The NFL is not immune from the economic downturn that is affecting all of us. In December, the league laid-off 150 employees. In March, the NFL allowed teams to opt out of the NFL’s pension plan. The most profitable league in the world dropped its defined pension plan in a cost cutting measure. The move affects secretaries, video techs, trainers, and most importantly assistant coaches.
The NFL announced the move after all of the coaches had signed their 2009 contracts. Many assistant coaches are upset they were not informed about this before they signed their contracts. One, Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd, decided to retire because of the changes to the pension plan. Could the loss of their pensions lead many coaches to find their way back to the college ranks after the 2009 season or to formalize a union?
In 1998 the coaches formed the NFL Coaches Association. It is not a union but it does represent the interest of coaches and works as an umbrella organization of the NFLPA. DeMaurice Smith, the new executive director of the NFLPA has talked about unionizing the coaches. He envisions presenting the coaches and players as a unified group when negotiating a new CBA.
Larry Kennan, staff director of the Coaches Association stated he has never seen the coaches so mad. It will be interesting to see how this plays out during the 2009 season and after the Super Bowl. If the coaches form a union and join the players to strengthen both of their positions at the bargaining table, we may be in for a long lockout if the owners truly want to keep more of the NFL’s growing revenue.
Speaking of Smith, he was at the NFL’s meeting in Florida on Tuesday. The owners invited him to the meeting to get to know them and have informal talks. I hope the day of getting to know you meetings got things started on a positive note. I would think the billionaire owners and millionaire players/coaches and their representatives could figure out a way to divide the $7.5 billion the NFL generates. I pray they are smart enough to look at the lockouts/strikes of MLB in 94/95 and the NHL in 2004. Neither side got everything they wanted and the fans were the real losers in both.
The news of the NFL’s contract extensions with CBS and Fox is a good news/bad news thing. The Good: we know exactly where we can find our favorite teams for the next five years. The contracts give the NFL a 1-2% increase over their current deals. The Bad: the NFL gets paid even if they lockout the players out for the 2011 season. Like I said, if common sense doesn’t prevail, we could be in for a year without football. We’ve got a lot of time before it gets to that but these things always seem to go down to the wire. No one wants to look like they caved and didn’t get the best deal for their side.
Onto a little Ravens talk. Glad to see everything I read and hear about Michael Oher is positive. He is taking the job seriously and doesn’t seem to have those “Learning Issues” that allowed him to drop in the draft. The real challenge will come when they put the pads on. Nice article about Cedric Peerman in the Sun. I thought he was a steal in the 6th round. I could see us using him along with Rice and McClain as a three headed monster at tailback in 2010 and beyond.