Tag:John Mara
Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:36 pm
 

Irene pushes Jets-Giants game back to Monday

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With seemingly everything else in the New York City area set to close this weekend – the subway system, JFK airport, my favorite knish stand – as the region prepares for Hurricane Irene, the Giants have announced that their game against the Jets will be postponed until Monday at 7 p.m.

The game had been scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m., but with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo requesting that the federal government declare a state of emergency and President Obama granting his wish, it seemed foolhardy to hold the game in what figures to be nasty -- and potentially dangerous -- weather.

In a statement released by the team, owner John Mara -- who consulted with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Jets owner Woody Johnson and commissioner Roger Goodell -- said the decision to move the game was based on “the safety and well being of all.”

Which, of course, is the most important thing of all.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Giants give Coughlin a one-year extension

CoughlinPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Though it’s been rumored and discussed for many months, Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s contract extension is reportedly complete. But it still doesn’t give Coughlin very much breathing room.

According to the New York Daily News, via Rapid Reporter Alex Raskin, the extension is only through 2012 (though it does mean he won’t be a lame-duck coach this season).

But if you’re wondering if the Giants ownership is teetering on whether to keep Coughlin long-term, Giants owner John Mara tried to assuage your fears.

“That’s a game the media plays,” owner John Mara told the New York Post. “We don’t operate that way. We enter every season expecting to compete for a championship and we analyze our franchise from top to bottom at the conclusion of the season. “We believe in Tom as our leader and as our head coach.”

But maybe they don’t believe in him THAT much, considering the extension is only for one year.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Atmosphere anything but festive at owners meeting

Goodell, SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

ATLANTA -- After the vote was tallied and a new CBA had been passed by the owners, a cheer went up inside the Marriott ballroom where the owners had spent the last nine hours of their day. After months of negotiating and another long day of discussing, arguing and compromising, the owners let off a little bit of steam that could be heard outside in the hallway.

A few minutes later, Roger Goodell, flanked by NFL attorney Jeff Pash, Carolina’s Jerry Richardson, Kansas City’s Clark Hunt, New York Giants’ John Mara and Pittsburgh’s Art Rooney, entered the press conference room.

The mood, though, wasn’t quite as cheery.

There were no balloons -- or champagne corks -- popping. It didn’t feel like a day of celebration. It didn’t feel like things would be all right and that life would be good again. It felt a little apprehensive.

And for good reason. The NFLPA hasn’t signed off on the new CBA, and at first glance, the NFLPA doesn’t seem altogether happy with the new document. We might continue to find out just how unhappy the players actually are.

So, yeah, there weren’t a ton of smiles from the Gang of Six who stood behind the podium in front of the assembled media. If they thought this labor negotiation was completely finished, they might not be (probably aren’t) correct.

“They have a real incentive (to ratify)," Richardson said after the presser. "I can’t imagine why they’ve negotiated so hard, and they have received so many things they thought were important, I can’t imagine why they would not. Of course, there is (apprehension). But we’ve done what we’re supposed to do. We’ve done our half. It’s their choice now.”

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Those first two sentences from Richardson was a point made repeatedly Thursday. How, the owners reasoned, could the players NOT accept this deal?

“There are very substantial incentives to do so and to ratify and conclude the agreement,” Pash said. “It is a good agreement. It is a fair agreement. It is an agreement that will be very positive for players in many, many ways. … We would expect that those incentives would be responded to.

“I can’t imagine DeMaurice Smith is electing to pay all of those hours for his attorneys to negotiate an agreement that he and his members then decide not to ratify.”

Well, it looks like the decision to ratify might be rejected. If that occurs, we have another, perhaps larger set of problems that could jeopardize part -- or all -- of the 2011 season. Then, money is lost, paychecks aren’t cashed, fans aren’t happy.

Maybe, on Thursday after the owners voted 31-0 to pass the agreement, they knew the fight wasn’t over, and that’s why there were no fist pumps or fist bumps on display. Maybe, as Goodell said, the owners were simply exhausted from the negotiations.

Or maybe they knew something the players and the rest of us didn’t. The thing we’re only beginning to find out. That the hard part isn’t over yet; that there really was no reason to celebrate at all.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:58 am
 

NFL, NFLPA meet for more than 15 hours

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The NFL and the NFLPA finally have emerged from their 15 1/2-hour meeting, and they will return at 9 a.m. Friday morning to continue discussions, according to reports from NFL.com’s Albert Breer. The mega-bargaining session began at 10 a.m. ET Thursday and continued until about 1:30 a.m. Friday

There’s obviously no new CBA, but after such a long day of meeting face to face, you have to wonder if that announcement is coming relatively soon -- like, say, within the next week or so.

Though late Thursday afternoon, there was plenty of pessimism emanating from a number of reports after the NFLPA held a conference call for some of its members, the fact that the two sides negotiated for another eight hours after that has got to be a positive step.

