COMMISSIONER GOODELL ON THE DOUG AND WOLF SHOW
WITH DOUG FRANZ AND RON WOLFLEY (PHOENIX)
On the Cardinals having back-to-back Sunday Night Football games and talking to Ron Wolfley as a result:
I would talk to Wolf anytime. It is a big weekend and it's fun for the NFL and I know it's fun for the people of Arizona.
On the dynamics of football that make it so popular:
I always think everything starts with the game, Wolf. The game is just such a fantastic game. It's the competitiveness of it, it's the excitement of it, it's the tremendous performances both individually and team wise and this year we've had an incredible season to start. Our average margin of victory is at a record low, we have more comebacks in the fourth quarter than we ever had in our history and we have the closest games we ever had. I think we have more games within the margin of seven points than we ever had, so the game is always to me what it starts with, but I also believe there's nothing that brings a community together like football. It's amazing how they rally behind the Cardinals and Arizona now, it's a sense and source of price and that's what it is that I think really makes a difference.
On what Arizona is doing right as a community to earn more Super Bowls:
I think the most important thing is the leadership and your community has demonstrated that leadership. It starts, for me, with Mike Bidwill. His leadership has been extraordinary, not just in that community but within the NFL and his fellow owners respect him a great deal. I rely on Mike a great deal. He's got a position in the NFL that people admire and respect and then obviously he was able to work with community leaders and build a stadium that is extraordinary. As you point out, that stadium is at about 11 years old now and it's 100 games and all of them being sold out, that's been a great thing for the Cardinals of course and for the NFL, but also that community and all the events that are coming. That's a community coming together, building something terrific and then using this with a great community to pull other events in. That's a wonderful thing for us and as for the Super Bowl, we couldn't be more pleased with the experience we had last year. I think we've had two since the stadium opened up and that community just did an extraordinary job. They made all of our gusts feel welcome. I think they demonstrated how vibrant and how wonderful that community is and we look forward to coming back.
On the status of Daryl Washington:
Well, I can't say much about it. As you know, the NFL's substance abuse program is something that's collectively bargained with the Players Association as part of the CBA. A very strong tenant of that agreement is the fact that the program remains confidential and circumstances surrounding it stay confidential between the various parties. We have professionals who work on it. They make determinations, they work with individuals who are in the program and they make recommendations back to the NFLPA and the NFL. I am not directly involved with it, but I am aware that his status is unchanged and will remain so until the professionals are prepared to move him forward.
On how he sees his role evolving when it comes to player discipline:
Commissioner: Since we negotiated in 2011 with a historic 10-year labor agreement, this has been part of every CBA prior to that. It wasn't even discussed at tremendous length in our negotiations. This is something that's been accepted -- that someone has to have full authority to protect the brand of the NFL – the shield as we like to say – and the reputations of everybody involved with it and it's within the context of policy. So we all have obligations. We all have restrictions with respect to that and rightfully so, but we want to make sure that we're doing what's best for the NFL overall and they're not always popular decisions, but we have engaged with the Players Association for four years now on various changes to our discipline process. We are open to them. We are willing to do that but we're not prepared to go to third-party arbitration where we hand it off to somebody completely unrelated to the NFL and that's been part of the issue. We believe if there's a discipline issue involving our organization, just like any other organization probably including yours, that those are issues that should be dealt with by the organization within guidelines, within structures and within policies. So we believe in that, but we obviously are more than willing to make changes to the discipline process and we've done that as it relates to on-field discipline and to the drug program as recently as last fall. We believe that can be done here and improve the program. At any point in time you can improve your program.
On the possibility of moving to a schedule with 17 regular-season games and 3 preseason games:
No, I don't remember talking about a 19-week regular season, Wolf. I know that we've had a great deal of discussion about the structure of our season. The off-season, how we train, as you know we made tremendous changes in 2011 in our CBA of the offseason training. We've discussed the structure, we didn't reach any agreement and decided that that would be something we'd talk about in the future. In the short term, we have spent a great deal of time talking about the quality of our preseason. The question from a football standpoint point, Wolf, is do we need three preseason games? Four preseason games? Or could we even go to two? I think the general view from our Competition Committee and many of our football people is that you certainly could get through with three preseason games. We have not talked about adding a regular-season game because that would have to be collectively bargained with the union. We would not have to, if we reduced from four to three, to do that through collective bargaining.
On if he would trust Wolf in a foreign country:
I'm not sure, Wolf, do you even have your passport?
On if the Cardinals would be affected in terms of scheduling from the L.A. situation:
Well, those are part of the considerations, Doug. We're a long ways from that at this stage. I think our focus right now has been obviously one, can we make sure that there are no potential solutions in their current markets that can work to keep their teams there successfully for the long-term. If someone doesn't and can't reach those kind of long-term agreements, then how would they necessarily qualify for the Los Angeles opportunity and which of those projects makes the best sense for long-term success in Los Angeles. Of course, that's an issue. Ultimately there are ways to deal with that, whether it's realignment or even through scheduling. We think we can deal with some of that now through our cross-flex and flexible scheduling that have advanced from where we were, even several years ago. So I think there are ways with which to deal with that. I think we are still in another stage at this point of trying to make sure that we can try to address the matters in their current markets, and if we can't then we have to make determinations on Los Angeles.
On if his number-one priority is hoping the teams will stay in their current locations:
Well you always do, and we always try to work to avoid relocations. The struggles these teams have had in each of their markets to get suitable stadiums for long-term success are no secret. San Diego has been going through it for about 12 years, Oakland has gone through it for very close to the same period, and so have the Rams. So these are issues that have been trying to be addressed in those communities. Those communities are focused on it, we met with them here in New York last week, the committees, to see what they were proposing, how those proposals could work. And that is very much the key focus right now, Doug.
On if he is spending time over the holidays back home:
Wolf, you and I wish we were going back. I love going back to Western New York, it's my home, and I always will state that I love being there but I won't be there. It's not my wife's home, so I'm going where my wife tells me this time, Wolf.
On thanking him for his time this morning:
Thanks, good to be with you Doug and Wolf.
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