A major concern of pro football club owners at their league meeting next month should be to counteract the spreading notion that complacency is setting in with the knowledge that each club will receive an average of more than $5 million a season from television for the next four years.
A club could finish with an 0-16 record under the expanded regular season and still show a handsome profit from the combined revenue the three networks will pay.
The time is past when an owner's income depended pretty much on the won-lost record, but there is no suggestion that any owner would let a [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] because of the television swag.
Still, some incentive could be eroded. The owner who might have gambled on some free agents with high salaries to possibly earn more at the gate may be more prudent now. The difference between what an 818 record and a 10-6 finish might have on attendance may seem minimal compared with the certain television revenue.
And that revenue does not have to be shared with the visiting team, as does the income at the gate.
The first to learn that they may have diminished in demand are the 126 veterans who played out the option years of their contracts last season. Next may be the draftees.
What pertinence there was to 11 coaches having been let go is debateable.
Were they being sent a message that the new sevenue was not just for the salaries of players or coaches?
Or were they dropped because the owners feel the pressure to get to the Super Bowl and reap all the attention the participating teams attract?
With their financial problems underwritten by the magic eye, it may be that the club owners thing they can afford to be true sportsmen.