Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media yesterday at the NFL Spring Meeting in Boston. In addition to the news that San Francisco and Houston were awarded Super Bowls L and LI, the topics ranged from moving the NFL Draft back in the calendar to playoff expansion and the future of the Pro Bowl.
Here are five things to take away from the NFL Spring Meeting:
GOODELL: For clarity purposes, there are really in some ways two distinct issues. The draft is something – within certain parameters – that is the decision of the commissioner as far as the date. Next year, Radio City Music Hall, which is the host of our draft, is bringing on a spring event, which I think the focus is on Easter. It extends to a much later date and interferes with the date when we normally hold the draft. At this late stage for us to do it the right way, we don’t see having any choice but to move the date. We are looking at whether we can do it as early as May 8, 9 or 10 to the 15th, 16th, and 17th of May. We really don’t – and we talked about this with the membership – see any choice, at least for 2014, but to select one of those two dates. We will be doing that sometime in the next week. Beyond that, if we want to move the draft back into the April period, we are going to have to look at other alternatives which mean other cities, other venues. We will begin that process also.
On having the draft at other venues:
GOODELL: We did that and we have done that. To date, the experience we have had, particularly with the event growing as popular, the sites we have been in the past, I am not sure we would look at again. We think we have found a location in New York that meets our requirements and where we think we can continue to grow the event. If we do, that will be one of the alternatives. One of the things we will have to do, at some point, is to look at other cities.
On playoff expansion:
GOODELL: We asked the Competition Committee to look at it. There was a lot of discussion. We had a report briefly at the March meeting. We are going to continue to have more dialogue with the Players Association, which is a big part of that discussion, and the second is with broadcast partners. Yes, we are continuing discussions on that but not today.
On the future of the Pro Bowl, including the site:
GOODELL: We committed to Hawaii, as you know, for the 2014 [Pro Bowl] game. It will be the week before the Super Bowl. Our intention is to keep it in that time period. We think that it works well from a season standpoint and finishing the season on a high note with the Super Bowl. There is interest in potentially bringing it back to the mainland in multiple sites as early as the following year.
The big focus we have had now is how to make the game more exciting from a fan’s perspective. One of the concepts that was discussed today is the idea that the players are selected as they are now with a vote from players, coaches and fans but the actual teams are drafted by captains. That is an idea that came from our players. We are continuing to have dialogue with the players on that idea. We think it is exciting. It could have some fun attached to it. It is something we may do this season.
On the options to modify the structure of the NFL season:
GOODELL: [The options] are all on the table. As I have said before, I think the structure of the season is something that we consistently reevaluate. I have been quite open about [indicating that] we have to address the quality of the preseason. I hear from fans consistently that they want to make every NFL event more valuable. They see the preseason as being less valuable to them because they don’t see the best players and the games do not count. We have to address that, whether we are looking at 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games] or 16-and-two and expanded playoffs. They are all on the table and things we are going to evaluate.
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Tags: NFL Draft, Roger Goodell
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