Following is a full transcript of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference at yesterday’s league meeting in Atlanta.
NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
Special League Meeting News Conference
Atlanta, GA – August 25, 2010
Good afternoon. You obviously know about the Rams transaction which we completed this morning. We had a number of other reports. The most significant discussion of the day that we had was the enhanced season and restructuring our season from 16 and 4 to 18 and 2. There was overwhelming support for the concept and that we want to continue to address a variety of issues. We are putting together a specific proposal, which the negotiating team will provide to the union’s negotiating team. There is tremendous support for it. All of the questions and almost all of the discussions are focused on how do we do it in a way that’s fan friendly? How does it make sense for our fans? As we’ve all said and the clubs have gotten the same reaction, the fans want less preseason and more regular season. But we want to understand the impact of whether we’re playing cold-weather games in January or we’re playing hot-weather games in early September. Those are all issues that we want to continue to focus on and talk with all of our partners — the players, our business partners. Most importantly, how do we keep the game strong, which is good for our fans and what we want for our fans.
Do you have the right to unilaterally impose the enhanced season and did you not because of sensitivities with the players?
As you know, in the Collective Bargaining Agreement we have the right to go to 22 games. The ownership does not think that’s the right step to take. We want to do this the right way and make it good for everyone, including the players, our fans, and the game in general. From our standpoint, we think we’ve moved this concept along. There’s a tremendous amount of momentum for it. We think it’s the right step to take. But we want to do that with our partners, including the players.
On expanding OTAs and other training to prepare for the season:
It’s got to be a comprehensive solution. That’s why we’re taking the necessary steps here and taking the time to address the concept and all of the aspects of this that will make it successful. That’s our focus. How do we make this successful for everybody? But we had a lot of discussion on the Competition Committee analysis about offseason training, what we would do with rosters, what we would do with injured reserved rules. All of those things would allow us the ability to do this correctly.
On Stan Kroenke:
The good news is he’s been an NFL owner and he’s been around the NFL since 1993 when I first met him in the expansion process. He’s had tremendous experience in other sports, which I think is a plus. He has a tremendous commitment to football and the NFL. One of the issues we always focus on is having our owners focus on football. That’s what Stan will be doing. He will be focused more on football. We think that’s a positive for the NFL and most importantly for the fans of St. Louis.