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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
    Phil McConkey
    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
    Jerry Jones
    NFL Draft Expert, has published the acclaimed Drugstore List since 1978.
    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
    Andy Freeland
    Statistician and researcher for NBC's Sunday Night Football.
  • Robert Kraft: We Need You!

    As you can probably tell by my comments over the last few days, I am genuinely worried about the game that has changed my life. Yes, it gave me financial security, but it also gave me an identity. I love the fact that I played in the NFL. The best friends I have ever known have been associated with the game. The greatness of the game and its role in our society is significant. We are devoted fans who love the game. So why do we all feel so insignificant watching this money grab? Maybe we are, but it sure doesn't make me want to put on a Bengals' jersey and paint my face. I'm starting to feel a little silly that I feel as strongly as I do about a game that is suddenly all about the money.

    Instead of sitting back and doing nothing, I am trying to push the two sides with the fans as my lever. I read a quote from Robert Kraft in the Boston Globe that made me believe that at least somebody has a feel for the fans. Mr. Kraft wrote, "The problem can be solved. I really believe that. One of my concerns is we not aggravate our fan base, because they don’t understand and they don’t want to understand whether it’s the owners, the players [at fault], they just want to have football.
    “We have to be very careful — and I think we’re coming to that point now — where we start to hurt ourselves collectively in the eyes of our fans. Because in the end, the fans just want football. They don’t want to hear about all of this meaningless squabbling."

    Amen Mr. Kraft. Now is when we need rational men like Robert Kraft to step forward. Mr. Kraft was a fan long before he became an owner. He is a terrific family man who can see the same view of this process that we are all watching. Please Mr. Kraft take the lead. There are other owners who will be pushing various agendas, but as a player, I would trust Robert Kraft to make a fair deal. I really would. So far Mr. Kraft has not been willing to take the lead, probably because the Hawks always get the most attention. But Kraft is liked and respected by almost everyone in the NFL. He is tough but fair. The players would listen to him. Tom Brady could be the point man. Lawyers be gone. There is a deal to be made, and the time is now. Please Mr. Kraft, take the lead.

    Comments 36 Comments
    1. samartin's Avatar
      Amen Cris

      I've said all along... the Lawyers are the only ones winning here. Be done with them and get the right people in the room to get a deal done. Kraft is the right start for the NFL side. Problem is NFLPA's head negotiator is a lawyer ( which I thought was a problem the minute the players announced Mr. Smith's name.
    1. Swami's Avatar
      The time just may be now, Cris. Something about this issue is draining my passion for the game. Normally, my interest is quite high in the off-season. Not so this year.

      I don't overreact and realize that things can change, but it is clear that the negative ramifications are starting to kick in.

      On an unrelated note, after much consideration, I believe you would be more likely to replicate Adam Carolla's experience on Dancing With the Stars than that of Hines Ward! So, stay away, my friend!
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      It is nice what he said, but I just do not think that anyone with money involved in this game can really come up with a fair deal. I think the public figures involved and the fact that we are even to the point we are now at this particular time of great prosperity proves this.

      It takes a gifted 8 year old with common sense who has never seen football to come up with a truly fair deal. Not gonna happen. It other words, the kid in darvon's picture could do this. (I have no idea who is in the picture, but I thought it while writing this, anyway...)

      For instance:

      "Players are getting hurt during their career and then cannot afford the health insurance needed to sustain the rest of their lives. These are the guys who made the league what it is."

      8 year-old: "That's nuts! Players are covered for life with all pre-existing conditions proven by medical history during their career."

      Or:

      "The Owners make a ton of money and all teams have some profit. They constantly bilk their cities and hold them hostage if they don't get what they want."

      8 year-old: "That's nuts! The value of the team has intrinsic value to the city it is in, so the team and city must go 50/50 on new stadiums and the owners can pay their own mortgages like everyone else."

