Wayne Root: Ending the Threat of NFL Players’ Strike

By Wayne Allyn Root of WinningEDGE.com

None of us want to see a NFL strike threaten the 2011 season. All of us that are in businesses that profit off the success of the NFL should be working overtime to come up with ways to avoid a strike. I will today present just such a proposal.

We all know the NFL wants to expand the regular season from 16 to 18 games- preferably with an extra bye week as well. That would effectively add 3 weeks to the actual regular season. The NFL Players Union acts as if they are against it. They are not. That position is merely a negotiating ploy. The players and their union leaders could not possibly be that ignorant. Regular season expansion is simply an almost-magical way to instantly increase the value of the product and dramatically raise revenues, without really changing a thing (2 preseason games would be dropped). Fans would pay far more for two extra regular season games with meaning, while eliminating two exhibition games that are meaningless and provide poor value to all involved. The result is a substantially bigger pot for both the owners and players to split- without raising ticket prices on the fans.

But I have a suggestion that takes this idea a step further. Has anyone heard the NFL mention whether an expansion of playoff teams is on the table if the season is expanded? This should certainly be part of any regular season expansion deal.

Right now fans are left out in the cold in two significant ways. First we currently have teams that now are eliminated at Week 13 or 14 of a 16-week season…who have nothing to play for over the last 2 or 3 weeks. That is unfair to fans paying huge money for tickets. With the advent of an 18-week season, those same teams could potentially be all-but-eliminated by week 13 or 14 of a 18 week season- thereby leaving what amounts to a month (or more) of meaningless action for their fans.

Why not solve the problem by adding 4 more Wild Card teams to the Post Season? Obviously more potential Playoff slots means more football teams will be “in the running” until the final week- creating far more excitement and meaningful games.

We also had a situation this year of two quality 10-win teams (New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) missing the Playoffs- also a major disappointment to their fans. Add in a 9-win team that never made it (San Diego) and an 8-8 team (Oakland) that finished the season undefeated in their division and never made it. So four teams that were shut out of the 2010 Playoffs could and should have qualified. Why deny the players and fans this wonderful reward after such a long (and now potentially even LONGER) season? Why give up the extra revenues in television rights fees and ticket sales?

Is the NFL’s answer that an 8-8 team like Oakland has no right to make the Playoffs? That their fans would not be interested? Really? I think Seattle’s Playoff run this past season certainly dispelled that idea. Seattle at 7-9 beat the defending Super Bowl champion, and played to a packed, raucous, home crowd. Doesn’t the NFL think allowing the New York Giants, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Oakland into the Playoffs would have had the same result? Didn’t their fans deserve the same opportunity as the Seahawks’ fans?

The results of an expanded Playoff format are obvious: Packed stadiums, more tickets, more food, more beer, more parking fees, more TV revenues, and more happy fans (potentially 60,000 X 4 Playoff teams= 240,000 extra happy fans). Everyone wins.

Not to mention the fact that Wild Card teams like Seattle and this year’s Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers have proven that on any given day in the NFL, anyone can win a Playoff game (or a Super Bowl). Why not give a chance to as many quality teams (and their fans) as possible?

It seems rather foolish and antiquated for so many teams to make the Post Season in the NBA and NHL, yet the NFL allows so few teams to be rewarded for a well-played season. NFL fans deserve a few more Playoff slots available for the taking.

18 regular season games PLUS 4 new Wildcard teams equals hundreds of millions extra dollars added to the pot in extra revenues for everyone to split. Everyone wins- players get richer, owners get richer, TV networks get richer, businesses that service the NFL get richer, and fans get to watch substantially more games. There are no losers.

Most importantly with all this new revenue, it is pointless to fight in the middle of a depression. Problem solved. Strike over. That extra revenue should theoretically end the potential for a NFL Players strike in the first place.

Editor’s Note: Wayne Allyn Root is the creator and owner of www.WinningEDGE.com, one of the most popular sports handicapping web sites in the country. He is the author of “The King of Vegas’ Guide to Gambling” (Tarcher/Penguin Publishing). He is the only sports handicapper in the world with his own star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars (in front of New York New York).

35 thoughts on “Wayne Root: Ending the Threat of NFL Players’ Strike

  1. Jason Gatties

    For Wayne Root being such a gambling expert, I find it mind boggling he referred to this as a players strike, when in fact, it would be a lockout initiated by the NFL owners. In a lock out, the owners literally lock the players out. The players are not threatening to strike, the owners would be the ones costing fans the 2011 NFL season.

