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Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Cuts Start at the Top


It seems a noble gesture that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to take a cut in pay for next season and freeze his salary until the nation -- and his league -- can dig out from this wintry economic climate.

It's the least he can do after announcing that 150 jobs will be eliminated throughout the NFL offices, including many at NFL Films. If every one of those 150 employees was averaging $75,000 in annual pay, the NFL will save $11,250,000 next year.

Roger Goodell makes $11 million per year.

Now, those number aren't necessarily fair to Goodell. Some of the rumored cuts at NFL Films included Steve Sabol, who undoubtedly is making much more than $75,000. But the general point is that the commissioner of the NFL makes more than 100 times a person making six figures, which last I checked, is still a pretty darn good living.

But just because the Commissioner is taking a pay cut does not mean the players should offer to take a cut as well. Money in the NFL isn't real. Players get signing bonuses, but the rest of the contract is earned by showing up and performing. If players don't perform, they are cut. And while there is a protective measure in place in the form of a "cap hit" for teams, the jettisoned players don't see any of that money.

Therefore, NFL players should get as much as they can as quickly as they can. It's not their fault the owners pay them as much as they do. It's the owners'.

If the players took a voluntary pay cut, where would that money go? Lining the pockets of the owners' gold-plated pants, that's where. Cuts need to start at the top.

This season, the estimated salary cap will be $123 million dollars (that's almost a DOZEN commissioners! I hope he doesn't mind playing both ways.) In 2010, with the uncapped year staring us right in the face, the NFL will be like MLB on steroids. I might be able to get a one-year deal for five or six million in an uncapped year. I've got a pretty strong leg.

For 2009, with a salary cap of $123 million, there is a potential for $3.936 billion spent on NFL players. Just on player salaries! Imagine how much money the owners are taking in if they have agreed to spend that much money (note: I know not all teams spend right up to the cap).

Think about the different forms of revenue an owner in the NFL has at his disposal -- TV revenue, radio advertising, merchandising, ticket sales, concessions, parking, stadium-concourse pickpocketing, seat licensing.

According to Forbes, the Washington Redskins are worth 1.5 billion dollars (think of the Goodells that could buy!) The average ticket price was $79 dollars in 2007. What if the average ticket price was just five percent less? It would save fans nearly three million dollars a season.

What if the parking was lowered by five percent as well? And the concessions? And the jerseys and hats and beer cozies too?

What if the owners gave their fans a little stimulus package of their own? Save us five percent on everything we consume with your logo on it. Then, to cover the costs, lower your payroll by five percent. The Redskins would save more than seven million dollars per year, just on the field. That's not including coaches, player personnel and general managers/radio hosts.

And that's just one team. If every team rolled back prices and saved an average of just three million dollars per fanbase (teams make more than that in hot dogs alone), it would save NFL fans $96 million dollars this year. Back in our pockets.

Hey NFL owners, think of the publicity that could buy.

By Dan Levy  |  February 16, 2009; 9:16 AM ET  | Category:  Dan Levy , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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