      Those examples are hypothetical, of course.
    1. Ripperlicious's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by samartin View Post
      Amen Cris

      I've said all along... the Lawyers are the only ones winning here. Be done with them and get the right people in the room to get a deal done. Kraft is the right start for the NFL side. Problem is NFLPA's head negotiator is a lawyer ( which I thought was a problem the minute the players announced Mr. Smith's name.
      Yo, Jeff Pash is the NFL's lead negotiator, and he too is a well-skilled attorney. I'm sure Pash would've preferred if the NFLPA would've hired a non-skilled attorney to negotiate the new terms of the new CBA, but I guess the players didn't want to go that route.

      There's no doubt in my mind Bob Kraft and the other owners are concerned about public relations, considering the public is what makes their franchises so profitable. I've never met him and I'll take Cris' word that he is a well-liked family man indeed.

      All I do know is that Bob Kraft OK'd the 2006 CBA, and he OK'd the opt out of it. What else really could Bob Kraft say to his fanbase? That he agreed to STOP football so his side could get more money? Of course not. To me, quotes on TV or in print are window dressing. That goes for both sides of the aisle.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      I started idealistic, and have gone into a cynical downward spiral. I though the players were interested in getting better labor conditions, but it's all about more money, now. Which is fine, but lost my interest a long time ago.

      I hope both sides recognize that fans won't care whose fault it is when they miss the great slew of games setup for Week 1. At that point, they'll be pissed at everybody. Right now, I think it's just a small subset of fans that are really into the minutiae of the lockout.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Swami View Post
      The time just may be now, Cris. Something about this issue is draining my passion for the game. Normally, my interest is quite high in the off-season. Not so this year.

      I don't overreact and realize that things can change, but it is clear that the negative ramifications are starting to kick in.

      On an unrelated note, after much consideration, I believe you would be more likely to replicate Adam Carolla's experience on Dancing With the Stars than that of Hines Ward! So, stay away, my friend!
      Did my kids video of me playing that dance video game get out? Legendary already.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      I started idealistic, and have gone into a cynical downward spiral. I though the players were interested in getting better labor conditions, but it's all about more money, now. Which is fine, but lost my interest a long time ago.

      I hope both sides recognize that fans won't care whose fault it is when they miss the great slew of games setup for Week 1. At that point, they'll be pissed at everybody. Right now, I think it's just a small subset of fans that are really into the minutiae of the lockout.
      Missing the 9-11 games will not be soon forgotten if it happens. The owners seem to have their swagger back and that is not necessarily a good thing. I cannot find a deadline to force negotiations other than opening day. Not good.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      I do think Kraft is a big fan of the game not just a fan of the $$$$ like some of the owners. I also think he is as astute as any owner in the NFL from a public relations standpoint. The fact that he put his thoughts out to the media whether pr based or not is significant. But like every owner, during the course of his business career, he has had to step on and squash a lot of people in his path to big business success. When push comes to shove, if the owners feel the deal is not satisfactory, they will have no qualms about crushing the players and starting over again if that is what it takes to get their business model back in line from their vantagepoint. The big difference is, this time it will be on a huge public stage for everyone to see. The reaction and backlash form the fans could be very damaging.
    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      After that last court ruling on the lockout,it was near the straw that broke the camel's back. As a fan, I'm just getting more disenfranchised by the whole deal.I've already stopped going to any league owned or operated website as a forum of protest& definitely will not be spending any money on any memorabilia/merchandise of my favorite team anytime soon.

      Swami made a great point in another post:
      In today's world, there really are infinite options for our entertainment attention
      The Longer this draws out, the easier it will be for even hardcore fans like us to divert their attention elsewhere&it's not like there wouldn't be good football somewhere ( ie College Football & UFL would be crazy not to take advantage of situation) so there is always that.
    1. StaggerMcTipsy's Avatar
      Listen, I am a HUGE NFL football fan. I take vacation time off from work every year to watch the draft, for crying out loud! But I'm getting so sick of this whole farce I'm almost to the point of hoping we lose a whole NFL season, if only so the owners can see a huge monetary loss while their stadiums sit vacant and the players learn an important lesson in finance budgeting.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      To all pros herein,

      Back in 87, how many games were you prepared to miss?

