New York Giants' co-owner John Mara has been one of the most heavily-involved NFL owners in the negotiations between players and the league toward a new collective bargaining agreement. We know, of course, that negotiations have halted, a lockout is in progress and that the whole mess is now in the hands of the court.
Mara recently joined WFAN in New York to discuss the lockout. Management has consistently expressed disappointment that the players have chosen to take their case to court, and Mara reiterated that during his WFAN appearance.
"There was a deal to be made but in order for that to happen you have to have two sides to do it. I felt we made them a tremendous offer last Friday, and to not even get a response or a counter-proposal I thought was pretty disappointing and it became clear to me, as I have said before, that their strategy here was just proceed through litigation because I think that they believe that gives them the maximum amount of leverage," Mara said.
The biggest issue, of course, has been how to split the $9 billion revenue pie between the teams and the players.
League-wide profitability is down considerably the last four or five years," Mara said. "Nobody has ever claimed, and we certainly have never claimed, that teams are not making money. It is just that teams are making a lot less than we did in 2005 under the old deal."
Mara admitted that NFL owners accepted an awful deal during the last CBA negotiations, in 2006.
"Listen, their own President Kevin Mawae said a couple of weeks ago that the players made a great deal in ’06 because we panicked. Listen, I am as guilty as anybody. We were all for labor peace and at any cost at that point in time," Mara said. "We were all definitely afraid of going into an uncapped year, we were definitely afraid of any kind of work stoppage, and in so we ended up agreeing to a deal that has not worked out the way we thought it would."