    The bulk of the article is correct. The wording at the beginning is not.

  2. John C Jackson

    The inaccurate use of “strike” was the first thing I noticed.

    Also, as far as I know the issue isn’t just splitting extra revenue from more games. The NFL owners want to take an extra $1 Billion off the top ( before any revenue split) and reduce the revenue split %. I don’t think the players are interested in playing more games for the same or less money. I don’t blame them, especially when the average career is so short.

  3. Sebastian Knowlton

    For once, this a sports strike where I’m actually on the player’s side, especially with the new studies in recent years which are finding out more and more about the obvious connection from head injuries to things like memory loss, dementia, alzheimer’s, depression, and suicide.

    The league just made a record profit in the worst economy since the depression. There is no need for an 18-game, 20-week season.

    Go players.

  4. IPR just keeps getting better

    I know that IPR is quickly becoming Wayne Root’s scrapbook but can we publish Phillies’ scientific articles, Barr’s legal briefs, Chuck Baldwin’s religious sermons, Kubby’s reviews of the latest marijuana strains, and so on too, just to add balance?

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL………………..

  5. Michael H. Wilson

    You may want to check out this article. The NFL is one of the biggest welfare programs going in the nation. And who benefits? It ain’t the poor.

    “Twenty-eight of the thirty-two NFL stadiums were financed with some public money, and eleven were built entirely on the dole. The NFL has enjoyed something like $10 billion in stadium subsidies in recent years. I wonder how many depleted state and city governments (Cincinnati gave the Bengals $450 million for their stadium) wish that a financial booth review could challenge the ruling on the field. As China built steel mills and high-speed rail, American cities went with skyboxes and entertainment venues that are used on about twelve days a year.”

    http://www.newgeography.com/content/002025-super-bowl-xlv-the-10-billion-bag-chips

  6. IPR just keeps getting better....and so does LP.org

    Paulie…When I said beat it…I didn’t mean in front of everyone…jeez.

    I wonder if Wayne Root’s other scrapbook, the official Libertarian Party blog, will publish this article also?

  7. Racist imbecile

    Hockey at least has enough Whites on the field to be worth watching, if you must watch sports.

  8. Bryan

    It is a lock out…and not a strike.

    The players would probably consider an expanded play-off format if it doesn’t include extra games in the regular season. (expanding the playoffs will NOT guarantee “good” games at the end of the season)

    Owners want to rake an additonal $billion$ off the top, hell, I understand why players are POed.

    The owners don’t care about the lockout because they arranged to get their tv money anyway…the only real losers will be the beer man, ticket taker, food vendor, and clean up guys.

    The NFL is Rich Man SOCIALISM…they redistribute the wealth from NY, CHI, etc…and pass it along to GB and Buffalo.

    I nearly can’t stomach pro sports in general, but at least I don’t pay for seats that don’t exist like the poor shmucks in Dallas did at the SB.

  9. paulie

    I vote that FTNFL’s comment (currently #8) be removed for tje incredibly obscene language in the poster’s “name”.

    I’ve adjusted the poster’s name to be more accurate in describing the content of the remarks.

  10. Brian

    I hate the NFL so freaking much. I would love to spend a fall without it.

    In other news, pitchers and catchers report soon…

  11. DJW

    @Michael H Wilson, #6

    Thank you for reminding us that the NFL is corporate welfare at its worst. In Arlington, TX, where the most recent Superbowl was played, the public subsidy was not limited to $300 million in taxpayer money. They also used eminent domain to seize the land for it (sorry to the baseball fans, but they used eminent domain for the Rangers stadium too).

    It’s just my opinion, but Libertarians of good conscience should be boycotting the NFL, not shilling for it.

  12. paulie

    why does football have anything to do with politics ,?

    Last time Wayne sent us a football article we argued about it on the IPR list first, and Trent said it did not belong on IPR, but Wayne disagreed. This time Bruce just went ahead and posted it, and Trent either has not noticed or has changed his mind. We once actually posted one of George Phillies’ cooking recipes as an IPR article. True story.

    screw the NFL

    I can see why you might want to, but I’d rather screw the LFL 🙂

    http://www.lflus.com/

  13. paulie

    The NFL owners want to take an extra $1 Billion off the top ( before any revenue split) and reduce the revenue split %. I don’t think the players are interested in playing more games for the same or less money. I don’t blame them, especially when the average career is so short.