      Why do we think today's players are not prepared to do the same?

      This, in a whacky way, is just a league-controlled strike, with no scabs and no crossing the picket line.

      So without scabs and crossing, how many games would 87 lasted?
    1. Jerry Jones's Avatar
      Mr. Kraft is recognizing what any business owner quickly learns.
      Business is a interdependent connection of:
      (1) Owner
      (2) Employees
      (3) Customers
      Take away the last group and the business perishes.
    1. msclemons's Avatar









    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      Win Clem.. pure Win lol
    1. Jerry Jones's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lapham View Post
      I do think Kraft is a big fan of the game not just a fan of the $$$$ like some of the owners. I also think he is as astute as any owner in the NFL from a public relations standpoint. The fact that he put his thoughts out to the media whether pr based or not is significant. But like every owner, during the course of his business career, he has had to step on and squash a lot of people in his path to big business success. When push comes to shove, if the owners feel the deal is not satisfactory, they will have no qualms about crushing the players and starting over again if that is what it takes to get their business model back in line from their vantagepoint. The big difference is, this time it will be on a huge public stage for everyone to see. The reaction and backlash form the fans could be very damaging.
      Dave,
      Good points but does anyone know what the ideal business model is for this business?
      How much or little is an owner allowed to make on his investment?
      What is a fair salary for a player? Should there be a limit?
      Should higher-paid players take a salary cut so that low-salaried players can earn more?
      What about player pensions and health benefits for both active and retired players?
      How about the money coming from TV and other media income, attendance and concession sales, NFL clothes and equipment, etc. or the money going out for stadium operation, staff salaries, advertising, etc.?
      The list could go on for pages.

      I think you have it nailed on the business model thing. It is the answer to any sound business operation but a question remains.
      Is there a business model for a professional football league that would be fair to all involved?
    1. StarvinMarvin's Avatar
      Both the players and owners and interested 3rd and 4th parties better get their heads out of their butts and realize there are truths in life that will apply to them shortly. No one is indispensible, nothing is guarenteed, nothing lasts forever, and life ain't fair.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      commissioner- an official chosen by an athletic association to exercise broad administrative or judicial authority:

      I understand that the commissioner is elected by the owners, making it difficult to bite the hand that feeds. But...

      Isn't the commissioner hired as a trusted mediator? The commissioner has the authority to levee fines/penalties among players, referees, owners, franchises, etc. A commissioner's role is to do whatever is in the best interest of the sport.

      The best interest of the sport right now is that the commissioner needs to be working hard to help find a middle ground. Yet, it appears that the commissioner is simply a glorified mouthpiece for the owners.

      I understand that this is always how it has been, but to me, why is Bob Kraft the voice of reason in the first place. I understand that he, or Bob Irsay, and a few players could sit down, and hash this thing out over lunch, but clearly that is not realistic.

      At some point, and now would be good, Roger Goodell needs to take charge, which is his role, get rid of the rhetoric, and get this thing done. If he takes the middle ground, no-friends approach that the role of the commissioner is defined to be, then maybe we'd actually be able to see some football on time this year.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Clem, that was priceless. Thx for the chuckles.

      ... and eff the NFL! I'm kinda digging the free time.
    1. dario's Avatar
      Surely Mr. Kraft knows how to maintain high his fans...
      I heard also some players tell the same things.... So the question is: if there are some owners like Kraft and some players like those i heard why they couldn't reach an agreement?
      I'm start thinking all of those words by owners, Kraft and also by Godell are simply an awful try to calm down fans, but in the real world they're only thinking about each other's interest...
      I don't know. In a perfect world i'd trust him, but the actual NFL isn't a perfect world...
    1. Swami's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by brauneyz View Post
      Clem, that was priceless. Thx for the chuckles.

      ... and eff the NFL! I'm kinda digging the free time.
      Brauneyz' sign-off should terrify the owners.