Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed media members this evening to close the most recent league meeting, which was hosted in Houston, Texas. A full transcript of Commissioner Goodell’s briefing is included below:
NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
LEAGUE MEETING MEDIA BRIEFING
October 11, 2011
I think you’re aware of most of the things that we discussed today and voted on, including Super XLIX going to Arizona. We also voted on the extension and expansion of our international resolution and our ESPN deal was formally approved by the membership today. We also had a number of reports on a variety of topics, including collective bargaining and a number of business issues, including our gate initiatives. There is a continuing focus on our momentum coming out of the labor negotiations and how we continue to seize those opportunities and continue to grow the business.
On if they addressed the Los Angeles stadium proposals:
We did. We had a full update on all of the stadium initiatives across the country. Los Angeles was included in that. Both projects were focused on and a progress report was given to the membership. We think that there are two opportunities in Los Angeles. We’re going to pursue both of them aggressively and continue to work with the local officials to try to get those in a position where we think one or both of them is something we should bring to the membership.
On if there is urgency to the situation in Los Angeles:
It’s not so much time schedule; it’s that we’re not going to be forced to take a deal that doesn’t work. I think that’s true for both parties; I don’t think Los Angeles is going to take a deal that doesn’t work for them either. The agreement is going to have to work for all parties. We’ve said that consistently. I hope that we all have learned that we’re going to have to compromise and we’re going to have to find that position that an agreement can work for everybody – most importantly the fans that we know want to have NFL football back there. This is a chance to add a significant redevelopment to a community, add jobs and get something that is a tremendous economic engine and a tremendous public asset back into the marketplace.
On if there is a sentiment among the room for a rotation of teams for the London game, or a smaller group of teams that would play on a regular basis:
Part of the discussion today centered on asking if we should have some consistency among some of the teams going over there. There is a strong feeling that would help build a fan base of particular teams and might be more beneficial in the short term just to try to see can we build the kind of fan base that could potentially warrant a franchise at some point in time. So we may focus a little more on a smaller number of teams going over on a consistent basis, but obviously the visiting teams would rotate.
On if there would be a competitive disadvantage for some of those teams:
They have to volunteer for it. They have to agree to it. None of this can be forced on any teams.
On what the benefit would be for those teams:
There are some financial incentives to doing it. So if a team decides to do this, then there are some financial benefits to being more aggressive in marketing themselves in those markets.
On if teams didn’t volunteer for it, how do you build that consistency:
There are a number of teams that do want to do it. The bottom line is that we have a number of teams that are interested in doing that. The visiting team we can schedule over there. We can only do it once in a five-year period, though.
On how they go about deciding which teams play in the London game:
You start with the home team. The first question is can we do it? Should we do it? What are the economics of that? Is the team willing to do it? The second is then what is the attractiveness of doing it? And then you obviously have to match that up with who they’re playing on the schedule with that game being an attractive game over there for us. What we’re seeing now is a tremendous amount of interest in doing this and that makes it a little bit easier for us to at least have better choices.
On if owners asking to participate in the game play a role in their decision:
Sure it does. I think anytime you have the excitement and the passion and the interest, that’s obviously going to make the game more successful. So we would take that into account.
On Houston setting the record in Mexico City and Tokyo:
Yes I do remember that. I thought you had something to do with that though (laughter).
On if they know what they need to know about the UK market:
The UK? First off, we’ve been very pleased at the reception to the game and the way that our business has grown over there. I think now you want to see can it be sustained for multiple games? So we’re looking at multiple games over there, and if that can occur, then you’re continuing to see that you’re responding to what we’re providing in the marketplace. That gives you a better sense of whether it could really be a host community for an NFL franchise. That’s what we’re trying to evaluate. If it can’t, would it be a great market for us just to develop our game and continue to make our game more popular on a global basis? That’s the issue.
On how soon you could see multiple games being played in London:
As early as next year.
On an NFL franchise in London:
Are you talking about a franchise? We’re a far cry from that. I think you’re talking two different things. We’re talking about just the series. If we had a franchise, the franchise would be located over there. We obviously haven’t gone so far as to work out all of the logistics of how that would work, but if a franchise is based there that would be their home community and they would play there. Now, would they live there all year round? That’s a choice teams make, players make just like they make when they’re based here in the United States.
On if they would stagger the games two games were played:
That’s a good question that we have an internal debate on. There is a lot of sentiment that’s saying if we played them in two consecutive weeks or two out of three weeks, there is a lot of efficiency that can take place when you do that. There is another sentiment that we may want to spread them out because that would have a greater impact on the fan base over there. I’m sure there’s a correct answer. We’ll probably do both at some point. We’ll find out.
On the discussion of the impact of the new kickoff rule at the meeting:
We always have a report on that. The Competition Committee reported on all of the rule changes and the effects of the rule changes, and we went through that. It’s very difficult on any rule change, though, to draw conclusions after four or five weeks of the season, and that’s where we are.
On how many markets there are in the UK that would be involved:
We do believe that a lot of the fans that come to the game in London are actually coming from markets outside of London. That’s attractive to us so we’ve talked about the idea should we play in Birmingham or some other markets that are outside the London core market? That’s something that we’ll continue to evaluate.
On the date of February 2, 2014 for Super Bowl XLVIII:
We had multiple dates on the basis of whether we would go to an expanded season, so that’s the reason we just locked in that date.
On if it had to do with the fact that the Winter Olympics would be the following week:
I’m not sure I even know the date of the Olympics.
On considering Los Angeles to host Super Bowl L:
It is. We are focusing on Super Bowl 50. It is obviously a significant event for us and the league. We want to make sure we do it right. We are starting to focus on what is the best way of doing that. I don’t think we have taken anything off the table as far as who would host it or how we would host it. We want to give some thought to that through our Super Bowl committee and then come back to the membership. Right now, our focus is on how we can make that a big celebration because it is a very key date for us.