    …And injury-prone:

    new studies in recent years which are finding out more and more about the obvious connection from head injuries to things like memory loss, dementia, alzheimer’s, depression, and suicide.

  14. paulie

    can we publish Phillies’ scientific articles, Barr’s legal briefs, Chuck Baldwin’s religious sermons, Kubby’s reviews of the latest marijuana strains, and so on too, just to add balance?

    I don’t know. An occasional article like that may not be so bad. I wouldn’t want it to become a frequent thing, though.

    Paulie…When I said beat it…I didn’t mean in front of everyone…jeez.

    Avert your gaze.

    I wonder if [..]the official Libertarian Party blog, will publish this article also?

    At this point, at least, they have not.

    The NFL is one of the biggest welfare programs going in the nation. And who benefits? It ain’t the poor.

    Corporate welfare for billionaires.

    the only real losers will be the beer man, ticket taker, food vendor, and clean up guys.

    They’re not “too big to fail.”

  15. Fun K. Chicken

    “why does football have anything to do with politics ,?”

    Off the top of my head:

    1. Corporate welfare
    2. Government intervention in labor-management disputes
    3. Government intervention in other aspects of sports, e.g., drug testing
    4. Symbolic aspects; football especially is often used as a metaphor for, and glorification of, military aggression.

  16. Darryl W. Perry

    As already pointed out, Root is misrepresenting a potential “lock-out” by the owners as a player’s strike.

    I could not care less whether or not the NFL (or any other professional sports league) has a player’s strike or owner’s lock-out. However, I do want all subsidies to the NFL (and every other sports league) eliminated.

  17. wolfefan

    I think that this article is helpful in assessing Mr. Root’s views and recommendations within one of his areas of expertise. As others have noted, for instance, there’s no strike proposed – if anything happens, it will be a lockout. That’s _not_ a distinction without a difference – the owners intentionally cut the existing agreement short, so the onus for the whole thing is on them. The owners get TV money whether the games are played or not. A casual fan might easily use the words interchangeably. In an article written for publication by an expert, it’s a shocking error. As others have noted, Mr. Root really needs to hire an editor/fact checker.

    In exhibition games, the starters may play a quarter or a half at most; the stars will often play just a series or two. For the starters, an exhibition game is not played all out like a regular season game. To argue that for a player there is no difference between an exhibition game and a regular season game seems ridiculous – there is a much greater level of risk (and reward) in a regular season game.

    IMO the season is long enough as it is. I hate the trend to ever-growing pro sports seasons. I liked it a lot better when baseball was a spring/summer sport, football a fall/winter sport, and basketball/hockey were winter sports. I’m just a cranky old man, though… 🙂

  18. NewFederalist

    I would like to hear what Root has to say. He pops up here frequently to defend his political writings. It would be nice for him to respond to some excellent criticisms.

  19. paulie

    @24 The colleges make a lot of money off these players, yet paying them is criminalized (but goes on all the time anyway). Professors, lecturers and graduate assistants often get pressured into passing players who don’t really make the effort academically. Many/most do not finish college, although few make it to the NFL and fewer still have a successful career there.

    For every football star, there are many more players who end up without a college degree, without any significant savings and with debilitating injuries for the rest of their lives.

    On the other hand, some of them would not be getting into college at all otherwise, so it cuts both ways.

  20. Rocky Eades

    I would take issue with those who accuse Root of being sloppy in his use of the term “players’ strike” rather than the more accurate term “owners’ lockout”. It would seem to be entirely consistent with Root’s prejudice against unions to blame the workers for any stoppage that may occur in the upcoming season.

  21. Daniel Wiener

    Libertarians are obviously opposed to stadium subsidies and eminent domain and other government dispensations given to the NFL. But nobody is mentioning the problem underlying the strife between owners and players: anti-trust laws and coercive unionization laws.

    Anti-trust laws are preventing the NFL owners from setting their own work rules and employment conditions on a uniform league-wide basis. The only way for them to accomplish that even in part is for them to reach a collective bargaining agreement with a certified union.

    In a true free-market economy, the NFL could set wage scales and contract conditions, and distribute revenue among the teams however they chose. If existing players didn’t like those terms, there’d be lots of other players happy to take their place.

