Theres a reason there hasnt been a meaningful work stoppage in pro football for almost 27 years, and its not because this is a sport where the players have nothing to complain about. The very nature of the sport makes it difficult - some might say near impossible - to keep players united during a work stoppage because work stoppages are always about making sacrifices in the short term to benefit in the long. And for a great number of players in a sport with short careers and non-guaranteed contracts, there is no long term. But perhaps even more difficult to overcome is the fact that in football a small number of players on every team are paid far more than the rest, especially the large number of players on every team who will earn at or near the league minimum. And it is those star players, who already enjoy the biggest paydays and the most job security, wholl gain the most as the result of a successful work action. Look at any roster in either the CFL or NFL and youll probably be surprised to earn how many players are earning at or near the league minimum, which this NFL season will ranges between $420,000 and $645,00 for players from zero to three years of service in the league. In the CFL, that figure will go from $45,000 to $50,000 for this season based on what the parties have agreed to so far during current CBA negotiations. Since payrolls for CFL teams arent public, lets use an NFL team as an example to illustrate the payroll dynamics in pro football, which are similar in both leagues, albeit on a different scale. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers enters this season with an average salary of $22 million, nearly double that of anyone else on the team. Among Packers currently under contract, there are only four with an average salary of more than $7 million season, and another four at more than $4 million. There are eight players listed at between $2 million and $4 million, and 67 whose average salary is less than $1 million, 49 of whom are due to earn less than $600,000. The numbers in the CFL are obviously smaller but the manner in which they compare to one another is similar, with star quarterbacks earning roughly $500,000 per season while a large portion of each roster earns less than $60,000 per season. The truth is that whatever gains are made for the players in either league usually mean the rich will get richer. For example, the NFL will operate this season with a salary cap of $133 million dollars. But if that figure was suddenly increased to $200 million, the primary beneficiaries would be the Peyton Mannings, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Bradys and Richard Shermans of the world, while the leagues rank and file would essentially remain un affected. Same thing in the Canadian Football League - where if the CFLPA were to get its wish and have the salary cap jump immediately from $4.4 million to $5.8, the benefits would go to players such Ricky Ray, Darian Durant and the rest of the players whom fans pay to see. Of course theres another dynamic in the CFL game that doesnt exist south of the border. And thats that starting Canadian players - the ones mandated by the leagues quota system - also stand to benefit handsomely from any increase because of the laws of supply and demand. But the question becomes how do you convince the great number of players earning at or near the league minimum - young American players or backup Canadians - to commit to a work stoppage when theres little or no chance many of them will benefit from it? Standing up for a much higher minimum salary might help boost support among the rank and file, but that never seems to be the priority in either league. And therein lies the challenge of trying to keep a union full of professional football players all on the same page during a negotiating process. Consider that, despite having the leverage of being able to shut down the most profitable sport in North America, NFL players werent much interested in testing the resolve of their membership by missing paycheques when the league locked out its players during the off-season three years ago. They settled before that could happen. In Canada, the CFLPA has made a lot of noise about being disappointed in the leagues various offers this spring. But it hasnt said anything about having all of its membership on side, or being unbreakable, or being willing to miss game cheques in order to reach their goals in negotiation. The truth is that if the CFLPA were to strike a portion of the season, a great number of players will never get that money back - even if the owners were to capitulate completely. Many would simply be out of the league before they could benefit or would be left to watch the windfalls go to star players while they continue to earn similar amounts. All of these dynamics play to the owners advantage. And in the CFL, where were talking about players needing money to simply pay for the cost of living, the advantage is even greater. Will we see a CFL players strike later this month? Perhaps while its just training camp being missed, when no one has to make a true financial sacrifice to benefit the group for the long term. But in a sport where the rewards of such an action are likely to wind up in the hands of a select few, expecting anything more may be asking too much. Marques Colston Womens Jersey
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.” – Mark Bloom (@markbloom21), on Twitter That one sentence sums it up, while at the same time, leaving so much out.TAMPA, Fla. -- Winning in dramatic fashion never gets old for Drew Brees. The New Orleans star was sacked four times, knocked around a bunch more and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown Sunday. Still, he and the Saints found a way to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers again. "Thats football. Thats why we love it, and thats why we never give up, because we always feel like we have a chance," Brees said Sunday after leading a last-minute drive to set up Garrett Hartleys 27-yard as time expired to give New Orleans a weather-delayed 16-14 victory. Brees shrugged off the mistake that gave Tampa Bay the lead early in the fourth quarter to complete three straight passes for 54 yards to lead the Saints (2-0) into position to beat their NFC South rivals for the fourth straight time. He finished 26 of 46 for 322 yards, although interceptions by linebackers Dekoda Watson and Mason Foster led to all of Tampa Bays points. "I think wins like this are vital because no matter what youve done in the past, youve got to kind of prove it to yourself that this team can do that and overcome those types of odds and circumstances and get a win -- on the road, in the division," Brees said. "These just become so meaningful, and our team got better today." The game was interrupted by a 69-minute suspension of play because of lightning that sent fans at Raymond James Stadium scurrying for cover in the first quarter. The Bucs (0-2) lost on a field goal in the closing seconds for the second straight week. Foster scored on an 85-yard interception return for a 14-13 lead. However, Rian Lindell missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt just over a minute left, giving Brees one more chance to bring the Saints back. "Its tough to lose no matter (how)," Foster said. "Youve got to tip your hat to Drew Brees and his receivers making great plays. Hes a great quarterback. Hes proven that over the years." Brees led his team into scoring position with completions of 15 yards to Jimmy Graham, 8 yards to Darren Sproles and 31 yards to Marques Colston. It was the 22nd time dduring the regular season Brees has led a winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime since joining the Saints in 2006.dddddddddddd "The fact of the matter is weve worked so hard. Weve conditioned ourselves to be prepared for these opportunities, and you just visualize success," said Brees, who threw a first-quarter TD pass to Graham, who had 10 catches for 179 yards. "You visualize yourself making plays, so really I can say there was no doubt among our team." The Bucs played resilient defence to stay in the game, but in the end werent able to generate enough offence. Tampa Bay was penalized 13 times for 102 yards during a season-opening 18-17 loss to the New York Jets, including three costly personal fouls -- the last of which set up the Jets game-winning field goal in the closing seconds. They had three more penalties for hard hits in the second quarter Sunday. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was assessed an unnecessary roughness penalty for a hard hit on Brees, safety Dashon Goldson was flagged for a blow to the head on Sproles two plays later, and safety Ahmad Black later was called for what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet hit on Graham on an incompletion down the middle off the field. The game was stopped with 10:30 remaining in the first quarter. When play resumed, Brees first pass was intercepted by Watson at the Saints 35 to set up Josh Freemans 5-yard TD pass to Kevin Ogletree to put the Bucs up 7-3. Freeman completed nine of 22 passes for 125 yards. Doug Martin rushed for 144 yards on 29 carries for Tampa Bay. The Bucs say they are disappointed, though far from discouraged, to be 0-2. "This team is a resilient team," coach Greg Schiano said. "The head coach is a resilient guy." Notes: Tampa Bay finished with 10 penalties for 118 yards, including one for an illegal formation that wiped out a 73-yard TD pass to Vincent Jackson. ... Brees has thrown for 300-plus yards in seven consecutive games, two off his NFL record. ... Saints CB Patrick Robinson was carted off with an apparent leg injury in the second half and did not return. ' ' '