Transcript: Rich McKay, Jeff Fisher & Dean Blandino Annual Meeting Press Conference – March 26, 2014
ATLANTA FALCONS PRESIDENT & CEO,
NFL COMPETITION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN RICH MC KAY
ST. LOUIS RAMS HEAD COACH & COMPETITION COMMITTEE MEMBER JEFF FISHER
NFL VICE PRESIDENT OF OFFICIATING DEAN BLANDINO
NFL ANNUAL MEETING PRESS CONFERENCE
MARCH 26, 2014
Jeff Fisher: In addition to the bylaw proposals and the playing rule proposals, we had some very lengthy discussions with respect to sportsmanship. Obviously we talked about conduct in the workplace and those discussions were equally as productive. But with respect to sportsmanship on the playing field on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday, the committee agreed. After looking at a lot of tape and after talking and consulting with different entities – the coaches subcommittee, the Players Association and others – we agreed that we have an issue on the field. We agreed that we are going to get it under control as soon as we possibly can. We will be working with Dean [Blandino] to put tapes together. Our taunting numbers increased from nine in 2012 to 34 last year and we are going to effect change immediately and that change will be effected as early as the OTAs when players come back. We’ve got to change our conduct on the field. We’ve got to bring the element of respect in its highest level back to our game. So in addition to these things, sportsmanship was a significant topic throughout the last couple days.
On what changes the Competition Committee is making regarding sportsmanship:
Fisher: We are going to clean the game up on the field between the players. The in-your-face taunting, those types of things. The language, it’s all in the book, it’s all under unsportsmanlike conduct. There is no change in the rule, we are going to enforce the current rule.
On if the taunting increased or if the penalties increased:
Fisher: It’s our opinion – the penalty is there – it’s black and white. The penalties increased, but we also feel like we missed some penalties. The incidents on the field have increased as well. We may not have flagged them all but we are going to raise the standard and Dean’s guys are definitely going to raise the standard.
On changes in the locker room:
Fisher: We spent a great deal of time with that in a lot of different meetings. Head coach only meetings, head coach and GM meetings, our special session with our ownership – we spent a lot of time on that.
On if sportsmanship will be treated as a point of emphasis:
Fisher: This is how we presented it. The committee’s position on this, in the past, taunting and sportsmanship is in the back of the book under points of emphasis. It is now in the front of the book. It falls in our book right after all the statistical things which were good about our game last year. So it is now a front-of-the-book issue. What we want to do is we want to put it back in the back of the book.