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Losing with profit, ala TMQ, and its relationship to the CJ Holdout--

--Losing on the Cheap, TMQ--

I'm not sure what the general opinion on TMQ around here is, but I thought that this article might provide a little insight on the CJ holdout (though obviously we've been through this from every single angle).

To summarize for those unwilling or not interested enough to read the article:

-The must spend clause, an extremely important part of the newly-negotiated labor deal, does not go into effect until 2013. This means that teams are free to remain well under the hard salary cap and hard salary floor.

-Overhead for football teams is covered through TV contracts and local marketing / advertising. Even small market teams easily cover their costs due to sharing of TV income.

-Profit comes from ticket sales, but the margin between a packed house and a moderately full stadium is not mammoth. Something like $10-15 millions between 80% (the lowest attendance in Tampa Bay) and 99% (Dallas).

-Teams sell tickets whether they win or lose: the league average was 94% capacity (per game). Teams make money from TV whether they win or lose.

-Because $10-15 million is really the only difference between a losing season and a winning season, for the financially minded team it does not make any sense to spend big money on coaches. It especially does not make sense to spend $30 million to fill up the cap when this equates to a loss of $20 million (or more).

Here's the big one:

"When this is taken into account, seeming nonsense suddenly makes sense. The Bengals, a low-spending team, are refusing to trade Carson Palmer, who says he retired but actually wants out of the Queen City. What's the point of getting nothing for Palmer? The point is to shed Palmer's large salary while creating an excuse for another bad season. When in this situation, teams with winning mindsets shrug and trade the unhappy star for whatever they can get -- think Green Bay with Brett Favre or Philadelphia with Donovan McNabb. Cincinnati management does not make winning its first priority. Losing cheap is fine, and getting nothing for Palmer generates a nifty excuse for a weak 2011 season."

 

This is basically the gist of the article: for many franchises, losing for cheap makes way more financial sense, especially because:

"There is a way most NFL teams could enhance the bottom line while also spending freely on players: reduce front-office costs. But some teams are loath to do that, as the front office is populated by family members and cronies with senior titles, hefty salaries and few if any duties."

In relation to our beloved franchise:

"The Tennessee masthead would make the Pentagon blush. Owner Bud Adams has awarded himself the title founder/owner/chairman of the board/CEO. His assistant Steve Underwood has this amazing title. The Titans also boast two executive vice presidents, eight regular vice presidents and 19 people with "director" or "coordinator" or "manager" in their titles. Tennessee's front office includes a man with the title "mascot coordinator" -- for one mascot."

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Now, in relation to the current CJ holdout and the recent PR war waged by Reinfeldt and Adams, I am beginning to go beyond frustrated to suspicious. Propaganda generally has a purpose, and seeing the GM and Owner go to the media to "get their story out" (those poor, maligned millionaires & billionaires) is fishy, downright devious.

For the position of : "CJ needs to honor his contract, etc., etc., show up to practice, etc., he is hurting the team, etc., etc." Why has this become such an issue? Why does this seem to me like an absolutely artificial "lynchpin" that the front office media machine has focused in upon? If you truly want a player, couldn't you send one of the 19 directors to Florida with a nice rental car and a meal budget to have a chat with your most exciting and valuable player? Why is it necessary for the owner of the team to say that a player is acting the fool? The whole thing seems extremely political, almost like a campaign to turn CJ into a bad guy in the eyes of the (local) public.

Now...what in the world could you possibly gain by turning your star running back into a local villain? Hmmm...

How about $60 million dollars and another excuse to have a losing season?

What if we look at this from the other side--why does CJ continue to stay away from team meetings and maintain a covert ops / encrypted message silence? What does he have to gain from staying away? Do most people believe that he's just being a 'baby', that he's holding out because he's just a greedy, greedy guy? That CJ would really love to stick it to the organization and the fans because, because...he's a heartless s-o-b? There's also the counter of: "look at LeSean McCoy. Look how that quality individual is handling his situation." Well, there's a big difference--McCoy clearly feels like he can trust the Eagles' FO, and CJ clearly feels like he cannot trust the Titans'. If I was in his situation, I'm not sure if I would trust them either. Instead of trying to make some sort of gesture, some sort of "I'm interested" gift basket, the FO has very strategically done the opposite. To use a corny example, it's like they are trying to win over their friends before the big break up. CJ wants to get paid and he doesn't believe that the organization is truly sincere in their willingness to do that. I don't think CJ wants to be a villain--I think he wants commitment. And that commitment costs money--money that wont go into the pockets of the front office.

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