Tag:Roger Goodell
Posted on: December 16, 2010 10:11 am
Edited on: December 16, 2010 10:13 am

Goodell: Re-seeding playoff plans have 'merits'

Posted by Will Brinson

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Every week, it seems, there's some new argument for why [Insert your favorite NFC West team here] shouldn't make the playoffs in 2010, despite winning an utterly terrible division.

It was bound to come up at the owners' meetings as well (anyone else kind of chuckle at the thought of Bob Kraft stewing because Alex Spanos winked at him over that 8-8 season in 2008?) but don't expect anything regarding the way the playoffs are handled to change.

"I'm sure it will be [addressed]," Goodell said. "It's not a new conversation. We've had an awful lot of discussion over that over the past several years and I'm sure it'll come up again for discussion.

"I see the merits of what they're talking about, but I also believe our playoff system has worked quite well."

It has worked well -- even the most nightmarish of situations (the aforementioned 8-8 Chargers) didn't end poorly because San Diego played well in the postseason. But right now, the league is staring at a situation where St. Louis or Seattle get a home game in the playoffs with one of them sliding in at a best-case scenario 9-7.

Which is why Falcons President Rich McKay, co-chair of the competition committee, also believes re-seeding is something to be looked at.

"I think it should be discussed, and I think it would get more support than the last time," McKay said.

That's because right now, the idea of Seattle or St. Louis hosting a home game is pretty reprehensible especially if it means that a strong team like Green Bay or Tampa Bay gets pushed out for a team with a sub-.500 record.

That's not to say the committee should completely boot division-winning teams with bad records from the playoffs. That's a bit extreme, especially when you consider the success the NFC West has had in the past (the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks have all been to the Super Bowl in the past decade and the Niners are historically legendary or something). But removing the luxury of a home game from a 7-9 division champ seems like a reasonable step to take.

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Posted on: December 16, 2010 8:43 am

New CBA primary obstacle to NFL in Los Angeles

Posted by Will Brinson

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- The chatter surrounding an NFL team moving to Los Angeles has been heavy in recent months.

Magic Johnson is on board with bringing football back to the City of Angels, Bob Kraft's waxed optimistic about the move, and at least two NFL teams (the Chargers and the Vikings) have suspect stadium situations that make them prime candidates to move.

However, don't expect news on the LaLa front any time too soon -- Roger Goodell stated in his press conference following the owners' meetings that the primary obstacle to professional football in Los Angeles is currently the lack of a labor deal.

"I've said the No. 1 thing to make the economics work in Los Angeles is a new collective bargaining agreement," Goodell said. "I don't think it's a coincidence that we have not had a new stadium built since we entered into this collective bargaining agreement in 2006.

"The Giants and Jets stadium, the Dallas stadium and Kansas City were all far along in the process or at least along in the process that it couldn't be reversed. The economics of trying to build a stadium in the Los Angeles market are challenging and part of that challenge is the collective bargaining agreement so we have to get that resolved."

Goodell makes a salient point -- it's often assumed that once a group can find the funding there will eventually be a team that wants to jump into the nation's second-largest market.

But with the possibility of no football at all looming large in 2011, can it be assumed that there'll be football in Los Angeles soon? Of course not.

In fact, Goodell's words may serve as a nice (albeit not direct in any way) warning to any groups that want to try and pack up a club and drag them into downtown L.A. -- it's not going to be as easy as it looks, unless the relationship between a city and a club just completely dissolve in a quick fashion.

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Posted on: December 16, 2010 1:35 am

Goodell slings optimistic rhetoric on labor deal

Posted by Will Brinson

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- The NFL's labor negotiations (we'll upgrade them to "crisis" immediately following the Super Bowl, for those keeping score at home) have a chance of being completed by the end of the postseason.

That's the word from the owners' meetings in Fort Worth, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I don't think it's practical by the end of the regular season," Goodell said following the owners meetings. "We'll certainly work day and night to do that. I think the end of the postseason is realistic if we all work hard at it."

But if there's a reason for optimism regarding the labor negotiations, it wasn't being provided to the public from any of the NFL owners.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft earlier this season provided substantial optimism for the labor deal to be completed before the end of the season. On Wednesday, the only comment he would provide was, "The Packers are good!" (the Patriots play them Sunday, and he said it smiling and yes, it was funny). Goodell was more than willing, though, to provide a passive aggressive dispute of Kraft's previous statement.

"I don't expect it to happen in December," Goodell said. "I don't know if that's what Mr. Kraft said -- I think he said at the end of the season but I'm not sure if he meant the end of the regular season or the postseason. But you'll have to ask Mr. Kraft about that."

Whatever Kraft meant, there was clearly a signal crossed earlier in the year. That wasn't the case this time around in Fort Worth, when most owners appeared more inclined to silence than anything else.

