91 winters have passed since a collection of over sized adolescent-like men, dreamers, schemers, mercenaries and characters came together to father the modern game of professional football. What was once a curiosity that few took seriously, has become an industry worth 100’s of billions of dollars and has inculcated itself as a major American institution. Whereas Curly Lambeau paid $50.00 to enter a team and probably did not have much more than that amount to his name, today’s owners are some of the richest men on earth. Entrance into this most exclusive club starts around 1 billion dollars and goes up from there. And make no mistake; the contemporary owner is but a distasteful shadow of his forbearers with little sense of community or honor.
The owners argue that the economic impact of this Great Recession compels them to take a greater percentage off the top to make up for alleged reduced revenues. Somehow, by the owners skimming a greater amount off the top this will insure the health of the league during these “difficult” times.
Implementing a rookie wage scale is another demand of the owners. Their contention that the negative economic times that are gripping America and equally the sport of football compels them to develop a more austere and “responsible” salary scale for unproven talent. However, this is a claim that is ingenuous if not an outright lie. Despite a growth of over 9% to 8.2 billion dollars in fiscal 2009 (a 43% increase since 2005) rookie salaries only accounted for 3.71% of salary cap, a decrease from 1994 of more than 3% in relation to the cap.