On Tuesday a few SB Nation bloggers talked with reps from the NFL Player's Association, including Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, learning more about their message, which has become particularly important (and public) as the clock continues to tick on the current labor agreement.
One of the biggest "myths" the NFLPA talked about was that the players received 60% of the total revenue. The 60% number is the one you hear most often thrown about as the players' piece of the total pie.
Not so fast on that, the union says.
The NFL is a $9 billion a year business and nearly everyone cites the players portion of that as 60%. The NFLPA added a little clarification to that, which a spokesman called one of the biggest issues they face.
Yes, the NFL brings in $9 billion in total revenue. However, the league gets $1 billion shaved off the top of that and the players get 60% of the remaining $8 billion -- not $9 billion. If you use the actual total revenue, according to the NFLPA, the players portion is closer to 50%, which is a sizable difference when you're talking billions.
Meanwhile, Executive Director DeMaurice Smith went on to tell us there are two key ways to measure the success of the NFL -- assets and profits.
As far as assets, the NFL has grown by 500% in the last 15 years. Several NFLPA employees have tried to find businesses that have had similar growth but haven't been able to do so, they say, which is a mark of how successful the league has been. No one's denying the incredible success of the league and the record breaking revenues it brings in each year. In fact, the Packers, the NFL's only team that publicly reports it's financials, posted record-breaking revenue numbers this year.
The other side of measuring success, profits, isn't available to the NFLPA (other than the Packers, the smallest market). They have repeatedly asked the NFL to "open its books" to which the NFL has repeatedly declined. The NFLPA's stance on this is that they "can't negotiate blindly" and need to know what they're negotiating against. The NFL obviously feels there is a problem with the current system, which is why they opted out of it, but will not provide the NFLPA with information they say they need.
It is important to note that every other CBA has been completed without the NFL opening its books. To this, Smith says, "That doesn't make it right."
Smith wouldn't directly answer questions as to whether the NFL opening it's books would be contingent on getting a deal done but strongly believed that was the best route to take.
Smith said he was "optimistic" a deal could get done because the fans and the players want to get something done. You can read more about what Smith had to say on the prospects of football in 2011 at SB Nation's Hogs Haven.