It is important to give credit when it is due. As a Cincinnati Bengals fan, it is no secret that Mike Brown is looked at as the enemy. He is the main reason the Bengals have had only two winning seasons in 20 tries and fail to make competent decisions as an organization. However, Mike Brown is not an idiot. He may know almost nothing about football, but the guy is a good business man. Maybe, if he were allowed some professional consideration among the other owners of the NFL, we would not be facing a lockout for next season.
Take a trip with me back to 2006, when the NFL was again faced with some tough labor negotiations. There were threats of a lockout, considerations about uncapped years and threats to sit out or strike. Hastily the Owners agreed (well almost agreed) on a deal that would solve the labor issues until 2011.
“It was a banner day in the NFL…” John Clayton exclaimed. He also went on to rip Ralph Wilson (owner of the Buffalo Bills) and Mike Brown for being the only two dissenters in the vote.
Fellow sports columnists ripped Wilson and Brown all over the media for being cheap and ancient in their thinking. The players union celebrated the deal calling it historic and loved how the revenue had swung in their favor. All was right in the NFL world and Mike Brown and Ralph Wilson were the enemy.
Slowly, as the season went on. Owners began to become disgruntled with the deal. They were angry about the revenue distribution and were tired of an advantage going to the players. Recently (the past couple seasons) deals were made that would allow the owners to take a hard stance when the CBA ended to swing the deal back into their favor. At the very least, make it a more even deal. The problem is, the players have grown happy with their deal. They were accustomed to the situation that their revenue had entitled them. They still want to keep the same deal in place. That should tell you all you need to know about who the deal favors.
I have talked a few times about the new agreement and how ultimately it is the fan that will be screwed. Players will make their millions and owners will make their millions and it is still going to cost a small fortune to take a family to a Bengals game. However, I am on Mike Browns side in this deal (and probably this deal alone).
The truth is, if Mike Brown and Ralph Wilson had been listened to in 2006, the pain of this negotiation would be nonexistent. You can’t give candy to a child every day and all of the sudden wonder why they want their daily candy. The players want to continue getting their money. Sure, they will tell you sob stories about pensions and post playing injuries, but really, they want their cash.
To sum it up, and probably over simplify. The league is in the terrible position it is in right now, because they did not listen to Mike Brown. Did you ever think you would read those words?