Monday, December 07, 2009

An Insightful Q&A With an NFLPA Exec

Over at the Freakanomics blog, they had a Q&A session with George Atallah, the assistant executive director of external relations with the NFLPA. It's a good read, though there are some boneheaded questions that he has to address. But there are a lot of good ones, and he answers them forthrightly. As we've said before, the NFLPA seems to have a good handle on what the ownership is going to do, and they are doing everything they can to get out ahead of it, and let people know that if the NFL fucks up their model, it won't be the player's fault.

Key Question and Answer: (I'm unsure why every single abbreviation has periods in it). Don't forget to go read the rest.

Q: In the following Economist article, the author shows a graph of players’ salary growth by professional league from 1990.

It’s striking that N.F.L. players have had lower salary growth than the M.L.B. and N.H.L., as the N.F.L. has become the most profitable league and gained more “sports related” market share than any other league in that time period.

The article implies that this is due to the weakness of the union (because football players have shorter careers than other athletes on average), but is it possible that the N.F.L.P.A. and players have had the foresight to participate in revenue sharing and salary caps to support growth of the league as a whole? It would be a remarkable example of win-win thinking, if true. —vimspot


The timing of this article is fascinating because it falls in the same year (2006) that the current collective bargaining agreement was extended. Then, in May of 2008 — a short two years after — the owners opted out. I still can’t understand why such a win-win scenario would ever be jeopardized.Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw took their licks, but it’s hard to argue with more than two decades of labor peace and unprecedented growth. The N.F.L. is America’s sport. Forty million people watched the N.F.L. draft in April, more than the M.L.B. and N.B.A. playoffs combined. Look at this year’s television ratings.


Andrew Wice said...

More people watched the NFL draft than MLB & NBA playoffs combined?

I would like some verification, please.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

there's some inherent difficulty in comparing the two things, as one is a day-long, check-in and check-out event, while even the finals of either sport are spread out over a couple of weeks.

I think he's comparing the one-time numbers from the draft vs., as an example, The two deciding games of last year's playoffs.

And if that's the metric, then yes, the NFL Draft crushed it.