On HGH testing:
Unfortunately, we don’t have an agreement yet from the union. We are prepared to do it. We could do it within 10 days of getting that agreement. We know there is interest in Washington, having a meeting, and we are prepared to do that. We are waiting to hear from them on a date specific to do that.
On evaluating the CBA through its first few months:
Right now, the major focus is on the rookie system, which I think the results are very positive. It has achieved what we hoped it would achieve. The signings went very well. From the standpoint of how we look at the system, so far the results are very positive.
On speaking with NBA Commissioner David Stern to share empathy about the league’s lockout:
I have talked to David Stern. Sure, I have empathy. I don’t think anybody wants to go through that. It is a difficult time and it is a difficult process. I feel bad for David, I feel bad for the NBA and I hope they can get it resolved sooner rather than later.
On attendance trends through Week 5:
It is still challenging out there. People constantly underestimate the economy and the impact it is having on consumers. You have seen some of the reports that came out earlier this week on household income and how that has been impacted. That affects our fans, our consumers and the amount of money they have to pay for tickets. All of that is a challenge for us. We constantly with our clubs spend a great deal of time – probably a couple of hours today – talking about various gate initiatives to be responsive to what our fans are going through so that we can keep our stadiums full.
On high TV ratings in respect to attendance and the economy:
It also goes to another point, which I have been open with you about. The experience is so great at home that it makes it even more challenging to bring them to your stadium. Technology gets better at home – 3D, super-slow mo, (NFL) RedZone and all of these great innovations that are occurring. It also makes the experience at some go great that ‘Well, maybe I won’t go to the facility.’ We want people to come to the stadium. It is part of the experience, being in a stadium of 75,000 people screaming and yelling and passionate. That is part of it. It comes through the television screen. We are not going to relent on that. We want to keep our stadiums full. That is everything from getting the right stadiums to making sure that the security is in place, to make sure technology is in our stadiums and to make sure the pricing is right. All of those things are factors in decisions that consumers have to make.
On Houston entering the rotation of Super Bowl host cities:
I have had the good fortune of seeing Houston as an NFL market for a lot more than 10 years. They are great football fans down here. We had a great experience when we were down here with the Super Bowl (XXXVIII) before. Bidding for future Super Bowls is a decision the people of Houston are going to have to make.
On discussing overseas markets outside of the United Kingdom:
We obviously have our game in Toronto. No, we haven’t [discussed overseas markets outside of the United Kingdom]. We talked a little bit about going to continental Europe, possibly Germany, but right now we are focusing on the UK.
What we want to prove is does this model work. The more we are focused on it the more we can see if this model works and if you can expand it to other markets.
On addressing assistant coaches’ benefits:
We talked about it a little bit today. We have been talking with many of our coaches. We will continue to focus on that.
On concern that rules emphasizing safety could penalize a player for a clean play, specifically in reference to Bears LB Brian Urlacher in last night’s game:
No, I don’t think we are going too far. What we are doing is trying to make the game safer. We have. The game is safer and more popular than ever, but you are always going to have an issue of a particular play and making sure that it is officiated consistently. We will evaluate that play like we do every other play. They will make a determination from there.
You can see it [is safer]. We showed a reel of plays today where the game has changed. The way they (defensive players) are making contact with receivers, they are obviously able to dislodge the ball using techniques other than using their heads by using their shoulders. We are seeing a significant change in the game which is very positive.
On the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers success this season:
It just proves the system. You can go from last to first or first to last very quickly. It is still early in the season so let’s not make any determinations of where we are. But it again proves that the system is balanced and that teams have the opportunity to improve if they make wise decisions. That is what fans love. They love competitiveness. They want to know their team has hope. We saw that. I was up in Buffalo last week. The passion from their fans is off the charts right now. You saw it last night on television in Detroit and the 49ers obviously coming back. It is great for football and it is most importantly great for fans.
On if injuries have increased this season following the work stoppage:
No, we are following it very closely. We have implemented a new tracking system for injuries. All of that is getting us better data. It is very difficult to start making a lot of conclusions so early in the season, but we are tracking it on a weekly basis. We will certainly have the results for that at the end of the season. It is something that we keep a very close eye on.
On the new injury tracking system:
It is a new tracking system to monitor injuries – when injuries occur, how they occur, and includes video so we understand exactly how they occur, when they occur and what types of injuries they are.
On concern that record-breaking passing numbers through Week 5 are a negative sign:
Part of my job is to always worry. You always look at the statistics and you try to see anything that may be what some may consider a positive trend that may not be such a positive trend or it may come with a negative trend attached to it. It is part of the business we have. The good news is that we monitor all of it, we are focused on all of it and we evaluate all of it. It is one of the great things to me about what the NFL always does. We start with almost a clean slate every year figuring out what it is we can do to address either trends that are happening or how we make our game safer and more exciting. It is what we do during the season and it is what we do with the Competition Committee all the way through the offseason. You want to be cautious of trends but you also want to be cautious of overreacting to them because they can change pretty quickly. We are still in the early part of the season before we can start making a lot of judgments about how the game has changed. Plus, it has been a little bit of a unique offseason. You have to take that into consideration.
On speaking with Mark Davis and Raiders CEO Amy Trask following the death of Mr. Al Davis:
I have not spoken directly to Mark. I have spoken directly with Amy several times. Amy is the one who called me on Saturday morning early. We did have a tribute to Al Davis this morning and all that he has done for the NFL and pro football. It is a pretty extraordinary accomplishment when you see it.
On this morning’s tribute to Mr. Davis:
A couple of us made remarks and then we played an NFL Films video narrated by Steve Sabol.
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