Plus, with the league moving closer to a deadline when a deal would have to be done in order to begin training camps on time, both sides seem a little more energized to get something accomplished.

According to the AP, among those involved in the talks today included: U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, Giants owner John Mara, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and, for the players, Colts C Jeff Saturday, Chiefs G Brian Waters and Ravens CB Domonique Foxworth.

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 9:46 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 10:24 am
 

Tuesday meeting to update owners on negotiations



Posted by Ryan Wilson

As planned, the NFL owners are meeting Tuesday in Chicago. Hopefully that means actual football won't be far behind. The league and the players have spent much of June working through the details of a new collective bargaining agreement, although there hasn't been a resolution.  

As for what's on the agenda in the Windy City, NFL Network's Albert Breer has the details.

"Tuesday's meeting was originally scheduled as a one-day session, but clubs were advised last week to be prepared for the proceedings to spill into Wednesday," Breer writes. "No formal votes are scheduled for the meetings, with the labor committee and [Roger] Goodell having completed three sets of clandestine negotiations with the players."

"We're giving the clubs a briefing on the status of the labor discussions," NFL general counsel Jeff Pash told NFL Network. "And we'll allow them to ask any questions, give them a legal update on the status of the various court actions, and just make sure they fully understand everything that's happened over the last month and make sure they're fully informed as we proceed through the end of this month and into July."

Mid-July had been identified as the likely timeframe for both sides to reach an agreement on a new CBA, but there have been setbacks. Last week, an ESPN report suggested some owners were resistant to a new deal because they feared it didn't address the concerns that led to the lockout in the first place -- namely, the owner's unhappiness with the 2006 CBA.

Also not helping: CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman is reporting that some owners have contacted their star players, telling them that NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is leading them in the wrong direction. The NFL, of course, prohibits communication between teams and players during the lockout.

Sounds like a job for the commissioner, as well as Robert Kraft and John Mara, two of the most well-respected owners in the league.

The Chicago attendees include Goodell, Pash, outside counsel Bob Batterman, labor committee co-chairmen Jerry Richardson and Pat Bowlen, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Giants owner John Mara, Bengals owner Mike Brown, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Steelers president Art Rooney, Chargers president Dean Spanos and Packers CEO Mark Murphy.

As PFT.com's Mike Florio notes, Kraft's not on the list but he should be.

For now, all we can do is wait.

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Posted on: June 14, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:31 pm
 

NFL owners, players 'headed in right direction'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

NFL owners and players are meeting Tuesday on Maryland's eastern shore in an effort to end the 91-day lockout as soon as possible, according to reports from NFL.com and ESPN.

This is the third time this month the two sides have convened in an undisclosed location to make progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement (and this time, with lawyers). Last Friday, for the first time since the lockout began in March, hopes seemed high for a speedy resolution to a labor dispute that once appeared as if it could go on indefinitely.

"NFL owners have a one-day meeting scheduled in suburban Chicago next Tuesday, and they are planning to meet once a month until the situation is resolved," NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Tuesday. "A memo went out to owners asking that they keep their schedules for next week flexible, in case the June 21 meeting spills into Tuesday night or even Wednesday."
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ESPN's Chris Mortensen writes that "Sources have characterized the owners and players as being in a 'deal-making mode' and hope to make significant progress over the next two or three days."

The NFL estimates that canceling the preseason could cost upwards of $1 billion, which means that the longer the lockout drags on, the more likely it is that the owners will be in danger of losing serious dough. Sources tell Breer that "internal deadlines to have some semblance of a 'normal' preseason with the games preserved sit on or around July 15." That gives both parties a month to sort things out.

More background on Tuesday's gathering, via the Associated Press:
A person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the owners and players are "headed in the right direction" and that lawyers "are back in the room" after being excluded from sessions the past two weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the meeting are not being made public.

Two other people familiar with the talks say a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement could be in place before the owners gather next Tuesday. ... Still, it would be premature to predict that lockout is about to end, the people familiar with the talks told the AP. Yet the atmosphere of negotiations has been more positive than it was previously, creating "a sense of movement," they said.

That movement toward an agreement might be in both sides' best interest after a federal appeals court judge warned the owners and players they might not like the upcoming decisions in legal actions sparked by the lockout. Indeed, the court could delay any rulings if a new CBA appears to be near.
The AP reports that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith; several owners, including the Giants' John Mara and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones; and a large group of players that includes NFLPA President Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth, were all on hand at the meeting.

For the first time all spring there is much to be optimistic about. Not only are the owners and players willing to work together, they're doing it now, well before deadlines could legitimately imperil a 2011 season.

