The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

There's no "$" in "team"


Daniel Snyder should own an NBA team.

That way he can fire up his plane at midnight on July 1, fly in LeBron James or whomever, and sign him to a maximum contract. It actually would make a difference in a sport where one player can turn around a team rather than a sport where 53 players must interact as one and where individuality and showboating has been legislated out of the game.

OK, let's get serious.

Whatever the new system when a contract agreement between NFL owners and players is finally reached, there will never be a circus like the one over LeBron and other superstar free agents simply because one man can not win a championship. Peyton Manning has been in the NFL for a dozen seasons, has won one Super Bowl ring and has reached the title game only one other time -- in part because his contract takes up so much salary cap space that the supporting cast is lacking, like, for example, an offensive line to protect the star QB.

That's the thing about football.

For every star quarterback in the NFL, plenty of teams win Super Bowls with average QBs or less. Think Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Jeff Hostetler, all Super Bowl starters on teams that won with defense. And defense is a group of players who mesh as a unit even if they have (in the case of Dilfer and Hostetler, a superstar like a Ray Lewis or a Lawrence Taylor.

So there will never be a frenzy in the NFL like the one James is stirring up in the NBA right now. That's why Snyder would fit -- he thought Albert Hayneworth was that superstar, he signed him, and a year later, Haynesworth wants out of town and Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen would be glad to see him go.

Actually, I might be wrong.

The media has changed so much that maybe an ESPN can stir up a frenzy over a free agent.

But for years, the rule has generally been that the best of the quarterbacks -- both Mannings, Tom Brady, et. al. -- have been signed long before their contracts come due. Moreover, depending on the new contract, only part of the money is guaranteed, not the full contract, so it's easier for teams to dump the stars they have. (See Michael Vick or Ben Roethlisberger if he misbehaves again).

So no, the game isn't made for it. Nor is baseball, although someone like Albert Pujols on the market would stir up a lot of noise. But baseball is also a team game -- Pujols with no pitchers doesn't win anything.

With the World Cup in the final stages, think also of soccer. Stars in that sport go from team to team and league to league, primarily in four different countries: Spain, England, Germany and Italy, then fizzle out and then go on to another league at a huge price.

Team game. That's why it's called "football.''

By Dave Goldberg  |  July 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Collective Bargaining Agreement , Dave Goldberg , Free Agency , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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