Kraft offered no opinions on the labor negotiations, Dan Snyder bolted the Omni like he was headed for a Mission: Impossible premiere (sunglasses and all), Jerry Jones was actually unseen in his hometown, and any of the owners asked about the labor negotiations offered simply generic musings on what might happen, leaving only Goodell to offer cautious optimism of a new deal.

"The reality is, there are discussions going on but as I've said, it takes productive dialogue and we've got to get to that kind of place where we're making significant progress and get an agreement," Goodell said. "And I think it's a positive sign that we're having dialogue. But as I said it's not just about meetings or dialogues it's about getting real, significant progress on the key issues."

That's not to say that the NFL owners are at fault here, because, as always, it takes two to tango.

Asked whether he thinks the NFLPA feels the same urgency that the owners do, Goodell said, "I hope so."

That's the biggest problem though -- in order to find urgency, the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association need to be faced with a direct deadline regarding labor negotiations and stare the possibility of alienating fans in the face. Right now, that means that early March is the only looming date on the calendar.

"I don't have a deadline," Goodell said. "I believe that this becomes harder after the [CBA] expires, which is March 4. I've read comments about internal deadlines from the NFLPA and I'm not sure what that is.

"From our standpoint, we don't have a deadline other than to get this done as soon as possible."

The good news, though, is that Goodell and the owners do understand the danger in angering the consumer.

"Absolutely," Goodell said when asked if he was concerned with alienating fans. "That's why we all want to get it done. And that's why we're completely focused and make it the highest priority -- the fans want football. That's what we all need to continue to make sure we do, to bring football to our fans."

"I think I've been very clear that when there's uncertainty, that's not a good thing. It's not a good thing for the fans, it's not a good thing for your business partners, it's not a good thing for revenue going down the path. It could be damaging to the game and that's something we're trying to avoid."

Goodell also acknowledged how complex the current collective bargaining agreement has become.

"Well, it's labor negotiations and I think one of the efforts that both sides want to achieve is the simplicity of the agreement, because this has become a very complex agreement," Goodell said. "And there's an effort to simplify the agreement and that's a key priority for both sides."

Unfortunately, the complexity of labor negotiations aren't something that translate well to fans. Fans care about ticket prices, concessions, quality of their team's play and, most importantly, whether there's football on the field or not.

Right now, regardless of how many optimistic keywords the NFL (and the NFLPA) want to sling around, it doesn't appear there's a strong movement towards getting a deal done.

That's not to say that Goodell is bluffing with his Super Bowl deadline, it's just that he said himself it will take legitimate sit-down/hash-it-out negotiations in order to make something happen, and right now, that's not taking place.

And until it does, there is a very real danger that there won't be football in 2011.

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 12:08 am

Goodell tops SBJ top-50 list

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Sports Business Journal released its annual top-50 most influential list of the movers and shakers in sports today.

Not surprisingly, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is No. 1 on the list. The SBJ explains why:

Put aside the sheriff of the NFL tag, stratospheric TV ratings and his laserlike focus on the in-stadium experience, Roger Goodell has in part the fate of America's most popular game in his hands. The NFL commissioner must hash out a new labor deal to save the 2011 season — in other words, he has the primary influence in what the entire industry is watching most closely.

I wonder, though: if the NFL finds its season canceled next season, will Goodell still be No. 1 next year?

A few other NFLers on the list:

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, is No. 5, and this will be a big next six months for him. Can the union outflank the owners, get (most of) what the players want and keep the game going? Or will the owners stick to their principles and make this a tough fight?

Rounding out the top ten is Patriots owner Bob Kraft at No. 9 and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at No. 10. Just think where Jones would be if he didn’t have the Wade Phillips albatross weighing down his ranking.

And finally, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is No. 15, but it’s got nothing to do with how well his organization has performed this season. It’s all about the labor fight. 

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Posted on: December 10, 2010 8:12 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2010 8:13 pm

Will the NFL enact a sexual harassment policy?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

This has not been a great year for the NFL if we’re talking about possible sexual harassment charges. First, you had the Inez Sainz mess with the Jets, and now, the league – which has completed a report but hasn’t yet revealed the results – is still dealing with the fallout of the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger sexting case.

So, you can understand why the former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation would say that athletics are a bit behind the times when it comes to cleaning up the potential for sexual harassment.

"The corporate world is 25 years ahead of sports. Sports organizations still tolerate major athletes acting like little boys," Donna Lopiano, also the former University of Texas athletic director, told the NY Daily News. "They are still in the dark on gender issues. There is a desperate need for education."

You might recall that Jets owner Woody Johnson was tapped to pay for a training program for all teams on proper conduct in the workplace after the Sainz incident came to light. Still, according to Daily News article, the league does not have a formal sexual harassment policy.

Hopefully that will change after the Favre/Sterger case is resolved – which could happen as early as next Monday. In fact, Sterger’s attorney, Phil Reese, told Sports Illustrated that Sterger wouldn’t sue Favre, the Jets or the NFL if commissioner Roger Goodell suspends Favre and institutes a sexual harassment program.

