First things first: CBA talks resume today in New York, with just about everybody agreeing that the NFL players and owners need to resolve their differences by July 15, for training camps and preseason games to be held on schedule.
That’s a bigger deal than it might seem. Estimates I’ve seen say every canceled preseason game will cost the league about $220 million – which isn’t just the owners’ problem, since that money figures into whatever total revenues the players are going to end up sharing, and helps determine the salary cap.
From what I understand, the Eagles still hope to go to Lehigh, even if they don’t have time to put together everything that normally goes into training camp. But really, this has to get done by the end of next week, for any semblance of normalcy. And I think it will, even if there are some tense moments along the way.
The Flyers’ recent total housecleaning got me thinking about organizational styles and big moves. Flyers owner Ed Snider – once an Eagles vice president, back in the ‘60s -- is not a patient man; even though general manager Paul Holmgren pulled the trigger, I think we can assume that Snider’s displeasure over the Flyers’ second-round playoff exit played a large role in what happened.
People like big, bold, go-for-it strategies, and passionate personalities, which is one reason Snider’s style has played better with the public over the years than say, that of Eagles president Joe Banner or head coach Andy Reid. In fact, I don’t think Reid would still be working, 12 years into a tenure that does not include a Super Bowl title, if he worked for Snider. Maybe that would be a good thing, and maybe not.
There is such a thing as being too bold. For all of Snider’s willingness to change things up, particularly on the coaching end, the Flyers still haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1975, and I’m unconvinced they are any closer to the 2012 Cup than they were before they dealt Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
I have a very clear memory of one huge Snider-authored move that did not work out so well – the 1992 trade that brought Eric Lindros to the Flyers in exchange for five players, two first-round draft picks and $15 million. Make no mistake, that trade happened because the Flyers had missed the playoffs three years in a row, and because Peter Forsberg, probably the franchise’s second-best-ever first-round pick (behind Bobby Clarke) told then-GM Russ Farwell he wasn’t willing to come over from Sweden for the ’92-93 season. Snider was building an arena, and he needed buzz.
Lindros provided plenty of buzz, but no Cups. Forsberg eventually became a better player than Lindros, and led Colorado to two Cups.
The Banner-Reid style is more subdued. If there is a recent Eagles equivalent to the Lindros trade, it is the 2004 acquisition of wideout Terrell Owens, similar right down to the need for arbitration to determine who held the player’s rights. The Eagles didn’t give up any future Hall of Famers to get Owens. But after one precious trip to the Super Bowl, they ended up with a ruptured locker room and a franchise quarterback who was never quite viewed the same way after he fell out with T.O..
The Eagles have hinted at intending bold moves when free agency finally begins this year. They definitely seem to be in the market for help at corner, linebacker and defensive line, but it’s not clear they plan to make the big, crowd-pleasing move, for corner Nnamdi Asomugha.
Which way of doing things works better? So far, in this era, it’s a 0-0 draw. No Stanley Cups, no Lombardi Trophies.