Now that the Super Bowl has been played and the season is now officially over, you can bet that, very quickly, all of the public focus will now shift completely to the NFL labor dispute. The two sides have less than a month now to complete an agreement as the current collective bargaining agreement runs out.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft shows off his knowledge of the entire situation in the following interview. He still believes, opposite of almost everyone else, that a deal will be struck.
If you’re interested in the business side of the negotiations, make sure you listen to the whole interview. You’ll also get to hear a very Bill Belichick-like response to a question regarding Belichick, Goodell and Spygate.
Robert Kraft joined WEEI in Boston with The Big Show to discuss his pain to see the Patriots not make the Super Bowl, Goodell bringing Spygate back up, why he’s optimistic that there won’t be a lockout, what the biggest hurdles are to getting to that point and explaining fixing the NFL presently to ensure continued success in the future.
If it was painful to him that the Patriots weren’t in the Super Bowl:
“If anyone had said at the beginning of year that our team would go 14-2 and we would wind up with a bye … Each of the [previous] times we had a bye we went to the Super Bowl. We weren’t sure we were anywhere near that good of a team at the beginning of the season, but the buildup and the expectations and the kind of team we had … it was pretty special.”
On Roger Goodell’s recent comments to Sports Illustrated rehashing Spygate:
“I must tell you, this is three and a half years later. I can’t speak for why other people do things or don’t do things. I can just tell you that I’m tired of the whole subject and it’s not something I’m going to discuss with anyone.”
Why he is very optimistic that the NFL will come to terms on a labor agreement:
“I’m speaking for myself when I say this. Knowing what I know about what’s going on, what the numbers are on both sides, knowing that we have a quality product that’s getting great ratings … people want our product, so, today in America, where a lot of companies have to cut back … we have something that we can grow and build on and benefit all parties. It would really be criminal if we can’t find an agreement in the next month.”
What he thinks the biggest hurdles are:
“To simplify it … in our haste of doing a deal and keeping things going, we did a deal that was too favorable to the players. … When you have a business and a thriving partnership like we have now, it’s never good for one side to get the edge of the other. In the end it’s going to come back and bite you in a way that doesn’t work. That’s what’s happening now.”
How to explain to fans, who are excited about the present, that these problems are about fixing business in the future:
“You have to plan for the future and anticipate problems and try to fix it before those problems become too great. … It’s really the distribution of revenue. That incremental percentage that is going to the players is really money that should be invested in developing the business.”