Kansas City Chiefs season ticket holders were invited to participate in a conference call with Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Thursday morning. Thousands of Chiefs fans took advantage of the opportunity to have their questions answered and joined the conversation hosted by “Voice of the Chiefs” Mitch Holthus.
Hunt and Goodell covered a wide range of topics during the open Q&A session. Though the majority of questions centered on the League’s ongoing labor issues, fans also asked about paying full price for preseason games, the availability of NFL Network in the Kansas City area and current policies intact at Arrowhead Stadium.
Specific to labor negotiations, Goodell re-iterated that replacement players are not part of the league’s strategy or thinking. He also said that the NFL has no deadline for cancelling games if no agreement is reached with players for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Goodell and Hunt provided detailed answers to many league-wide questions (full audio of the call can be found here), but addressed a negotiation topic specific to the Kansas City Chiefs as well.
Both Goodell and Hunt stressed the importance of maintaining the NFL’s competitive balance as a new deal is negotiated and, ultimately, agreed upon. It’s an issue incredibly important to small-market clubs like the Chiefs.
“There are several issues that need to be addressed just beyond economics in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that are important to you as fans in making sure that the game you want to support and be a part of continues to be a great game, continues to be competitive so that the Kansas City Chiefs have the same economic ability to be competitive against the New York Giants, Chicago Bears or any other large market team,” Goodell said.
Competitive balance was evident in 2010 with two small-market franchises represented in the Super Bowl. For the 15th consecutive season, at least five teams made the playoffs that did not advance the year before.
“There are systems that we have to make sure that we maintain,” said Goodell. “When you come into a season, every fan thinks that their football team has a chance to win the Super Bowl and that’s what I believe the 32 clubs are working towards. There are several issues that need to be addressed (regarding competitive balance) in (negotiating) this Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
Alterations to the structure of the salary cap and/or shared revenue allotment could negatively affect small-market franchises like as Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Green Bay.
“It’s incredibly important for a team like the Kansas City Chiefs, that we have a Collective Bargaining Agreement that’s good for all 32 clubs,” Hunt said. “We don’t want a system that (loses parity) and we have some concerns that it has a potential to go that way.”
Hunt serves on the 10-owner labor negotiating committee, giving the Chiefs a voice at the negotiation table.
“The clubs are very interested in getting back to the bargaining table,” Hunt said. “Ultimately, this is going to get decided at the bargaining table. It’s not going to get decided through litigation.
“We know it’s a very tough period for our fans, for our employees and for the players as well. We want to see a deal that is fair to everyone involved – that includes the players, the clubs and, most importantly, it includes the fans.”