Dear [name removed]
We know you are interested in the status of our labor negotiations and preparations for the 2011 season. Having just returned from New Orleans earlier this week, we wanted to take a few moments to give you a report.
The focus was on football as well as the status of our efforts to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
Football first: we had vigorous discussions on a range of football matters with special emphasis on player health and safety. We are, as you have read, moving the spot of kickoffs to the 35-yard line and allowing the kicking team only a 5-yard running start to the kickoff. We modified instant replay so that all scoring plays will be checked by the instant replay assistant in the booth and reviewed by the referee if necessary. We are also continuing to discuss how to best limit hits to the head and expand protection for players in a defenseless position. NFL football will remain a tough sport, but we are committed to making it safer and reducing injuries.
On collective bargaining, we reviewed the status of the union’s litigation as well as the current work stoppage. We want to assure you that we want this resolved. We believe we offered a fair proposal that would pay the players an estimated $19-20 billion over the next four years, 2 billion more than they made over the previous four. There would be no pay-cut for players, only a slowing in the growth rate of their compensation. The proposal included a wide range of other improvements for both current and retired players. Contrary to what you may have read, we offered to provide to a third-party accounting firm the 2005-2009 club-by-club operating profits, along with audited financial statements, so that the union would know the league’s profitability in those years and the number of clubs that have experienced declines in profits.
We are very disappointed that the players chose to not respond to this offer and instead, went to court.
We know that we will have a collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union at some point. Commissioner Goodell has called on the NFL Players Association to immediately resume negotiations. The owners support the Commissioner and are ready to meet at any time to come to an agreement. We have great respect for our players, admire what they do, and the sacrifices they make.
We will continue to keep you informed and we truly appreciate your support of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Chairman & CEO