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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.
NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
NFL ANNUAL MEETING
RITZ-CARLTON ORLANDO GRANDE LAKES
MARCH 26, 2014
On the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl and the effect it may have on future Super Bowls being held in open-air stadiums in cold-weather cities:
We discussed the Super Bowl in the context of what we achieved, the successes that occurred and things that we can do better. We do that every year following the Super Bowl and try to achieve a better event for our fans and for our teams. The overall reaction was positive. People believe that the Super Bowl was a great opportunity to put us on the number-one stage and promote the Super Bowl. There was a positive reaction to it. The only future discussion we had was really the bidding process in May and we already have three cities that are in that process.
On Woody Johnson reaching out to the NFL before signing Michael Vick and his thoughts on if Michael Vick is a changed person:
I’ll refrain from sharing anything about the conversation, but I’ll be happy to talk about the general views toward Michael. Michael is a young man who made a tragic mistake. He paid a very heavy price for it, but I’ve seen him, in everything he’s done, exceed expectations. He has worked very hard to be a positive force in a lot of different areas. That’s something I admire about him. When we went through the process of reviewing whether he would come back into the league, he demonstrated that he was somebody who was committed to saying, ‘I am going to do this the right way. I am going to be a positive force.’ He has, and I’m proud of the work he has done. I think that’s the kind of thing we should have.
On if the league has thought about having a larger psychological evaluation for players:
We’ve not only thought about it, we’re doing it. We look at the total wellness of an individual — the physical wellness as well as mental wellness and then we try to give them the resources to try to be able to deal with that. We have definitely made great strides in that. That doesn’t mean we don’t have more work to do. We continue to focus on that.
On the details of players being reviewed for mental wellness and will Jonathan Martin be required to the same evaluation:
The answer to your first question is that’s a medical decision. I’m not a medical professional. I’m not one that would dictate that. Those are done by the medical professionals that are joint medical professionals between the players association and the NFL. It’s their decision, the evaluation, and also whatever recommendations they might make.
On Jonathan Martin: I would have to check on that. I don’t know the details on that. I believe he has got some evaluation already.
On potentially expanding the playoffs and what are the next steps:
We had a good discussion on it on several fronts. As you know, the Competition Committee has been looking at this for a couple of years. We have discussed it in various committees, including broadcasting. We had a full discussion on the floor with the owners and other executives this week. I think there’s a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support, but there are also things we still want to make sure we do it right. We’ve been very incremental in trying to do this, but we believe competitively it could make even our races toward the end of our season even more exciting with more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans. We still want to do some additional work, including talking with the players association. We have a scheduled meeting set for April 8. This will be one of the things we’ll probably discuss and then we’ll also have to talk to broadcast partners and there are some scheduling issues that we still need to work through.
On if it could happen for 2014, 2015 or 2016:
It’s not out of the question, but we didn’t make that decision at all. We have more work to do. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t say that’s the direction we’re heading right now.
National Football League Teams With Experience, the Fan Experience Technology Company, to Offer Exclusive In-Stadium Opportunities
New Integrated Mobile Application Will Promote Unique Advantages
For NFL Fans
March, 25, 2014 – The National Football League and Experience (expapp.com), are teaming to enhance the fan experience on game day. Experience will deliver a mobile technology to participating NFL Clubs to facilitate in-venue seat upgrades and experiential opportunities for fans including exclusive offerings for Season Ticket Members. The NFL and Experience also will collaborate on future technologies to continue revolutionizing the in-stadium experience.
The NFL and its teams are constantly looking to heighten the game day experience for fans at the stadium. Experience will assist NFL Clubs in offering fans the opportunity to upgrade seats and purchase exclusive premium content such as getting on the field for player introductions, photos with the team mascot, in-seat visits from a cheerleader, postgame press conference access, and other special in-venue opportunities using their mobile device. Experience’s unique technology can be integrated into each participating Club’s existing online and mobile applications for a seamless fan experience.
“There is no place better to watch an NFL game than at the stadium, with 70,000 other fans,” said Brian LaFemina, NFL SVP of Club Business Development. “We are pleased to work with Experience to provide technology our teams can leverage as they continue to make the game day experience at their stadiums even better for their fans.”
Tripp Rackley, Experience chairman stated, “Leveraging our technology, each NFL Club will have the opportunity to tailor offerings for fans, including Season Ticket Members, in order to make the most of each game day. Ongoing, we will work side-by-side with the NFL to develop and deliver new technologies in support of our joint goal of ensuring fans maximize their in-stadium experience.
NFL Clubs currently offering the Experience technology include the Atlanta Falcons, the Super Bowl XLVIII champion Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. These teams are deploying the Experience technology to provide additional value to Season Ticket Members as a way to thank them for being such loyal fans.
