Following is a transcript of today’s conference call with NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson:
NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay and
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson
NFL Annual Meeting Conference Call
March 16, 2011
Ray Anderson: Our Competition Committee meetings, as you know, started in Indianapolis and continued here in Naples, FL for seven days. It seems like forever. Certainly a big focus of both of those meetings was player safety. I’ll just say a few words on the process of our discipline and then turn it over to Rich to review some of the proposed advancement to player safety rules and other focuses that we’ve had in these meetings. With regard to the discipline process per se, we discussed that subject at length with the committee with regard to our safety rules enforcement and the emphasis and the upgrades that we had during the 2010 season.
The Competition Committee was fully supportive of the way discipline was handled, but we always know that there are ways to improve and we plan to do that with more communication in advance to players, clubs and coaches with regard to what is expected. But the committee certainly fully supported the aggressive protection of defenseless players and aggressive protection against unnecessary hits to the head, neck area, and illegal helmet hits. We understand that we need to continue in terms of disciplining to discourage repeat offenders and flagrant violators and hold not just players but coaches and clubs accountable for playing to and coaching to the rules. There will be strong support in the 2011 season for making sure that players understand that, when warranted, suspensions will be an effective discipline for us. We don’t want to go there, but if we must we’re prepared to do that because these rules are meant to protect everybody on the field and all are accountable to those player safety rules. So discipline, and aggressive discipline, for these player safety rules and violations, particularly the ones that we all know can be devastating, will be an emphasis in 2011 and we’ll be able to answer your questions about more specifically what that might entail at the end of the session, but there’s a clear acknowledgment that we need to be aggressive in disciplining and we will give very clear advance notice to all players and all clubs as to what that could potentially entail.
With that, I’ll turn it over to Rich McKay, our chairman.
Rich McKay: Let me go back a little bit and just go through our Competition Committee process. For those of you that have been on this call before I know you’ve probably heard it before, but I do want to go through it. We survey all the clubs, all the coaches, all the general managers to do a couple of things: number one, to review what went on in 2010, to review the changes that we implemented in 2010 and to get their feedback on the same, and also to look at any proposals they may have – any ideas they may have – with respect to 2011. We did that again this year.
We then go to Indianapolis where we have a session with the players. We meet three days as a committee. We have a session with the players, an afternoon session. We had a long session with the Coaches Subcommittee – Coach Madden’s subcommittee. We get all their feedback on the rules that we’re talking about proposing. This year much of the focus was on the safety rules. Then as both Greg and Ray said we go to Naples and we spend seven days. In Naples what we do is we go through every suggestion brought up by clubs, fans, media, the Coaches Subcommittee, and we try to digest the players’ feedback that we got in Indianapolis and how we should incorporate that into proposals. This year, I would say that we have probably the smallest number of playing rule proposals I remember in a long time. There are only five playing rule proposals and in reality three major proposals, if you will. We have no by-law proposals and we have a number of positions and clarifications. I’ll go through the major playing rule proposals now and I’ll let you ask questions when we get to the end of it.