Commissioner Goodell: 10-year foundation to make game better is great for fans

Prior to the kickoff of Thursday night’s season opener in Green Bay, Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio and discussed several topics, including his email to fans earlier that day.

“We are glad we are back,” Commissioner Goodell said about the point of his message to the fans. “We are glad that we have a great and exciting season ahead of us and that the fans can enjoy football.  That is what they want to do.  You know that better than anybody.  We are thrilled about the prospects of this season.  We want the fans to know how important they are.  We know that it has been a difficult offseason, but that is behind us now and great football is ahead.  We have 10 years of a great foundation to make the game better, and that is great for fans.”

The commissioner added that the NFL and its clubs would continue innovating to improve the game-day experience in stadiums, at home or wherever fans are.

“Whether you are watching in the stadiums where we are trying to improve the environment or watching at home where technology is making that experience even better – we are working to bring that technology into the stadiums,” he said. “However you want to interface with football, we want to encourage that and we want to make it a better experience.  That is what we are going to continue to do.”

Following is the complete SiriusXM Radio transcript:

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL

THE SIRIUS BLITZ with ALEX MARVEZ

SIRIUS XM NFL RADIO

September 8, 2011

On Lambeau Field and the expansion project:

This is a great place to start our season.  There is so much tradition and history here but also the passion of the people for the Packers and for the NFL.  It is just a pleasure to be here.  I love being up here.  We are thrilled to start our season here.

On his message in his e-mail to fans:

We are glad we are back.  We are glad that we have a great and exciting season ahead of us and that the fans can enjoy football.  That is what they want to do.  You know that better than anybody.  We are thrilled about the prospects of this season.  We want the fans to know how important they are.  We know that it has been a difficult offseason, but that is behind us now and great football is ahead.  We have 10 years of a great foundation to make the game better, and that is great for fans.

On balancing remembrance with 9/11 and the celebration of a new season:

Tonight, we are celebrating the kickoff to the season.  On Sunday, 9/11, obviously, it will be a very respectful time for us to honor the people who tragically lost their lives, the families and the first responders.  The way our country has come back from it, we want to make sure we do it in a dignified and respectful way.  On Sunday, the country will have that opportunity.  We do believe we were part of 9/11 events when we took a week off and allowed the country to focus on what was important.  Then we came back the next week and it was a great moment for our country and also the NFL.  We want to be a part of the proper recognition this year.  We know how important a date it is to so many people.

On the ESPN Monday Night Football contract extension and future television opportunities:

Our mission is to bring more football to more people.  We have great partners to help us in that.  The ESPN agreement will continue the great tradition of Monday Night Football and the great job that ESPN has done with that brand.  It will do even more now because we are expanding that relationship.  We are finding new ways to bring football with ESPN over all of their various platforms.  It is exciting for us.  It is great for our fans.  We will continue to find ways to do that with our current partners and with potential partners, trying to find ways in which we can allow our fans to engage more with our game.  It is great for everybody.

On rule changes to enhance player safety:

It is so early to be able to make any kind of predictions, but our Competition Committee spent a great deal of time on how we make our game safer.  We have made rule changes.  We have made changes to our equipment.  We will continue to do that.  We want to make the game safer for the players.  We also want to keep the core elements of football.  I think we have been able to strike the right balance there.  The kickoff change, we expect there will be fewer kickoff returns, but we do believe it will make the game safer for the players.  That is a proper balance.

On the NFLPA agreeing to mandatory pads and safety equipment:

I hope so because it is an obvious fact that if players have more padding the chances are that they will be safer.  We would encourage our players to wear more padding – thigh pads, knee pads, hip pads, rib pads and mouth guards.  All of those will contribute to making the game safer.  We do hope the Players Association will embrace that position, but we will continue to work with them and continue to push that.

On HGH testing:

We had an agreement to do it in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  We still have that agreement.  I am anticipating we will get to that point.  Clearly, it is a health-and-safety issue because if players are taking it — which is my expectation that some are — it is bad for their health.  They do not know what is in the drug.   It is illegal.  There is a reason for that.  We don’t want our players taking that for their long-term health and for their family.  This is a health-and-safety issue.  It is also an integrity-of-the-game issue.  We want our players performing without the need of performance-enhancing drugs.  We anticipate getting the test in place and making sure that we are doing everything we can to protect our players and also protect the game.

On new fan experiences and excitement for a new season:

Having the game back, I am a fan, too, at heart.  This is great for all of us to be able to enjoy the game again when you get the return of any season.  This has been a long anticipated season with a lot of doubts so it makes it even more special.  Whether you are watching in the stadiums where we are trying to improve the environment or watching at home where technology is making that experience even better – we are working to bring that technology into the stadiums. However you want to interface with football, we want to encourage that and we want to make it a better experience.  That is what we are going to continue to do. 

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