Do I Care ?

After hearing that a new record was set in the July 4th hot dog eating contest, I asked myself if I could come up with 10 things related nominally to the sports world about which I cared less than I do about that annual hot dog eating contest.  Obviously, I could name a bunch of other stupid “competitive eating” events but that would be an intellectual tautology.  I gave myself a couple of minutes to think about it and this is what I came up with – – in the order they flashed into my mind:

  1. Anything related in any way to professional ‘rassling.
  2. Sumo wrestling.
  3. MMA, UFC and things of that nature.
  4. Lawn mower racing.
  5. Professional fishing.
  6. The Naked Olympics.
  7. The Winter Olympics.  This may not belong on this list because I do enjoy watching some of the hockey games here and there is nothing about the hot dog eating contest I care about at all.
  8. Synchronized “anything” in the Olympics.
  9. The America’s Cup Yacht Races.  New Zealand just beat the US in this regatta held in Bermuda which is not the home of either combatant.  Why they held it there, I do not care to try to understand.  See below for another comment on the allure of this sporting event.
  10. The Tour de France.  This annual event is ongoing as I input these words.  My reaction is, “Whoop-di-damned-doo!”

            Greg Cote had this comment in the Miami Herald recently about the recently completed America’s Cup regatta:

“Team USA got clobbered 7-1 by New Zealand in America’s Cup sailing. How great would it be if there arose a scandal in which the Kiwis were found to have illegally used outboard motors!”

Yesterday, I reviewed some of the astronomical numbers being thrown around as contract values in the NBA without even mentioning the $201M contract just signed by Steph Curry.  Later in the day, I ran across a report that Buffalo Bills’ WR, Sammy Watkins, took to Twitter to complain about those NBA contract numbers because – – according to Watkins – – NFL players should be getting that kind of money too.  At first glance, you might think that Watkins has a point; but upon a bit of reflection, you might conclude that if he wore his helmet, no one would notice.

The NFL has higher revenues than the NBA; so, you would think they have more money to “throw around” to their players.  Also, NFL players have – on average – shorter careers than NBA players meaning they should be demanding higher annual salaries than NBA players.  Sounds good except for:

  • NBA teams have 12-15 players under contract at one time.  Counting the practice squads, NFL teams have more than 60 players under contract most all of the time.
  • NBA teams pay a head coach and maybe 3 assistant coaches per team.  NFL coaching staffs can have as many as 20-25 coaches getting a paycheck.
  • Because NBA teams play 41 regular season home games as opposed to 8 for the NFL, NBA home attendance averages about 200,000 more fans than the NFL.

Sammy Watkins’ tweets do not seem to acknowledge the basic math here.  While the NBA does not take in the same amount of revenue as the NFL does, there are many more “mouths to feed” in an NFL team structure than there are in an NBA structure.  Moreover, there is another important factor that Watkins seems to ignore.

The current CBA between the NFL and the NFLPA imposes a hard salary cap on NFL teams.  In that agreement, the salary cap must be at least 47% of the “annual revenue” for the NFL.  “Annual revenue” takes about 20 pages of the CBA to define so let’s just say it is a very large number.  However, that number for 2017 yields a salary cap of approximately $167M.  If that were spread out evenly among the 60 or so players each team has under contract, that would come out to be a bit less than $3M per player.

The current CBA between the NBA and the NBPA does not have a hard salary cap.  It has a cap but teams may exceed it by paying a luxury tax on all salaries paid in a year that are in excess of the cap.  The NBA’s CBA calls for the salary cap to be 49% of the “annual revenue” of the league and when you go through all the “puts and takes”, that comes out to be about $100M per team this year.  Again, if that were distributed evenly among the 15 players that an NBA team might have under contract, that would come out to be about $6.6M per player.

Sammy Watkins’ “complaint” has math working against it and it has the legality of two different CBAs working against it.  Sammy may wish it were otherwise, but I do not see him or his comrades-in-arms in the NFL getting the same kind of money that NBA players do.  Top-flight NFL stars will get huge contracts; rookies will get mandated/slotted low-wage deals.  How many players fall into the “NFL middle-class” will depend on how individual teams allocate their $167M of cap room.

Finally, this comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald surely provides an eleventh entry on my list of things in sports that I care less about than the hot-dog eating contest:

“At the World Cup of Darts, top-seeded Scotland has been eliminated. If this ruins your office bracket, your office has too many brackets.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “Do I Care ?”

  1. I disagree strongly with Sammy Watkins irrespective of the mathematics. Even if the NFL paid that kind of money, he would not be getting it right now.

    1. Doug:

      I think it goes without saying that Sammy Watkins would not be a “max-player” in the NFL if such a thing existed. I think the general case of his contract-fantasy is also impossible.

  2. A Chiefs fan in Key West told me that going to a football game now costs him $350. He may have said $450, but I stopped listening to him as soon as he began talking.

    1. Tenacious P:

      If his cost includes transportation from Key West to KC, I suspect it is more than $450 a game…

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