NFL commissioner defends salary cap

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:41 AM ET

Paul Tagliabue said he had no comment on the labour strife that is on the verge of ripping the heart out of the NHL season. Then in the next breath, the NFL commissioner gave an impassioned talk on the merits of the salary cap for any sports league.

"I have no reaction that I will talk about to what's going on in the NHL other than to wish them well and hope they could get it resolved," Tagliabue said at his state-of-the-league address in Jacksonville. "In terms of the salary cap, I think it works."

Tabliabue suggested that there are a variations of a cap for different situations and that the one the NFL has operated under since 1993 works for the time.

Of course, the cap has a better chance of flying in a league such as the NFL, where team owners are approaching $100 million US each in TV money every year.

FLEXIBILITY

"It's sometimes complicated," Tagliabue said. "There are varying degrees of flexibility and softness and hardness in the salary cap. Our salary cap has proved to work very well to keep teams together.

"There's some things that we and the Players Association would both like to improve, but I think that the proof is in the outcome. As the record shows, we've got a tremendously competitive league with everyone having a shot at winning."

The commissioner lauded the parity that the NFL has enjoyed and pointed out that fears that dynasties would be outlawed by the cap, are seeing one in the making in the New England Patriots, who tomorrow will attempt to win their third Super Bowl in four years.

"A few years ago, everyone said that the one weakness of our system was that you wouldn't have dynasties," Tagliabue said. "But I think we see at least one and maybe two teams in this game that will be rightful claimants to the concept of being a dynasty. We could commend it to anyone else that's interested in having a good league."


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