Blog Entry

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:39 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 9:42 pm
Whether fans want it or not (they don't appear to), what about the safety concerns of an 18-game schedule? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's salary will reportedly double to $20 million as part of a new five-year contract extension from the NFL. That's a lot of coin but if the league wasn't awash in money the owners wouldn't reward Goodell with that kind of payday.

Not surprisingly, some players were less than effusive when they heard the news, probably because depending on your perspective, Goodell's tenure as commissioner falls somewhere between awesome (the owners) and awful (the players). Falcons wide receiver Roddy White tweeted apoplectically Tuesday:

"How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that can't run tackle or catch?"

And before you roll your eyes, this isn't a "he's never played the game!" argument. When someone suggested that Goodell's oversight as commissioner has allowed White to make a lot of money, White got testy.

"Thats the stupidest thing i have ever heard the players make this league dont ever forget that," White tweeted in response. "My god given talents feed me not him."

This is true. No fan in the history of tackle football has ever bought a ticket to a game to see Goodell. We talked about this on a recent Pick-6 Podcast and our opinion is basically this: Goodell is a savvy politician who worked his way up from the bottom and is now presiding over the nation's most popular sport. He is responsible for it's growth, yes, but without players the NFL wouldn't exist in it's current form. We're pretty sure Goodell would agree with this.

We mention this because Goodell spoke recently about the state of the league, specifically addressing expansion ("We are not considering expansion. I’ve tried to make that clear when I was asked by Bob Costas recently.") and the never-gonna-die 18-game schedule discussions.

“Well, I appreciate the enthusiasm for it and I hear it from the fans consistently," Goodell told ESPN 1050, dusting off his not-entirely-accurate talking points from this summer's lockout. "People want more football. I think they want less preseason and more regular season and that’s the concept we are talking about here."

Again, this is stretching the truth. Everybody -- fans, players, media -- thinks the preseason is too long. But that doesn't mean they want, say, two fewer preseason games if it means two more regular-season games. Last May,'s Josh Katzowitz did an informal Twitter poll and found that 83.9 percent of respondents were fine with the 16-game schedule.

In February 2011, Sports Illustrated's Peter King did his own Twitter poll and concluded that "18 percent of 1,200 football fans, less than one out of every five, want what Goodell says they want. And 82 percent want to keep it at 16 regular-season games."

But even if you call B.S. on the self-selection bias in such polls, what about this? Goodell has championed safety above all else but isn't he talking out of both sides of his mouth when he says "safety is No. 1" and then clamoring for two additional regular-season games because the fans want it?

In November 2010, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said "The additional games, the studies show, will not really increase injuries."

Technically, Ross was right. Esquire wrote about this issue back in January 2011:
Dated September 6, 2010, the 26-page version (of a study conducted by an independent research firm for an NFLPA injury report) relies on data from the NFL Injury Surveillance System in following 16,552 injuries from 2004 to 2009 — position-by-position, game-by-game, and location-by-location.

Over the course of a season, the analysis found that 16.1 percent of injuries occurred in training camp, another 24.7 percent in preseason, and 57.9 percent during the regular season. In total, 21.2 percent classified as "major" injuries, with severity increasing dramatically from the regular season to the postseason. And while game-related injuries actually trended down from week to week, the report's introduction of head-injury data provides an alarming juxtaposition…
The juxtaposition? Total team injuries decrease over the course of a 16-game season and into the postseason but the percentage of brain-related injuries increases over that same time. (You can see the charts here.)

Perhaps that's a function of better awareness about the long-term dangers of concussions, as well as improved testings procedures. "Still," the Esquire piece concludes, "the early version of the report states that each player now has a 10 percent chance of suffering from a concussion in a given season."

However you spin it, that's not good.

Back to Goodell's recent radio appearance:

"We wouldn’t add an extra two games without reducing the preseason and we are not going to do it without the players support, so we did that in the collective bargaining agreement instead of having the unilateral right, which we had," he said. "We determined that we were going to do this together. We are going to make changes in the offseason and during the preseason and during the regular season to make the game safer. If we can accomplish that we’ll look at the idea of restructuring the season and taking two preseason games away and the potential of adding regular season games, but I don’t think that will happen until at least 2013 or 14.”

Conspiracy theorists might say that while Goodell's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits and unprotected pass-catchers does make the game safer, it's also something he and the owners can point to in a few years and say, "See, we take this very seriously, illegal hits are down, the NFL is less violent, the next logical step: 18-game seasons."

Because other than money, there's no urgency here. If Goodell truly is listening to the fans (or the players), this wouldn't ever come up again. We're guessing that ain't happening.

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Since: Sep 30, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:17 pm

Its a dumb idea.