    Conversely, if the NFL didn’t pay reasonable wages, the top players (who attract the fans) would refuse to sign contracts. Soon there would be upstart competitive football leagues who’d siphon off those marquee players (and their fans) while creating expanded opportunities for the less-talented players.

    Or maybe the NFL and its players would be smart and come to a win-win solution, so as not to fritter away their “first-mover” advantage to such upstarts. All of the posturing we’re now observing is effectively an effort to maneuver around the regulatory obstacles which hinder the normal smooth operation of market forces.

    I certainly hope the NFL and the players find a way to negotiate these obstacles. While there’s a slight consolation in knowing that the Green Bay Packers could remain Superbowl champions indefinitely until a new CBA allows football to resume, I’d much prefer that the 2011 season begin on schedule so the Packers can quickly win a second consecutive Superbowl.

  22. paulie

    Libertarians are obviously opposed to stadium subsidies and eminent domain and other government dispensations given to the NFL. But nobody is mentioning the problem underlying the strife between owners and players: anti-trust laws and coercive unionization laws.

    Anti-trust laws are preventing the NFL owners from setting their own work rules and employment conditions on a uniform league-wide basis. The only way for them to accomplish that even in part is for them to reach a collective bargaining agreement with a certified union.

    In a true free-market economy, the NFL could set wage scales and contract conditions, and distribute revenue among the teams however they chose. If existing players didn’t like those terms, there’d be lots of other players happy to take their place.

    Conversely, if the NFL didn’t pay reasonable wages, the top players (who attract the fans) would refuse to sign contracts. Soon there would be upstart competitive football leagues who’d siphon off those marquee players (and their fans) while creating expanded opportunities for the less-talented players.

    Or maybe the NFL and its players would be smart and come to a win-win solution, so as not to fritter away their “first-mover” advantage to such upstarts. All of the posturing we’re now observing is effectively an effort to maneuver around the regulatory obstacles which hinder the normal smooth operation of market forces.

    Good points, I agree. Thanks!

  23. Bryan

    Free Markets are a good thing. But they should cut both ways.

    Before the anti-trust rulings which led to free agency, baseball had the “reserve clause” in contracts effectively tying a player to the team owning his contract for his entire career.

    By the CBA, the NFL has been able to retain (in a general way) some of this. There is the 6 year rule for free agency. Doesn’t sound bad until you consider the average career is only 4-5 years.

    A true free market would allow a player to sign a 3 year deal, and in year 4 contract with any team of his chosing. This is not the way it works, and until the anti-trust ruling it didn’t work.

    TV revenue distribution is an idea the NFL “stole” from the American Football League. When they started in 1960 the AFL knew that TV money would be the major source of revenue, and to keep the league strong from top to bottom, shared TV money equally.

    A free market can’t exist without competition. Juries and courts have found that the NFL is a monopoly, and this is what anti-trust laws were put in place to defend against.

  24. George Phillies

    Inserting a moment of humor:

    Of course, with enough backing there is an alternative that has no antitrust problems.

    The Phillies Football Corporation provides football entertainment. We have *one* corporation and operate teams in attractive locations. If you are a player, you sign a contract with the corporation, all income everywhere goes to the corporation, there are no issues with owners outbidding each other because there is only one owner, and, by the way, we play our games the day those other guys don’t. That Saturdays well after shopping, backed by Friday Night Football.

    Millions of suckers, ahh, taxpayers, are going to be delighted to learn that their municipal stadia have another set of potential renters, if their city governments can fix the contracts appropriately. (And, of course, since there is an economic development opportunity here, they can always use eminent domain to seize their own stadia if their current contracts interfere, incidentally providing employment for hundreds of starving lawyers.)

    Why do I think there’s an audience, not to mention the Summer audience, same place, for Field Basketball (a real game, little played in the last century)? It’s touch football. And it’s played by the cheerleaders, with knee and elbow pads and good helmets, not by guys in armor plate. Uniform design has already been solved, thanks to the beach volleyball folks.

    Anyone who takes the above entirely seriously (except the possibility of making field volleyball a sport again) needs their humor detector fixed.

  25. Porn Again Christian

    LFL > NFL

    Not so many spoiled, steroid-and-growth hormone- addicted millionaires and more enjoyable to watch for obvious reasons.

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