High Press Episode 17:
In the build-up to this weekend’s Super Bowl, Episode 17 of High Press takes a look at what – if anything – the Premier League can learn from the NFL.
Host Alison Bender is joined by Matt Dickinson, Paul McCarthy and Suzanne Wrack to ponder a draft system, a possibly salary cap and much more in the Premier League.
NFL is based around entertaining
Initially talking about the level of NFL interest in the UK, McCarthy says, “I think it’s a great spectacle. It’s just that three hours is a long commitment for me, personally.”
Would a draft system work in England?
Wrack and Bender praise the breaks in the NFL for helping to learn the sport, but Wrack bemoans the ad breaks for destroying momentum.
Moving on to the prospect of a draft system in English football, Wrack says, “It would just be laughed out the park the second it was suggested. The meritocracy of the English game doesn’t allow for it.”
She adds that a competitive football pyramid doesn’t fit with a draft system, even if there are positives to the ‘closed shop’ of the NFL and other American leagues.
Dickinson responds, “As a broader principle, it should make us think about stockpiling of talent. We are looking at that, but rules like that need to be hardened to make it harder for the top clubs to go round hoovering the top talent.”
Wrack suggests a possible draft system for Championship clubs to select young players from Premier League academies for loans.
While the panel accepted a draft system would be almost impossible to implement, there was a more positive response to introducing a salary cap.
Dickinson kicks off the discussion.
“It’s [a salary cap] on the table at the Premier League. There are active discussions at the moment with how they’re going to update the profit and sustainability rules…“The rules will be changed, and obviously a hard salary cap is in the deliberations. Personally, I do think there is a place for spending rules.”
Bender notes that Manchester City’s player salary spending last season was considerably more than the NFL salary cap. It’s also pointed out that Joe Burrow – the NFL’s highest earner – earned more than double of Kevin De Bruyne’s salary, the highest-paid Premier League player.
McCarthy replies, “The one thing we could do with, that America’s sport across the board does brilliantly, is absolute clarity…
“It publishes everybody’s wages. So fans can actually see where their dollars are going. In this country, it’s absolutely ludicrous that we are operating behind this virtual cloak of secrecy.”
Wrack is quick to point out that the figures are ‘obscene’.
“They are disgusting. No one should be earning that kind of money playing a game. That’s way more than anyone needs to live off for their entire lives, and their families need to live off for their entire lives.”
US collegiate system
The episode rounds out with a discussion of America’s collegiate system, and the prospect of removing draws from the Premier League. The panel also wonder if the Premier League is too cynical for entertainment.
What do you think the Premier League can learn from the NFL?
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