Nobody can stay healthy for 16 as it is. Greed. Thats what this is really about.

Since: Jul 15, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:17 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

i wasnt asked....i do not want "more football"....hey commish do us AND yourself a favor....just leave it alone....guess 9 billion dollars isnt enough.....more games mean more surprise here....give the fans a piece of it and we'll want football year round.....injuries??  pleeze....ITS ALL ABOUT DA MONEY  pete rozelle must be rolling over in his grave watching this clown ruin the NFL......

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:17 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Football is great and it is exciting.  If the players complain about their health in an extended season, well that's too bad. They are supposed to be tough guys, the hardened guys, the immortal guys or whatever description they use to talk about how strong they are.  Guys fighting in Afghanistan for $30,000.00 a year is tough.  Football is a country club compared to real work. The players should keep themselves in top condition instead of driving drunk or getting busted for selling drugs.  The complainers can also choose another profession.  There are plenty of guys willing to step up and play football at a lower salary.
Way to step up and look like a true human being and care about your next man. In truth, you need to quit being a spoiled dolt and saying 'Too bad' if these guys are worried about injuries. And stop comparing it to our valiant men and women in the armed services because football players play a game. So they need to risk more bodily harm to themselves for a game just for our entertainment? Our heroes out protecting us are doing a real service and it's been known for years they are not valued nearly enough by the government in regards to their pay. The football players aren't to blame for that so don't even know why you use that silly comparison.

Football players who play a certain length of time risk not being able to even get out of bed later in their life. Their lifespan has also fell under the average of the common men as well so they don't live as long. But yeah...who cares right? Guess we should say that to those who also can not remember things because of the numerous concussions they suffered playing the game. Or how about past players like Dave Duerson who suffered brain damage while playing that effecting him in life leading a trageic ending? 

How about this...

A 2000 study surveyed 1,090 former N.F.L. players and found more than 60 percent had suffered at least one concussion in their careers and 26 percent had had three or more. Those who had had concussions reported more problems with memory, concentration, speech impediments, headaches and other neurological problems than those who had not, the survey found.

A 2007 study conducted by the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of Retired Athletes found that of the 595 retired N.F.L. players who recalled sustaining three or more concussions on the football field, 20.2 percent said they had been found to have depression. That is three times the rate of players who have not sustained concussions.

You're right. Real country club like. I'm sure Biff out there on the green has had similar issues.

 These guys make more money than the gross national product of a number of third world countries. They live the life of royalty and only work 16 weeks a year.  They spend the other 36 weeks taunting the average working Joes like us, showing off their bling, living in mansions the size of Lambeau Field and driving their Escalades with 24" gold rims.
 And there is the truth of it. You're simply hating against them because of their income as if it is their fault. Last I checked they didn't put a gun to the owners head and say 'Pay me or die'. By the way, if they increase to 18 games what do you think will happen? Players will want more money. 

The other reason to go to a 20 week season is it will keep the thugs off the streets for another three weeks.  It will also stimulate the economy by increasing business around stadiums and sports bars. It will also afford a greater opportunity for degenerates to get down.  The casinos and off shore betting parlors would love this.
More idiotic crap. For one, the length of the season won't change. Two preseason games go and replaced by two regular season. Plus this whole 'They are all thugs!' is a stretch of the imagination. How about that Bears player who accompanied a young girl to the prom because no one would go with her and he made her the life of the party just to do it. Or how about the Mario Williams foundation that helps hundreds of youth here in Houston. Or how about Charles Tillman's Cornerstone foundation that helps actually saves lives? In others words, there is a very very higher percentage of players who do good for the community and others than those who cause harm. The media doesn't always share those stories because they don't sell. Period.

 Let's play football!  While we are at it, let's expand the current playoff format from 12 teams to 16 teams.  The N.F.L. makes money during the playoffs, so another four teams can only add more dollars.  Quantity instead of quality.
That sounds great! I mean I did just watch my two favorite teams lose their starting quarterbacks, and then Matt Forte go down and Andre Johnson in several games. Heck, several of the Texans went down. Maybe if we get more I can watch the fourth string quarterback! Yeah that sounds awesome! Who needs to watch Jay Cutler when I can see more Caleb Hanie or Josh McCown!

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:15 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

i agree with 18 game schdule. 4 preseason games are a joke. people in many jobs work harder than fooball players. some of them are just as dangerous. if anybody that doesnt want to play 18 games go tell th coach you are a sissy and to put somebody else in.

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:14 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'


But don't tell me most NFL fans don't want an 18 game season if they can get one, that's a load of crap and you know it.  The only reason people like you talk like that is because you hate Goodell, no other reason at all.   Football is an awesome sport, but it has an incredibly long off season, something every fan I know hates.
You must not know too many fans, from what I am seeing here, the overall majority do not want a 18 game schedule. You might add me to that list. I do not want a 18 game schedule.

