There will not be an NFL season next year. Or at least, we won’t have training camp, which seems like it’s a sure thing at this point. While I am not an economical analyst or a legal expert who will tell you that the NFLPA will decertify and how the owners are financially stable, I am simply an avid sports fan, who at this current time is on the outside looking in. Here are some of the issues that I see at hand in today’s game:
The growing problem of large contracts is one that each of the big four sports have to deal with. But now it is especially highlighted in the NFL. Now that the collective bargaining agreement has come to a virtual standoff between Demaurice Smith and Roger Goodell, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is the fact that rookies are looking for more and more guaranteed money in their initial deals. Look at the Oakland Raiders for example. They drafted JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick in the 2007 draft and after a lengthy holdout, gave him a 61 million dollar deal, 32 of which was guaranteed. Now, four years later, Russell is a free agent looking to make a team for a second or third string gig. Owners obviously want this trend to stop, meanwhile the players will take all the guaranteed money they can get.
There is another point I want to make. Don’t place all the blame on Smith or Goodell, they simply are representing the people of their respected unions. Instead, blame the sports agents. Blame Scott Boras. I hate to credit him with anything, but he is destroying sports for the average fan. Look, I understand it is a business, and players need money, and if they get paid a lot, you get paid a lot. But honestly, and I hate to use an overused cliché, but sports are just a game, and the players who play in the NFL should be grateful that they are fortunate enough that they get to play it for a living. Instead, we have players who no longer play for the love of the game, the play for the benefit of the game. Who instilled this kind of belief in the player you may ask? Scott Boras and other agents. They have transformed a game into nothing more than a greed corporation filled with greedy players.
People are saying that this is the golden age of football, and that the game has never been better or more popular. This is utterly false. The NFL may have more fans in general, but quantity should not define a golden age, quality should. Can we honestly say that the NFL is better today than it was in 1985? We don’t have a team with the clean style of charisma that the Chicago Bears had back than in today’s game. No, we have Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco/Johnson/Whoreallycares. The NFL today is so individualistic it’s sickening. Football is the ultimate team sport, isn’t it time the players begin to realize that and start going back to being apart of their team? It’s not a coincidence that some of the top teams this year (Green Bay, Chicago, Pittsburgh) are teams who don’t have any players with a loud mouth. You didn’t see the Steelers trash talking the Jets, or the Packers taunting the Bears. And look at who was watching the playoffs from the couch– the Cincinnati Bengals. Good, you want all the attention on you and your TV show, that’s what they get.
The NFL needs to return to its golden past. Back to the Steel Curtain, the undefeated Miami Dolphins, even the more recent San Fransisco 49ers. With so many new fans watching, how sad would it be if the game we all love disappeared for a year. But than again, maybe that’s what it needs to knock down all the egos that the league has.
That includes you, Scott Boras.