Experience is the fan experience technology company dedicated to making sure fans have fun at live events. With Experience, fans can create a memory by upgrading their seats or participate in other unique experiences all from their mobile device. Experience is the official upgrade partner of MLB.com and the preferred mobile upgrade provider for the National Football League (NFL.com). Additionally, Experience is the preferred partner for Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster, enabling their millions of fans access to upgrades and experiences at live events. Learn more by visiting expapp.com; follow us on Twitter @ExpApp or Facebook at facebook.com/ExpApp. #makeitmemorable
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“Ralph Wilson was a driving force in developing pro football into America’s most popular sport. He loved the game and took a chance on a start-up league in 1960 as a founding owner of the American Football League. He brought his beloved Bills to western New York and his commitment to the team’s role in the community set a standard for the NFL. As a trusted advisor to his fellow league owners and the commissioner, Ralph always brought a principled and common-sense approach to issues. His lifelong loyalty to the game was instrumental in his richly deserved induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We are grateful for his many contributions to the NFL and offer our heartfelt sympathy to the Wilson family.”
Chicago Bears tackle JORDAN MILLS earned the top figure in the NFL’s “Performance-Based Pay” program that compensates players for playing time based upon their salary levels, the NFL announced today.
Players will receive $110.72 million in Performance-Based Pay for their performance during the 2013 season. By agreement with the NFL Players Association, the players will receive their performance-based pay distributions on April 1, 2016.
Mills, the Bears’ 2013 fifth-round draft choice (No. 163 overall) from Louisiana Tech, earned $318,244 in additional pay. He played for the league’s rookie minimum salary of $405,000 last year and an additional signing bonus of $164,800. He participated in 96% of the club’s offensive plays, as well as 15% of the club’s special teams plays.
Players have been paid over $800 million cumulatively since the inception of the Performance-Based Pay program, which was implemented as part of the NFL’s 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.
Under the Performance-Based Pay system, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.
Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a “player index.” To produce the index, a player’s regular-season playtime (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player’s index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his pay.
For the complete release, click here
NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
NFL ANNUAL MEETING
RITZ-CARLTON ORLANDO GRANDE LAKES
MARCH 24, 2014
On Jim Irsay getting treatment and also potential discipline:
That’s the first priority. He is seeking help and he has done that voluntarily. That’s the most important step, at least initially. To my knowledge, I’ve been in a room all day today, but there are no formal charges at this point. We obviously will want to understand the facts before we take any steps as it relates to any discipline. Obviously, any policies or any laws that are broken – whether you are commissioner, owner, player or coach – subjects you to discipline.
On disciplining other players named in Ted Wells report:
Our focus right now, at least in the case of three players, is that they would be evaluated. We’ve talked with the union several times about that and we agreed that was the right step. Once they’ve been evaluated, the medical professionals – joint medical professionals – will make a determination whether any treatment is necessary and it will be a requirement that they fulfill that.
On if suspension is possible:
The first thing is to get the evaluation and determine what the treatment is. Depending on what the doctors prescribe, that could prevent them from being a part of football for some period of time. But that is a medical decision.
On the Raiders stadium situation:
Mark (Davis) is closer to the matter than I am. I know our staff was engaged last year with the Raiders. I haven’t gotten an update on that in quite a while on that. I know they signed an extension and we actually approved that today –a one-year extension. So there have been some obviously positive discussions. What that means for the future – I don’t know.
On resolution that enables teams to cover some seats:
It is to give our teams flexibility and to be able to manage their season ticket bases and their individual ticket sales. That’s all changed a lot. Technology has changed that. We are working harder to keep our stadiums full. We were fortunate to have 99 percent of our stadiums full this year. That is something we are going to have to continue to work on. These kinds of policies are fan friendly in the sense that they allow our teams more flexibility so that games can be shown on television and we can make our games more accessible in the stadium. We want out fans in the stadium and we think that experience is the best experience.
A total of 32 compensatory choices in the 2014 NFL Draft have been awarded to 13 teams, the NFL announced today.
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 224 choices in the seven rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10), which will kick off in primetime for the fifth consecutive year.
The first round will be held on Thursday, May 8 and begin at 8:00 PM ET. The second and third rounds are set for Friday, May 9 at 7:00 PM ET followed by rounds 4-7 on Saturday, May 10 at 12:00 PM ET.
This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.
Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.
The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the number of compensatory picks to the number of clubs then in the league (32). This year, three clubs – Chicago, Atlanta and Cincinnati – qualified for compensatory picks under the net loss formula but will not receive those picks because they ranked 33rd, 34th and 35th, respectively, among all compensatory picks. Atlanta and Cincinnati will receive picks for other compensatory free agents lost who ranked within the top 32 compensatory picks.
A fourth club, Oakland, did not suffer a net loss of compensatory free agents last year but qualified for a compensatory pick because the compensatory free agents lost by the club were ranked higher than the ones they signed (by a specified points differential based upon salary and playing time). Because such picks are awarded after all compensatory picks at the end of the seventh round have been made, Oakland’s pick effectively ranked 36th among all compensatory picks, so the club will not receive a selection.
For the complete release, click here