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.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: February 19, 2012 1:04 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

"Well, Goodell may not have been blessed with size or speed but he was blessed with a brain - how much less is that worth?"
As a Ravens fan, you'll never know....

Excellent article. Gooddell is driving this league into the ground with his BS. Eventually it will be flag football, where people like the great *gag* Ray Lewis won't ever be. While Steelers fan would love this, I doubt you thought about how this would be for Ravens fans. Oh...yeah...the brain thing...sorry. Maybe if I typed slower?

Since: Jul 7, 2007
Posted on: February 19, 2012 8:58 am

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

This 'article' is perhaps one of the most biased, lame and stupid things I've ever read.  Fans want to see football, more games equal more to watch - simple as that.  The union and players have done a fine job of selling the 'player safety' thing as the reason to not play more games, but I doubt that is the true motivation.  It all boils down to $$ since no one wants to do more for the same pay.  

Would the league generate more $$ with more games?  Well duhhhh.  It all depends on how it is distributed - that is the real sticking point.  Bottomline is they are all way overpaid to play a game - the players, owners and now commissioner - they have no social value other than entertainment.  Sure the players put their bodies on the line, but never forget their are a lot of other professions that do the same for thousands of dollars rather than millions - and they do it year round - not for 5 months on Sundays. 

Also, to quote a grossly overpaid diva like Roddy White as some voice of reason is just beyond stupid.  But one thing he said does stuck out "My god given talents feed me not him."  Well, Goodell may not have been blessed with size or speed but he was blessed with a brain - how much less is that worth?

Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: February 19, 2012 8:54 am

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Two more games, two more TV games, parking receipts, concession sales, yes he wants 2 more games to soak the fans for the weekly paychecks.

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 19, 2012 7:46 am

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

From what I have read that the Players are against this because of the extra wear and tear on their bodies.

This extra wear and tear will shorten their careers.

I think the number of games is fine and the only need to increase the schedule is because the NFL wants to increase it revenues.  No concern for the people who really make the NFL the players.    &nb

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 19, 2012 12:32 am

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Fans want the Blackout rule DROPPED FOR GOOD.

Really? So what you're saying is it doesn't matter how many fans show up at a game, you should have the right to watch it on TV for free anyway?  Interesting thought you've got there.   If you owned a team I'm sure you would do exactly that, you wouldn't mind a massive decrease in ticket sales and lost revenue in every other way people spend money at games.  You would do that as a favour to the fans.  Right !!!!!


Since: Dec 30, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:44 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

on one hand i would love an 18 game season more football. but every players records will fall because of 2 extra games. it will let lesser players break these records not good. when my team sucks i still watch just for players stats. so i think it would hurt the game if its not broke don't try and fix it. geesh rich people just can't help but try and bleed every last penny outta something till they kill it. leave it alone roger you pos.

Since: Feb 1, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:28 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

He is already turning it into 2 hand tap the least he could do is extend the season

Since: Jun 17, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 10:53 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Just as a side note what what you say here Jee.  The neutral site games aren't going to happen in Las Vegas because of the gambling community and you would still have to find places other than Los Angeles, London and Mexico where there isn't another game being played within 200 miles because of the teams that are already there.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 10:44 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Nonoe pays attention to the 4 pre-season games anyway, but they would if there were only 2 of them.The players will still be playing in 20 games.The fans will get to see 2 more weeks of football that counts!Everyone makes more money.It's win win win all around!

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 10:39 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Yeah the Super Bowl team plays 20 but they never complain. I played 18 I won't play in the Super Bowl yeah right. They should play more their getting paid for life 12 million for Football games. Stop crying sound like a bunch of Lil girls!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or