If the lockout ends in the coming weeks, Goodell, who was roundly booed at the April draft, will have suddenly saved his legacy. Because in the end, all fans want is football. They don't much care how we get to that point.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 3:48 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA confirm secret talks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In case you needed confirmation that the NFL and the NFLPA are engaged in secret meetings this week – although you SHOULDN’T since CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman reported it Tuesday night – the two sides have released a statement.

"NFL owners and players have engaged in further confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan this week,” the statement reads.

The two sides are meeting somewhere in New York – some reports have pinpointed the meetings to Long Island – and according to NFL.com, the NFLPA is represented by DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth.

Meanwhile, the NFL is represented by commissioner Roger Goodell, New York Giants owner John Mara, Kansas City’s Clark Hunt, New England’s Robert Kraft, Carolina’s Jerry Richardson and San Diego’s Dean Spanos.

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 7:12 pm
 

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

MaraPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Giants CEO John Mara has written an essay for giants.com describing for fans why a player victory in this labor dispute would be bad for the game of football – and most importantly, for its fans.

The headline of the story is “Time to get back to football,” which strikes me as an odd title for a story penned by the NFL's side (since, um, the owners are the ones locking out the players, preventing football from, you know, being practiced right now).

Anyway, here are a couple portions of his essay, without commentary by me (the owners have their side of the story, I figure, and they should be allowed to tell it).

There was no reason for the situation to come to this. The NFL's business model needs to be fixed. Of that, there is no doubt. The 2006 collective bargaining agreement was not balanced. Players have readily acknowledged they "got a great deal." Then the economy went south, adding to the problem.  A fair adjustment must be negotiated in a new CBA.

I participated in two of three weeks of federal mediation in Washington. We made progress. We closed the gap on economics, offering to commit almost $20 billion to player costs over the next four years with a 14 percent increase from 2011 to 2014. We addressed other important player concerns in our March 11 offer. It was made in an effort to continue negotiations and reach agreement.

Instead, the NFL Players Association walked away from mediation. It put a litigation strategy in play and filed a lawsuit declaring virtually all league rules relating to player employment as being violations of antitrust law. The union said many times it had no plans to dismantle the core elements of the collectively bargained system that has been in place since 1993.

And this:

The NFLPA lawyers want to wipe away fundamental elements of the NFL's appeal to fans, including the draft, "the Salary Cap, ‘franchise player' designation, ‘transition player' designation, and/or other player restrictions," according to their lawsuit. 

This strategy is no doubt designed to gain economic leverage in negotiations. But it has delayed the process of reaching an agreement and, more importantly, it threatens players, teams, and fans with very negative consequences. Without a CBA, we could be forced, as Mr. Kessler says, to come up with our own system that we think complies with antitrust law, knowing that each and every aspect of it is potentially the subject of years of litigation and uncertainty.

The likely changes would be great for NFLPA lawyers, but not for players, teams, or, most importantly, fans. For example, there could be no league-wide minimum player salaries, with many players making less than they do today, or no minimum team player costs, with many clubs cutting payrolls the way some teams do in other sports. Other bedrock components of the NFL's competitiveness, such as the draft, would be called into question and assailed as antitrust violations. A steroid testing program is a must, so we would have to consider an independent administrator such as WADA. There could be varying player benefit plans from team to team, and limits on the ability to enforce other league-wide rules that benefit players, especially rank-and-file players that do not go to the Pro Bowl.

 Even a settlement of the Brady lawsuit, in which the plaintiffs agree to certain rules, could be challenged by other players – now or in the future. The league and individual clubs would likely be hit with a barrage of lawsuits. We could end up with an unregulated system in which a disproportionate amount of money goes to "stars" and where teams in small markets struggle for survival. The very concept of a league with 32 competitive teams would be rendered virtually inoperable.

Mara goes on to write the owners’ standard line about how the only solution is at the negotiating table, and to be fair, Mara used to work for a law firm that represented unions in labor disputes. And he seemingly is one of the more moderate guys representing the NFL right now.

But CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman took issue with the essay (I said I wouldn’t make commentary on the letter; I didn’t say I wouldn’t allow my colleagues to do so).

On his Twitter page, through numerous status updates, he wrote the following

“John Mara is a good dude, but his letter to fans is highly disingenuous … One of the highlights of it is how the economy hurt revenue. Problem is, NFL has made record profits. … The NFL has been immune to the economy... This fight is about revenue sharing. Not the economy. Not any of this other stuff owners are claiming. IT's...ABOUT...REVENUE SHARING! … The owners want the players to give back more money to fix the owners' revenue sharing problems... That's it. You can believe the players are greedy. Or whatever you want to believe. The truth, the truth, is revenue sharing. … The owners want the players to fix their revenue sharing problems. The players don't want to do it. So here we are... I don't blame the players for not wanting to fix the owners' problems. … Again, John Mara...honorable man. Good man. Just flat out misrepresenting what this is about.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com