Trent Dilfer isn’t one to shy away from telling it like it is … at least as to how he sees things. That became very clear late this week when the Super Bowl-winning former quarterback spent time with the media and on the Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Lake Tahoe.
To listen to the audio from this q&a session, click on this link:
Dilfer was preparing for the American Century Championships to be held in July, and was joined by fan-favorite Charles Barkley and NBA star Shane Battier.
My good friend and former colleague Doug Etten, the sports editor at the Tahoe Daily Tribune, was one of the lucky media types who got to spend some time with Dilfer for a round of golf and a question and answer period.
Dilfer was, as usual, brutally honest, as he talked about his days as an NFL quarterback, playing under head coach Mike Holmgren, and his thoughts on whether the Packers have a shot at repeating their Super Bowl championship this year.
In describing how he was able to find success late in his career, Dilfer talked about how Holmgren and Jim Zorn helped turn him around:
"“Mike taught me more than anything else that you can take a very complex game and simplify it for a players mind,” Dilfer said. “I came to Seattle and I was kind of stuck. I was eight years into my career and sort of paralyzed, paralysis by analysis. Mike though really freed up my mind. He hires good coaches. And for the first time in my career, I had a good quarterbacks coach behind me in Jim Zorn. I was equipped to be successful. And I would have been very successful had I not torn my Achilles. I was playing very well for him.”"
In describing what he sees on the horizon for the success or failure of the NFL in settling its collective bargaining agreement, Dilfer didn’t paint a pretty picture for the players.
In fact, he said that when the players signed the most recent agreement, most of the intelligent players in the know understood that contract would probably be the last where the players would have the negotiating advantage.
In addressing that issue, Dilfer, in addition to Charles Barkley and Battier (who were addressing the NBA contract situation) were all in agreement with what seems to be “bigger picture.”
This is the transcript of the question and answer, as provided by Etten of The Tahoe Daily Tribune:
"Q. Trent, if you can start on the strike stuff, the lockout stuff. What are the differences between what the NBA is dealing with and the NFL? Do you think fans are more sympathetic to one or the other just in general from each of you guys what is the difference?TRENT DILFER: I’m pretty unfamiliar with the labor situation in the NBA. I try to only comment on things that I have any type of understanding on.From the NFL perspective, I totally agree with Charles’ last comment. We as players in both leagues have been destroying the owners in the last couple collective bargaining agreements. I can remember the late great Gene Upshaw talking about our last extension, just our minds blown that they signed the extension.We knew at that time when it expired it was going to be a battle royale. That the owners would figure out that they’ve been getting beat up in these negotiations.I totally agree with Charles. The owners are minds set on winning and winning big. Getting back their piece of the pie that they felt they gave too much to the players.But from the players’ perspective, and that is the crux of the issue, once you get somewhere, it’s very hard to go backwards. The players to get this deal done are going to have to go backwards and pretty significantly. I just wish they had that perspective globally.I’ve talked to some players who get it. Some really smart guys in the league that have a stake in it, but realize that our heyday in collective bargaining agreement was a few years ago, it’s not now. We’ll have to make more concessions to get it done. I think that has to be the theme to get a deal done.I do not see any chance that the players win this negotiation outright. I think they can lose to a lesser degree than maybe they would have in March right about now. But no matter how you cut it, the owners are going to win this negotiation.CHARLES BARKLEY: I agree with Trent. We have to make the best deal and that’s all we can do. We beat them up pretty good the last couple of times. Players in both sports have been making arms and legs, and they’ve proven that they’re going to make a stance. They might have to not play to get their point across.The bottom line is players can only last so long. A player can only last for a short period of time. Those guys are billionaires. There are a few players in both sports who are going to be fine, because they’ve made a lot of money or they’re going to make that money up when we go back to work.But if you look at the big picture, everybody’s talking about how much money Tom Brady makes and Drew Brees and LeBron James and these guys. Bottom line when you look at these teams and there are a lot more guys not making money on these teams than are making money. Those are the guys it hurts the most.TRENT DILFER: In the NFL, it’s a little bit different too that ‑‑ correct me if I’m wrong, Shane and Charles ‑‑ but the big money makers in the NBA seem to be the most influential guys on the team. In the NFL that’s not the case. The most influential guys on the team are your offensive linemen, some of your secondary players, obviously the quarterback position who is a big money maker. But those are the guys with the deep influence and the guys with maybe the best perspective on this.If they miss a check, not a couple of checks, but if they miss a check their voices will become very, very loud, and the players will cave. There is no doubt in my mind if the owners do take this into the regular season, the players will get a much worse deal than they would right now.There will be total panic set in. The most influential guys on the teams that are not the biggest money makers, their voices will get very loud and they’ll cave.CHARLES BARKLEY: I agree, I agree."
And for Packers fans who thought that because Dilfer was on the team’s bandwagon as the season drew to a close last season, you might think again about his thoughts about whether he expects the team to win back-to-back titles.
When asked by Etten, here’s what Dilfer had to say:
"“That would be a tough challenge … so many things have to go right to go back,” Dilfer said. “I wouldn’t put them as one of my top two teams out of the NFC. I like them as a team, but I just think the challenge of repeating is so hard. There is so much external stuff that goes on that prevents you from having the same type of success. It takes a special group, and I don’t know if that group — outside of the Woodson’s and the Rodgers’ and some of their core players — I just don’t know if they have enough veteran-moxy type guys to do that.”"
We can only hope that Dilfer doesn’t know what he’s talking about … this time.