July 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Tim Twentyman: NFL insider

Prelude to a lockout? Packers' profits shrink

Green Bay argues salaries eat up team revenue

Aaron Rodgers had the Packers on the rise in the standings, but their profits fell in the ledger last season. (Paul Spinelli / Associated Press)

The Green Bay Packers are publicly owned and the only of the league's 32 teams required by law to release their financial data to the public.

The Packers did so Wednesday, and it's sure to be a hot topic among league officials and the players association as the NFL tries to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement that would avoid a lockout in 2011.

The Packers posted an operating profit of $9.8 million in 2009, down from $20.1 million the previous year.

Team officials attribute the decrease mostly to escalating player costs.

Operating expenses jumped to $248 million from $228 million. Of that amount, $161 million went to player costs, up from $139 million.

According to Packers CEO Mark Murphy, since the current agreement was reached in 2006, player costs have gone up an average of 11 percent annually while revenue has gone up 5.5 percent.

"Player costs are growing at twice the rate of revenue," Murphy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday. "It's not just this year. We've seen these trends for a number of years now that really point out some of the issues that we have with the current agreement."

If an agreement is not reached with the players by next March, there could be a lockout for 2011.

Taking into account investment losses that were less severe than the previous fiscal year, the team reported net income of $5.2 million, up from $4 million and the total team revenue was $258 million, a record, up from $248 million.

The financial disclosure is the first real evidence explaining why the league's owners decided to opt out of the current contract and go to an uncapped season in 2010.

This will likely be a bargaining chip when the two sides finally sit down and get serious about negotiating a new CBA.

But the union will likely point to flawed revenue sharing practices by the owners that allow big-market teams like the Jets, Giants and Cowboys to keep all their local marketing, advertising and television profits to which small market teams don't have as much access.

Gridiron Greats

The Michigan Chapter of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund will hold its second annual Hall of Fame Induction Charity Dinner at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi at 6:30 p.m. July 24

The event will honor Pro Football Hall of Famers Mike Ditka , Joe Schmidt and Lem Barney ; NFL announcer Pat Summerall ; former Lions Mike Lucci , Lomas Brown and Tom Nowatzke ; former Baltimore Colt Tom Matte ; former University of Michigan stars Bob Chappuis and John Greene ; former U-M coach Lloyd Carr ; current Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon ; and former Michigan State stars Lynn Chandnois and Walt Kowalczyk .

Tickets cost $125 per person or $1,100 per table of 10 and can be purchased by calling (248) 444-2241 or emailing gridirongreats313@gmail.com">gridirongreats313@gmail.com.

ttwentyman@detnews.com">ttwentyman@detnews.com

By the numbers

8: Consecutive playoff appearances by the Colts, who can tie the NFL record with their ninth straight this season.

12: Victories needed by Patriots coach Bill Belichick (163) to pass Bud Grant (168), Paul Brown (170), Joe Gibbs (171) and Mike Holmgren (174) for 10th place all time in career victories.

4: Consecutive 100-yard games need by Titans RB Chris Johnson to surpass Barry Sanders (14) for the most consecutive 100-yard games.

Game of chance

Odds for the number of wins each of the NFL's 32 teams will have during the 2010 regular season

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