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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The theme of the 90-minute session was on where the NFL is headed. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL would focus on investing in the future, embracing and taking on challenges, taking the long-term view and making a difference beyond football.
Goodell posed two key questions: “How are we doing?” and “Where are we going?”
“The foundation is strong,” said Goodell, noting 10-year collective bargaining agreements with players and officials, long-term network television agreements and enhanced agreements with sponsors and licensees. Goodell mentioned that there are 13 stadium projects in the pipeline at a total estimated cost of $5.3 billion.
Following are some of the highlights outlined by the commissioner.
On the league’s emphasis on player health and safety:
“The game is safer and better,” said Goodell. “We are making process and our changes are working. But we have more work to do.”
Goodell said fans are engaging in record numbers, citing:
In the stadium: NFL stadiums are filled to 98 percent capacity.
On TV: NFL TV audiences dominate the TV landscape. Since 2005, primetime television viewership is down 22 percent. NFL game viewership since 2005 is up 24 percent.
Online and Mobile: Digital media platforms have expanded and are growing significantly. Fans are connecting with the NFL in more ways and spending more time than ever.
On thinking long-term, Goodell said: “We have done that in the NFL, and it has served us well. Have the courage to make tough decisions for the best long-term outcome.”
On making a difference beyond football, Goodell said: “As leaders, we can make a difference beyond the game of football. We have something very, very special in this room. Football is about passion. It is about bringing communities together. It is about teamwork and it is about the things that make your franchises successful making us as a league successful. It is about something bigger than ourselves and achieving that collectively.
“But with success comes more responsibility and it requires us to do more. That falls on everybody in this room. It is your personal responsibility as well as the thousands of people not in this room to do your part to celebrate our game to make people proud to be a part of this game.”
Goodell concluded by referencing two groups the league needs to continue to reach.
“One is our players, with a particular focus on our retired players,” noted Goodell. “Make them feel proud that they played NFL football. Make them feel proud and celebrate them to be part of your league and your teams. The second group is our fans. They love this game. We need to make sure they feel a part of it. We need to make sure they feel that same connection to the game. It is an exciting time for the NFL. We have a lot of work to do so, let’s get started.”
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Tags: Roger Goodell
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At the NFL Fall Owners Meeting, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday there will be two regular season games in London for the first time. In addition to Jacksonville hosting San Francisco at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 27, 2013, as previously announced, Minnesota will host Pittsburgh a month earlier on Sept. 29 at the same venue.
“This is a very significant and important step going forward for our fans in the UK (United Kingdom), for the NFL in general and for the teams involved,” Goodell said.
Also at the meeting in Chicago, Goodell spoke about bid cities for upcoming Super Bowls L and LI. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome will host Super Bowl XLVII this postseason before coming to MetLife Stadium for XLVIII and University of Phoenix Stadium the following year.
“There will be three bid cities for Super Bowl L and LI – Houston, San Francisco, and South Florida,” he said. “The bids will be presented and owners will vote on both of those games at the May meeting in 2013. The owners will vote between San Francisco and South Florida regarding Super Bowl L. Owners will then vote at the same meeting on the host of Super Bowl LI between Houston and the runner-up from Super Bowl L.”
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Tags: Antrel Rolle, Roger Goodell
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