to reduce their salaries to $1 per year if there is a work stoppage.  That’s a nice gesture, but the question is whether or not the men are doing it because they believe they don’t deserve to make money if there is no football or simply as a public relations stunt.  My gut tells me it’s the latter.

Goodell made a base salary of $2.9 million in 2009 with a compensation package of $9.76 million.  Sure, he has plenty of headaches to deal with and fines to hand out, but that’s a good chunk of change in any profession.  By vowing to essentially be paid nothing if an agreement can’t be reached, Goodell has a way of proving he wants a deal to get done just as much as the other side and can negotiate in good faith.  The move is certainly a public relations stunt, but that doesn’t make it a bad one.

NFL Loses Antitrust Case

The NFL missed out on what could have been a huge money-maker for the league this morning and given them a tremendous amount of power with not only licensing and apparel deals; but also labor negotiations.  The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 to overturn a district court decision that had ruled that the NFL was a single organization, not 32 separate organizations (its teams).  Here is what Justice Stevens of the Supreme Court said in lieu of the decision:

Although NFL teams have common interests such as promoting the NFL brand, they are still separate, profit-maximizing entities, and their interests in licensing team trademarks are not necessarily aligned.”

The issue dated back to 2002, when American Needle — a company that had produced NFL merchandise for over 50 years — sued the NFL claiming its exclusive deal with Reebok was a violation of antitrust laws and a result of 32 teams monopolizing the licensing of merchandise.  Deadspin, which created a detailed account of what the Supreme Court decision could mean, points out that the decision to call the NFL a collection of seperate entities could have ramifications for the NFLPA, as well as all companies who have licensing deals with the NFL.  Here are a few snip-its from the Deadspin piece that outline the trickle down affect that could be felt as a result of the Supreme Court ruling:

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Roger Goodell Considering Changing NFL Playoff Seeding Structure

I saw this over the weekend but like most events in sports, it was overshadowed by the Super Bowl. And matter of fact, considering what the Giants and Steelers have done the past three years, Goodell’s proposed changes might not even matter. But anything that gives more credence to the regular season in sports I’m in favor of, and this change would be one of them:

Speaking here in his annual state-of-the-league address, Goodell revealed a potential shakeup to the existing playoff system that would allow wild-card teams the possibility of a home game.

In the early stages of Goodell’s plan, which would require the owners’ longshot approval, the bottom two division winners by record in each conference would go on the road the first week if they have a worse mark than the wild-card teams.

Goodell’s aim is to cut down on the obvious tanking of games at the end of the season by teams that have already clinched playoff position, the most glaring recent example being the Colts’ final-week home loss to the Titans this year.

Like I said, I’m in favor of a rule that would reward a team for playing better all year long, brushing aside divisions. If you have the Colts going 13-3 every year and you’re the Jags, you know you’re looking at a Wild Card road game, just as an example. They should have been rewarded with a home game for their good season. Probably not going to happen, but I think it should.

NFL Fixing Games for the Patriots?

I’m not buying it, but that’s what the Ravens are saying. Many of them had strong charges towards the officials following the game, but that’s probably because they were so pissed off about losing a game they were winning. It truly was a great finish, and I found myself on edge thinking the Patriots’ undefeated season was going down. There was a defensive holding call on a 4th down pass by New England that went incomplete that would’ve otherwise ended the game. Additionally, there were two 15-yard penalties called on Bart Scott. As you could imagine, the Ravens felt they were fighting an uphill battle against the refs:

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs on officiating: “Everybody is kind of cheering for them to go undefeated and break all the records. They called them the greatest offense on earth. So who knows? … They made one more play than us and they got a little help.”

“It’s kind of the feeling of the 2001 tuck rule. It kind of feels like the tuck rule. That is the NFL for you, man. When they got a guy like that that is selling a lot of tickets, you want to keep him selling tickets.”

Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister on whether the NFL wants the Patriots to win: “They get a lot of calls. I’ll say that. We’ve been watching film on them all week and I mean, they do get a lot of calls. As far as the NFL wanting them to win, you can’t totally not think about it in those terms.”

I’ll say this much, watching the Patriots chase perfection is pretty exciting. Regardless of whether or not you want them to win, the pursuit is intriguing (and their last game is televised by NFL Network). Would I go as far as to say the refs are helping them out? I don’t know. The Ravens don’t call that dumb timeout, they win the game, and you don’t hear these complaints, capiche? If anything, I can remember times when the refs seemed against the Pats. I don’t think there’s anything to this story aside from bitterness on behalf of the Ravens. And when New England’s 16-0, none of this will be remembered (though it is fun to debate).

Roger Goodell Wants to Move Pro Bowl

In chatting with Chris Mortensen of ESPN on Tuesday, which I’m certain you missed since they hardly ran the thing, commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t offer much out of the norm. Except for one thing. He told Mort that he wants to move the Pro Bowl up to earlier in the football season in a few years, as soon as their current contractual obligations expire:

One of the things we’ve talked about is whether we should play the Pro Bowl in advance of the Super Bowl as a lead in to the Super Bowl. There’s obviously things you have to balance here, but again, they’re going to be showcased in the greatest game of all — which is the Super Bowl. This is an opportunity for us to showcase our other great athletes on the week before the Super Bowl, leading up to that, and finishing up on a very climactic note which is the Super Bowl.

I never really thought about this before, but aside from players participating in the Super Bowl not being able to partake in the Pro Bowl, this sounds like a great idea. You can still hold the event and showcase it while the NFL is fresh in the minds of all the fans. Gamblers itching for some action in the off week might have more interest, fewer players will probably be on vacation, and fan interest will be higher at that point. I think it’s a fine idea by Goodell. As far as the game itself, oh yeah, it’s still gonna suck massively — but good idea.