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Old 06-03-2004   #1
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Default Dale Hansen: Salary Cap is Un-American

02:17 AM CDT on Thursday, June 3, 2004

Dallas WFAA-TV Ch. 8 sports anchor Dale Hansen has been around these parts since 1981, covering sports every weeknight at 6 and 10 p.m. and Sunday nights on Dale Hansen's Sports Special. Every week on CowboysPlus.com he sounds off on the Cowboys and the NFL.

Can you explain the NFL salary cap in 100 words or less?

Uh, no. I couldn't do it in 1,000 words or less. I think the salary cap is an unfortunate aspect of pro football. I think it's a sad thing when good veteran players are being let go - not because the owners aren't willing to pay them - but because some arbitrary group has decided that there's going to be a salary cap. I hate it, and I hate everything it represents. But the owners and the players, for the most part, brought this on themselves. It's not quite as big a deal as it used to be because most owners are learning how to manage the cap better. But the bottom line is that I cannot explain it.

Teams have continued to find ways to skirt the salary cap. Would you like to see the salary cap be a true, hard cap?

That's exactly my argument. If you want to have a salary cap, and you feel you have to have one which I think is un-American then let's have one. They supposedly have a cap in the NBA, but every time I turn around the Lakers find a way to sign Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. The great teams always find a way. The Mavericks are willing to pay the luxury tax for certain players, yet other teams have owners that aren't. The idea of a cap was to make it fair so everybody across the board would have the same budget to work with. That's not the case. The 49ers started it. Danny Snyder in Washington continues it, and Jerry Jones was right in the middle of it. It just goes against everything that I believe in. In America, the free-market system should decide what the going rate is. Owners don't have a problem with this in every other business that they have been successful in. They don't overpay their lawyers. They don't overpay their receptionists. They don't overpay their salespeople. Why do they feel compelled to overpay their players? Pay a fare market rate and everybody will be fine. If you are going to have a salary cap, then let's just make it $70 million across the board and no up-front bonus money. I think it hurts performance on the field. It hurts the quality of the game itself and, did I mention, it's un-American?

When you hear the phrase "over the salary cap," does that make you laugh?

Oh, I laugh out loud. Danny Snyder spent like $170 million in a 90-day period and the next line was, he's under the cap. Please. What kind of a stupid cap is that? And Washington is going to be facing salary cap hell in the next year or two. The 49ers and Cowboys went through it. It doesn't work and that somewhat frustrates me. The owners insisted on a cap so that they could control expenses, and then they turn around and Jerry Jones is writing $15 million checks to Deion Sanders and Troy Aikman and Larry Allen. Certain owners have always been willing to spend more money than others and that, to me, is part of the competitive nature of anything. If the Bengals don't want to spend any money, then fine. The whole concept of a salary cap just drives me nuts.

A few years ago, the Cowboys had a veteran quarterback named Randall Cunningham who didn't want to start because he was not being paid "starter" money. Now, Vinny Testaverde says he doesn't want to go somewhere he won't start. What do you make of all of this?

It would seem like the Cowboys would have known about this weeks ago. I have never been a big believer that these teams don't know what's going on. They always say they haven't had any conversations because they can't until June 1. But, on June 2, Kerry Collins signs with the Raiders. Everybody knew it, except the Raiders and Kerry Collins, apparently. Maybe this stuff with Testaverde is just negotiating talk, and it probably is. I don't know how many teams are lining up to sign him as a starter. In a perfect world, I would rather have a guy who says he wants to be a starter than a guy who says he wants to carry a clipboard. That part of it I am happy to hear. If Testaverde is holding out because he wants to be a starter, then I would strongly suggest he go somewhere else.

So, do you think any of your co-workers at Ch. 8 ever went into their evaluations to complain to their bosses that Hansen was putting the company over the salary cap?

They can say it all they want, but nothing's going to change. That's also the point. I said this to Jerry Jones a couple of years ago: He's letting veteran players go and it's a salary-cap issue, and some people laugh at how naive that is. I would argue that in any business, when you start making talent decisions based on the salary, that's when the company gets hurt whether it's a TV station, a newspaper or, in this case, an NFL team. You have to make decisions based on talent. And, good talent just like me will be fair when it comes to arriving at a salary.
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Old 06-03-2004   #2
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He has some good points but I also see the need for a salary cap!

I haven't been able to make up my mind completely about the issue.
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Old 06-03-2004   #3
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And to Mr. Hansen . . . I'll respond with this. Until the day arrives that the Tampa Bay DevilRays have just as fair a chance of being World Champions as do the Green Bay Packers . . . Major League Baseball is about as Un-American as you can possibly get.
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Old 06-03-2004   #4
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And yet the Florida Marlins won last year right?

And the Texas Rangers are playing much, much better this year without A-Rod.

