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: Feb 28, 2010
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:59 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I think Goodell is wrong.  The more fans that I talk to about the subject of the addition of more regular season games, the more tell me that they like the 16 game format.  If they are so concerned about the NFL players having less abuse on their bodies than why are they going to add more hits with at least 8 more quarters of gameplay for each player?  I don't understand it.

Also, the historic records are going to get smashed.  Drew Brees just broke Marino's record for passing yards in a single season.  A record Manning had been toying with along with other great QBs.  However, that record will be broke in the first year of this 18 game season, and then broke again and again.  All the records are going to be broke.  Just my opinion on the entire thing.     

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:22 pm

People want less Roger Goodell

Goodell is a self-aggrandizing reptile whose main specialty is placing his own face squarely in the middle of the media's coverage of the NFL.  His salary is a joke that indicates just how bleeped up the NFL is right now.  

Maybe Goodell figures that if he creates enough controversy, people will forget that the NFL is THE ONLY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUE THAT WITHHOLDS ITS PRODUCT FROM THE CITIZENS WHOSE TAXES PAID FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE STADIUMS.<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;">
Or, maybe he feels they will forget that the average family has been priced out of attending any games because of the ludicrous salaries and ticket prices, not to mention parking and concessions prices that amount to legalized felony theft.  Either way, it adds up to a league that is dangerously close to alienating the part of its fanbase that pays its bills.  

What happens when people start to lose interest and no longer provide the ratings that fuel giant TV contracts?  The NFL is going in the wrong direction with Goodell at the helm.  He should have gotten a pink slip, but he got a raise that is an insult to anyone who actually works for a living.


Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:11 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Goodell is wrong on this one.  We love football.  We also know that this just increases the chance of major injuries.  16 is pushing it based on the violent nature of this game.  He is not speaking for me.

Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:03 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Russianroyal ,
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;   You could`nt be more right he`s another suit , plain & simple more to the point . The moment someone says they know what YOU want , it`s just another way of saying what I want ! Less is far more in this case 16 games are plenty , that is why the NFL is loved it`s not like all the other sports OVER DONE & too long a season . For the obvious reason of injuries , you don`t want your team playing two meaningless games & someone gets hurt . Look this is the jerk that has us playing football games in London & Canada , he is also the jerk who mentioned the Super Bowl could be played out of the states !!!! Just another schmuck like OBAMA who wants to change this country , and take away everything we are & stood for as a nation ! Hey Goodell did you ever hear the saying , if it`s not broke DON`T FIX IT ????

Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:53 pm

Goodell King of Morons!

Goodell is a freaking MORON and has NO CLUE what the fans want.

Fans want the Blackout rule DROPPED FOR GOOD.

Fans want to be able to get PPV games on something other than a Dish.

Fans want to be able to listen to a game online without being extorted by

(several years ago a major cable company was working out a deal with DirectTV for subscribers to be able to purchase Direct ticket games on cable. They were also going to have PPV for individual games and guess what, the NFL squashed it and said DirectTV did not have the right to down-sell the games. The NFL continues to ONLY provide the Ticket on DirectTV, if you want the Online version only you CAN NOT BUY IT, you have to buy the season pass, then PAY for the Online version.)

Screw you Goodell, you don't give a dam what the fans want, so just do what your going to do and shut the hell up.

Since: Dec 17, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:44 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I guess he feels that he needs to justify his inappropriatelly high salary now. This topic has been discussed many times. Players do not want to hear any of it and who can blame them given the amount of injuries they sustain. Personally, as a fan, the current system is just fine and greedy NFL owners can get by with little less cash in their pockets at the expense of players health.

Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:36 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Goodell is only trying to please the fans that dont want to pay for preseason games. Who wants to pay full price for games that are as worthless as the probowl . He just wants the games to mean something for the ticket buyers because he knows the players wouldnt except that pay cut if they was to ask the players to not get game checks for the preseason. The players will never give up money so make them earn it. I guess its ok to make 12 millions dollars to catch 80 balls a year , but to run a multi billion dollar business you cant make 20 millions . You people are dumb.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:28 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Do they ever think lets not mess with what works so well now? Few players now can stay on the field for 16 games and playoffs. Add two more would any be able to?

Since: Dec 22, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:26 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I have a sincere questions for fans who want more regular season and fewer pre-season games.  Can you really evaluate your talent in a shortened preseason?  Your veterans have to have at least one full preseason game to be ready.  And if you have a new coach, system, or starting QB preseason games are extremely valuable.  I think the current system is pretty good.  If anything, they still may play too many games.

Since: Dec 22, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:19 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Maybe Roger should actually talk to some fans.  I'm one more fan that is totally against 18 games.  At some point, the league is going to have to think about protecting their most valuable asset- their players!  Who wants to watch 2nd string players battle it out in the playoffs?  Who wants to watch hall of fame careers shortened by injury?  No matter how many rules you put in place to "protect players" you will kill your product with 18 games.  These guys are too big, too strong, and too fast to endure that many hits from one year to the next.

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