"This thing is like an onion. The more layers you peel, the more it stinks."
That quote is from an episode of Seinfeld. It could also describe the position of the owners during this negotiation process.
The position of the owners can be best summed up by Jerry Richardson, who owns the Carolina Panthers. Richardson is on record saying, "We signed a [expletive] deal last time and we’re going to stick together and take back our league and [expletive] do something about it." The average team value has increased to over $1 billion since that "[expletive] deal" was signed.
NFL owners are upset that they are taking on financial risks by building new state of the art stadiums. These are the same stadiums they use to jack up ticket prices on their fans, not to mention thousands in PSL's, a blatant ripoff, in order to gain a profit. They want to take more of the players' share to protect themselves against the risk. In other words, they want the players to sacrifice in case they lose money while they attempt to huge ridiculous profits. This is an AIG type business model.
Are any proposed savings going to be passed off to the fans since the owners would have more money? Judging by the Jets' shameless decision to raise ticket prices as a lockout loomed, probably not. Fans aren't alone, though. The league won't even pay for its players' health insurance as a hardball tactic during the lockout. Now players are going to be able to afford COBRA coverage much easier than most, but it is a cheap move. The Jets are going to furlough workers. So the regular guy gets tossed to the side as these owners try to make billions.
Meanwhile, the league refuses to open its financial books to the players. They moved a bit this week with an offer of an incomplete audit, but there is no reason the players should accept anything other than full transparency. The owners are the ones making claims that they need to take a bigger share of the pie than they are currently getting. They players who put their health on the line would be losing that money. They ought to get full disclosure on the topic of losing that money.
I understand why some might not have much sympathy for the players, but they are looking to preserve what their labor earns these teams. Without them, there could be no game. The owners are the ones radically looking to alter a system that has worked. They refuse to fully disclose information. Since they are the ones looking to alter the system, the onus is on them to justify the need.
That is why I am not buying the spin coming from the league.