I don't know about this. I, on one hand, think that people should be able to get what the market bears. On the other hand it can get out of control very easily as it does in baseball.
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Old 06-03-2004   #5
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Salary caps are what makes the NFL, the NFL! Any given Sunday! Oh Yeah!
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Old 06-03-2004   #6
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Absolutely, dynastys are only great if it's your team. For the other teams it sucks. It is much more exciting to see the Cowboys or Panthers go from horrible to SB teams in short time--gives hope to all fans.
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Old 06-03-2004   #7
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I like the cap. These guys are playing a kids game and making millions of dollars. THe cap helps out teams in the small market. What makes Football great is that the revenue is shared and the small market teams come close to the salary cap level (Dead money withstanding). What is bad about the NBA is teams like the Clippers will not spend close to it and in MLB no small market team can spend 150 million a year like the Yankees and Red Sox. Baseball would be so much better if it had more parity in it like football.
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Old 06-03-2004   #8
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Well look who said it, the guy if from Dallas. If I read articles correctly and my dates are correct, the last time the Cowboys won a Superbowl was before the cap era. Just a sportscaster that hasn't had a superbowl to report on in awhile.
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Old 06-03-2004   #9
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Old 06-03-2004   #10
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I'm not so sure their last SB was before the cap era. I remember they let Troy go because of his salary situation. They wouldn't have done that if there were no cap.

I'm too lazy to research it but I believe the cap has been in place for many years in the NFL.

Actually Hansen is a very good sportscaster. He's funny and doesn't tow the company line. If he doesn't like something he'll say it or write about it.

I just did a very quick Goggle search on the NFL cap. It has been in place since 1994. I believe the Cowboys won the SB in 96?? So that argument is a moot one.

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Old 06-03-2004   #11
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Thanks, but in the first couple of years didnt teams still have most of there team intact from the pre-cap era, I dont think everybody was a FA at once?

If my thinking is right and not everybody was let go then the Cowboys werent really broken up the first couple of years of the cap and still had there key components to win the Superbowl in '94 and in '96.
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Old 06-04-2004   #12
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I agree that while Hansen makes a couple decent points...go ask a Saints or Cardinals fan if they want anymore help digging their holes deeper.

I truly think that the salary cap and the draft structure brings much more pairety to the league (as intended). Look at the playoff teams since the cap was instituted...almost every team in the league has had a shot in the playoffs. There are some pro athletes that make more than the starting 11 defense of some teams out there...in ONE SEASON.

My real belief is that we could go to a total merit based salary system and do away with the cap. Establish a league minimum, and develop an equation for each position that gives them bumps for positive stats, play off appearences, Conference titles, and SB titles. I like the idea of giving a bonus to the base salary of a player incrementally based on number of years with a team and that money would need to come from the league. That way loyalty is rewarded and guess what...you can never under produce on your contract.

When watching the NFL draft I saw the discussion on this topic with the players that were there providing some color commentary. Takeo Spikes said that he feels totally justified in seeking another team or holding out if he is out preforming his salary at his position...I buy that to a certain extent. Now here is the kicker...he said that he fully expects to be paid to the letter of his contract if he is under preforming as well...which I don't buy and call BS on.
That type of attitude is one reason I like the merit based salary system...fans and owner would love it but the NLFPA would rather throw themself in front of a bus than except it.
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Old 06-04-2004   #13
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All points have some validity.

As a league it's their job to make sure that all teams are treated fairly and I do think a salary cap does that. Some teams seem to manage very well with them and others struggle. That would be the part of the story where it's up to each team to find a person that understands the cap and how it works and make it work for the team.

I've heard interviews though with major NFL GM's and management people and they have said there are still things about the cap they don't understand.

It must be a mighty task to do some of those deals.

I think the NFL handles their players well in most cases. You don't hear too much about guys holding out although that does happen from time to time.

I would like to think that most young men that are good enough to play in the NFL realize that they can become wealthy with or without a cap and so they play with the system in place.

Of all the pro sports I think the NFL is managed the best.

Still I do see Dale's point. I just don't think it works in the case of such a big entity as the NFL.
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Old 06-04-2004   #14
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Default It's all about perspective

just ask any sports fan who lives in the state of Wisconsin.

They are both Milwaukee Brewer fans and Green Bay Packers fans. Ask them who has the FAIREST chance of making the big show. They will answer the team that has the same revenue stream as the rest of the teams in the league. It's not rocket science here.

And I don't want to hear any more about the Florida Marlins. Their World Series Championship was an aberration . . . aberration . . aberration.

Take the percentages of how often the "big-market" (Yankees, Braves, Resd Sox) teams make the playoffs every year compared to how often the "small-market" teams do..

The salary cap is what put the "small-market" teams on the same level as the "big market" teams. In fact, the levels are eliminated. And the NFL is what it is today. Every team has an equal 'financial' shot.

In Major League Baseball, you have the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. Yessir . . . truly American.

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