I was pissed when the league started charging for the preseason games, for season ticket holder. At that time the season ticket holders should have boycotted and not paid for the season tickets.

I don’t know of anyone in the group I hang around with that is anxiously awaiting a 18 game schedule.

Tell Goodell that he is taking the surveys in the wrong neighborhood.. I think he must be in redwings neighborhood taking the surveys. He and all three of his unemployed friends are looking forward to a 18 game schedule. All the fans he know what to have an 18 game schedule.


Since: Apr 9, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:12 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I like it!!!

Since: Oct 9, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:07 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Goodell is doing what every commissioner does when they have a little success.  They insist on more power for the office (Goodell demanded that the commissioners office have total responsibility when it comes to discipline, only Al Davis said no, how smart was he?), and then they start tinkering with the system because it is what they think is best for the game.  Goodell needs to take a look at what Dictator Selig has done to baseball, it is not the same game it was when he forced out Vincent, and most of the decisions he has made, made baseball worse not better.  Goodell is constantly talking about how great and strong the NFL currently is, but every other word out of his mouth is a plan that HE believes will make it better.  Take a step back and remember that the game was fine when you took the office.  Stop trying to fix what isn't broken.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:58 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

ok so 1 out of 5 NFL fans want more games. 

WOW.  There were so many stupid posts on this thread I had trouble deciding which ones to respond to.   I can't believe how naive some of you people are and how little you understand business in general.  I know you people think Goodell and NFL owners just lucked out and the game grew by accident, but that's not how businesses grow to the point where they gross 9 billion dollars per year.

What I'm saying is Goodell and the owners would NEVER introduce an 18 game season if only 1 out of every 5 NFL fans were interested in the season being extended by 2 games.  If 4 out of 5 NFL fans or even most NFL fans were against the idea they would have dropped it a long time ago, we wouldn't be talking about this today because they wouldn't risk losing their fans.  

It's incredible that you people believe the NFL just made a decision overnight without any market research that PROVES NFL fans want an 18 game season.  The NFL is a massive organization, the most popular and profitable sport in North America by far.  They didn't get to that point being stupid.

Finally, to the guy in this thread that complained about Goodell's salary, remember something.  Actually first of all, buy a business 101 book or a business for dummies book because you need it.  And second of all, almost every business on earth that grosses 9 billion dollars pays its top executive and leader 20 million dollars or more per year.   His salary amounts to less then 1/4 of one percentage point of the NFL's current revenue.  And considering the 20 million dollar salary doesn't kick in for a couple years, that 9 billion dollars will probably be 10 billion dollars by the time he gets to his max salary.  When looking at NFL revenues and what executives make elsewhere on the planet, Goodell is heavily UNDER PAID....  

It would be like one of you guys running a business that grosses one million dollars per year and the owner only paying you about 2,500 dollars per year.  It's the same ratio.  Or imagine running a business that gross I don't know, 10 million dollars per year but you only get 25 grand for your trouble.   I guarantee you wouldn't be there long....   Because the gross is so high, Goodell can afford to work for 1/4 of one percentage point, the owners new he was due a raise and they did the right thing.

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:56 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I still want less regular season games, I only want 14. 2 less preseason games is a good idea too. That way maybe the starters will play longer those 2 preseason games since it'll be a 16 game season to them that way.

I also do not want Thursday games. Keep most of the games on Sunday, heck I don't even want the MNF game, especially since I hate Gruden. I haven't been able to watch MNF consistently since school out on the WC, I work in the EC and everyone always goes to sleep after the first half, with very rare exceptions.

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:52 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

ok first of all the study cited is based on data collected from 16 week seasons so you can't really extrapolate that into an 18 game regular season aachieved by adding two more full contact games onto the wear and tear schedule (of course injuries dropoff in the playoffs, less teams are playing) it is just not logically sound..I mean by that rationale why not extend the season to 52 weeks and eliminate the ~40% of injuries that happen in training camp/preseaosn entirely?..Idiots!

second..if I am reading that right they are going to attempt to make the game safer and if they can accomplish that, then look at schedule expansion as early as 2013...well how in the blue hell are they supposed to reliably assess the effectiveness of their safety measures with one season?  I would bet a sizable sum injuries will drop off a fair bit next season vs 2011 because of the injury spike due to the lockout shortened preseason warmup period...but that won't mean their changes were effective.

I hate to sound like one of those conspiracy theorist crazies but I think this 18 week schedule is a done deal, and they will bend the results of such "studies" going forward to pass off their agenda.  I think it is a bad move on many levels.

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