The Business of Football

We as fans get caught up in the excitement of and passion for the game of football, especially the NFL.  To those who we watch on Sundays, football is a serious business.  From agents to allegations, CBA's and trades, what happens on Sundays is only a small part of it all. 

The NFL owners and players are on a collision course for labor unrest.

One brave agent has spilled the beans on the seedy side of signing players.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Bears players are set to vote on whether to decertify as a union.  What does that mean?

If there were no union, the NFL could not negotiate a salary cap, compensation, benefits and other things that are under the umbrella of the CBA because it would then be in violation of antitrust laws. The 32 teams currently can operate exempt from such antitrust laws.

This move could block a lockout and keep the NFL going next year.  It's a lot more complicated than that, but both sides are digging in and preparing for a long fight, which may lead to a lot of court time.

Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post regularly discusses these ongoing negotiations and any new developments.  You can read two good articles explaining the decertification of the union as a strategy here and here.

The other big news in the world of football is Greg Dohrmann's Sports Illustrated article about  NFL agent Josh Luchs'sordid past and seedy dealings with many, many, many college and pro football players.  This article is simply a must read for everyone. 

People should know how the agent business really works, how widespread the inducements to players are and how players have their hands out. It isn't just the big, bad agents making them take money. People think the NFLPA is monitoring agents, but it is mostly powerless. People should also be aware of all that an agent does for his clients. Catering to their needs can be an all-consuming job.

We all speculate just how shady the agent/athlete relationships are, but Josh Luchs spills the beans on everything.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Turn on the lights and watch the cockroaches scatter.  If we all want a clean, honest game, more needs to come out.  (We can start by paying these kids over the table, instead of under it, but that's just my opinion.)

I love the NFL and I love the Bears.  I hope the owners and players can reach an agreement.  I hope more agents get exposed.  I hope there's football in 2011.  I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams... I hope.

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