DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, gave dire odds Thursday on the chances the NFL owners will lock out the players in 2011.
“On a scale of 1 to 10,” Smith said in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with 10 being the likelihood of a lockout, “It’s a 14.”
The collective-bargaining agreement between the players’ association and the owners expires in March 2011. The owners opted out of the current agreement two years early, and as part of that action, the league will play the 2010 season without a salary cap.
The owners, citing increased costs, particularly in the construction and maintenance of new stadiums, want to reduce the players’ 60 percent take of total revenue.
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But the union is steadfast against it, claiming the league, awash in money, is asking the players to take an 18 percent pay cut.
Smith, during the NFLPA’s annual Super Bowl news conference, pointed to two indicators that the league is preparing for a lockout: The league hired as its lead negotiator Bob Batterman, the attorney who represented the NHL during its lockout in 2007; and the league negotiated network television deals that guarantee the NFL $5 billion a year even if games are not played.
New Super Bowl logo
The Vince Lombardi trophy will be a permanent fixture on Super Bowl logos from now on. The trophy itself will get a new regional look, depending on where the game is played.
The changes were announced Thursday when the NFL unveiled the new logo in conjunction with the North Texas Super Bowl host committee.
At next year’s Super Bowl in Dallas, the silver winner’s trophy will also display a silver model of Cowboys Stadium. The NFL says it created a national logo – without the stadium – and a regional one with it.
The demolition of Giants Stadium got under way when a giant metal claw attached to a crane started taking bites out of the cement helix at one of the four gates around the 34-year-old facility in East Rutherford, N.J. The project will take about four months. An adjacent new, 82,500-seat stadium is scheduled to open in May, and will be home to the Giants and Jets. … Bill Dudley, a Hall of Fame player who in 1946 with the Pittsburgh Steelers led the NFL in rushing, punt returns and interceptions, has died. He was 88. Dudley had a stroke Saturday, his family said. …
Saints coach Sean Payton shortened practice by about 20 minutes Thursday, trying to ensure his players are fresh for the Super Bowl. … Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said in an appearance on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that he hopes teammate Michael Vick gets a chance to play elsewhere next season. … Less than a month after becoming the Florida Gators’ defensive coordinator, George Edwards has left to join the Buffalo Bills as defensive coordinator, reuniting with head coach Chan Gailey.