The League

Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

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

Wasted Money Is Funny, But Not When It's Ours

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The NFL is going in front of the Supreme Court to discuss, in essence, if they will be considered a single-entity organization. In other words, anti-trust exempt. The decision would be a huge coup for the league, ostensibly enabling them to do whatever they wanted, sign whatever apparel and licensing contracts they wanted and move whatever teams to whatever cities they wanted.

A question we posed while discussing this on our show early this week is can something become more omnipotent than it already is? If so, that's where the NFL is headed.

But ProFootballTalk.com brought up an interesting point as well, The NFL already won a ruling allowing them to license apparel exclusively through Reebok. The fact that the case is going in front of the Supreme Court may not be a good thing for the NFL, because if ruling is overturned by the court, the owners of some of the top squads may be able to use that as leverage to broker their own deals.

In essence (and yes this is confusing) if the Supreme Court rules against the NFL, then the league cannot have exclusive licensing deals with just one vender - in this case Reebok - without allowing others a shot at some of the business. But bigger than one licensing deal would be the fact that the Supreme Court would be ruling against anti-trust exemption for the NFL, and thus would not view the league as a single-entity organization. Therefore, and this is the most important part, each owner is in fact an independent business owner and would be free to negotiate deals on their own, rather than agree to the deals signed by the league.

In other words, the rich get richer.

But will the rich get better? It doesn't seem to be the case. With a salary cap, there is only so much money a team can spend. Teams like the Patriots and Eagles have managed to spend wisely, locking young players up early and signing veterans to plug into key roles at below market deals. And most importantly, they've been able to win.

People get teased in the NFL. It's so easy to turn your team around from one year to the next that coaches and GMs are constantly in fear of losing their jobs if they have back-to-back losing seasons. Heck, in Denver Josh McDaniels hasn't even coached a game and because of some of the decisions he's made this off-season, including trading Jay Cutler, people are saying that he might only get one year to succeed. One year. That's all he'll get to prove he can win in this league.

And that's why some owners spend spend spend spend spend to win now. It's about this year in the NFL. If a player isn't cutting it, he'll get cut. Players are just cap space, and if ownership can manage the roster properly, more money can go to players who are active on the roster and less can go to those who were cut. It's all about the balance.

It seems some owners don't really care about that. Dead money is just money. And they want to win, no matter how much money it costs. So for now, it's fun to watch the Dan Snyders and Jerry Joneses of the football world spend, spend, spend to try and make a winner out of their teams. It's not our money, right?

Oh...wait. It is our money. And soon, if the top owners get their way, it could mean even more of it.

By Dan Levy  |  July 3, 2009; 4:21 PM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Dan Levy , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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