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: Jan 19, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:00 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

lumpoco -
Really?  The only fan you speak for in favor of that sorry matchup is you.  Everyone wanted to see G-men-Pats as a rematch after their classic SB from four years ago.

Watching SF-Ravens would be watching paint dry.  A scintillating 6-3 extravaganza.
And giving teams 4 weeks rest is asinine.  You'd turn it into NCAA football, and we see what happens when you give teams that much rest.  A poor quality product.
Something like your inane posts.

Since: May 28, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2012 8:46 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Goodell has zero integrity.  Telling the truth is not important to him at all.

Since: Nov 7, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 8:42 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

16 > 18

It's not even close. The majority ( 90% ) wants to keep the 16 game schedule. Nobody wants to watch water down football. Goodouche is such a hypocrite, one minute he says its all about player safety. The next he wants 18 games ( more money ). They need to get rid of this idiot before there are teams in europe and the super bowl games are held there. Maybe he wants two more games so he can fine james harrison an extra two weeks.  


How much of the 20 million is roger paying you to wash his bawls?

Since: Jun 2, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 8:19 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I'm a fan and 16 games is fine with me.

Since: Dec 7, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:56 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I trust Commissioner Goodell is aware that fans also want prices of tickets, parking, food and drink, and souvenirs to be slashed in half, too.  Does this mean he'll press team owners  and jersey manufacturers to accept less revenue?  Unless the league is prepared to play year-round football, it'll have to draw a line in the sand and declare that 'enough'.

And unless Roger's ready to make owners and vendors concede some of their revenue for fans, he should think twice about telling players and coaches concede their well-being for an ever-lengthening season.  Do we really need to overlap NFL and MLB seasons more than they already are?  A sixteen-game regular season ought to be enough.

Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:44 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Absolute proof Goodell is completely out of touch:  The fans want less p.u.s.s.y rules, less penalty flags and less commericals as the march to flag football under Goodell's rule seems invevitable.  

I find it ironic that he seems to care about the players' health but wants to add more games? 

If this continues, I'm grabbing Cuban to pool our money together and start a league called, Real Football.  Goodell needs to be careful as the disgruntled chatter among hardcore fans is only gaining steam... 

Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:38 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

People argue, that they NEED those pre-season games to evaluate their players. But, with all the OTA`s, mini camps, and scrimages, they most likely know by the 3rd pre-season game who is going to make the roster. The last two games are more like, lets hope we don`t get anyone injuried, in a meaningless game.

Since: Apr 20, 2010
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:33 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Only a moron assumes he knows what the public wants. His opinion is biased by the $$$$. If he really wants to know what the people want they should find a way to poll the people who buy tickets and go to the games. You just roll into the stadium and your voice is heard. Instead they are going to arrange some numbers to try to make people see it their way. You want to know what we want? Ask us. 

Since: Apr 28, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:22 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I love the worked his way up from the bottom.  His Dad was a Senator so I am sure that helped a lot.  Goodell is nothing more than another worthless lawyer.  He worries about player safety but adds two games but the rules for the last two games are as follows; NO ONE is allowed to get hurt or face immediate suspension.  He keeps calling for an 18 game schedule that nobody except him and the owners want so that would be 31 people clamoring for it, not counting Goodell.  Green Bay has no owner so I do not count them.  He never played a down in the NFL in his life but the beatings these players take and earn him his unjustified salary do not hurt him a bit.  Where are the fans who want this, nobody can seem to find them.

The rules are getting insane and nobody can intrepet them and are enforced in varied fashion.  The defense is lucky it can be on the same field as the offense.  It is becoming just Quarterbacks and Receivers playing catch with each other.  Defense are afraid to hit people for fear of being penalized, fines or suspended.

Maybe the NFL is awash with money but I watched a lot less of it this year and really did not miss it much.  I'll probably watch less next year.  I love a good defensive battle but they do not happen much in the NFL and when it does it is by accident.  Goodell has done the NFL no favors.  The No Fun League fits well and soon it will be the Non-interesting Football League.

I also loved the argument that Goodell has allow players to make a lot of money.  It is people like me (now in past tense) that buy tickets, play the NFL stuff, watch the games, etc. that have allowed players to make a lot of money.  If the stadiums emptied tomorrow, there would be no money.  And Goodell could do nothing about it unless he can fine fans for not coming.  Roger is keeping up the family tradition of losers, Charles, Roger, etc.

But on the bright side dress code violations are down as is cell phone usage.  Celebrations are down as are sack dances and taunting.  Fewer footballs are being thrown into the crowds.  Good Job Roger!

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:05 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Goodell is completely clueless! Fans want more quality football...not more football in general. I would rather the season ended at 12 games (an even number) and give teams 4 weeks to rest before the playoffs. And have the top 4 teams play in the Super Bowl and a consolation game like they do in the Olympics.

I know I speak for many fans who really thought a 49ers-Ravens matchup would have been far more exciting than the hapless play of the Giants and Patriots. Most people only watch the Super Bowl for the insane commercials. But this year many people did not even bother to watch the commercials at all. They saw the commercials online where they could avoid watching the evil Bill Belichick go against Eli (to all those idiot NY Giants fans...Eli's given birth name is not Elite nor Elijah. It's Elisha. There IS a difference. I schooled you once...on Feb 5th and I'm schooling you again on Feb 18. Really....just how difficult is it to look things up online? Are NY sportsfans really the luddites that the media portray them to be?


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