From the article:

Lopiano applauded Sterger for insisting that the league develop an anti-sexual harassment program - and said it is something that should have done long ago. She said women face harassment in sports because most organizations' front-office employees are overwhelmingly male.

"It all stems back to the strong sexist nature of sports," Lopiano said. "That is understandable when your workforce is only 10% female."

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 7:37 pm

Sterger's lawyer says Favre investigation is done

Jenn Sterger's attorney said the NFL investigation into B. Favre has been completed. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

And now we wait to see what kind of punishment – if any – commissioner Roger Goodell throws at Brett Favre.

Joseph Conway, Jenn Sterger’s lawyer, told the NY Daily News that NFL director of investigations Joe Hummel informed him that the inquiry into Favre’s alleged sexting acts has been completed and that the report sits in the hands of Goodell.

At this point, I think we’d be surprised if Goodell suspends Favre at all, and he might walk away with all of his money intact, as Sports Illustrated’s Peter King previously reported.

If the investigation can’t prove that Favre was the one who sent those naughty pictures, even though he apparently admitted to sending the flirtatious voice mails, then Goodell might decide to blow off any kind of sanctions, particularly since Favre’s career is four games and counting.

Of course, there’s always the threat of Sterger’s representatives releasing to the media whatever kind of “evidence” they’ve got if they don’t get the ruling they like. Or they could file a lawsuit against the Jets and/or the NFL.

So, good news. If you like sleaze-fests (and who doesn’t?), this one isn’t over quite yet.

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Posted on: November 26, 2010 3:26 pm

NFL says union 'creating economic fairy tales'

Posted by Will Brinson

Everyone spent Thursday being full of thanks for the NFL. (The NFL also spent the day being thankful for its loyal constituents -- CBS boasted our highest ratings since 1998 thanks to a fantastic New England - Detroit matchup, FOX scored its best ratings in 15 years, and the NFL Network posted it's highest ratings ever.)

Seems Friday, though, was back to the grind of political attempts at rallying certain fans to either the owners or the players side. DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA executive director, kicked things off in a Bloomberg News interview, calling the lockout a "14" on the likelihood-of-happening scale, which only goes to 10.

"The magnitude of the loss would be at the very least about $160 million to $170 million per team-city," Smith said. "That is a conservative estimate of the economic impact."

Naturally, the NFL disagrees -- NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello even called the numbers "economic fairy tales."

"It is a series of numbers pulled from thin air in a misguided attempt to inject politics into the collective bargaining process," Aiello said. "There is a fair deal to be done and soon if the union will bargain with the same fervor it displays in creating economic fairy tales."

The "soon" portion is what fans care about, but that won't stop either side from preaching the "poorer me" version of their story; George Atallah, NFLPA representative, joined Mike Florio as the guest host of the Dan Patrick Show on Friday and pleaded the players case.

"The question I have for owners is why do you keep telling the fans the players get 60 cents of each dollar when it's just not true," Atallah said.

But from the "please handle this right now, thanks!" category comes the news that Atallah said the union is committed to devoting two weeks in December to intense negotiations, and the league is open to discussions as well.

"We have told the union leaders that we will be available to meet almost any time and are working with them on scheduling our next sessions," Aiello said.

So, to sum up: football is really, really popular and makes everyone involved really, really, REALLY big piles of money. And yet, the two principle parties are so concerned with how to split the proverbial pie that they're not focusing on what's important -- getting in the kitchen and baking that sucker so that fans will pay to eat it come 2011.

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Posted on: November 18, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2010 4:56 pm

Roger Goodell says he's 'proud' of Michael Vick

Posted by Will Brinson

Michael Vick once created arguably the most embarrassing fiasco for Roger Goodell's NFL -- a superstar of the highest-profile nailed to the wall for the most inhumane of crimes and sentenced to a lengthy prison term.

The depth of Vick's despair, though, only amplifies his second-chance success. It makes pretty good sense, then, that Goodell is pretty thrilled with how Vick's superstar-turned-con-turned-redempt
ion-tale is playing out. So much so that he's "proud" of Vick.

"I'm proud of how he has responded," Goodell told the New York Daily News. There are so many examples in our society of failure, people falling short. We need more success stories. I'm hoping Michael Vick will be a success story. People need to see that. People need to be inspired by that - a person made a tragic error and he's overcome it."

Goodell emphasized how impressive Vick's off the field performance has been, and he's correct in doing so.

There are a LOT of people who will never forgive Vick for what he did with dogs, and that's, frankly, kind of ridiculous (as someone who's owned/raised more than 30 dogs in 29 years of life, I feel appropriately qualified to say that). Why? Because no matter how heinous the crime that Vick committed, anyone who thinks that at some point in their life they won't want a second chance is silly.

"It's a good lesson," added Goodell. "There is not anybody out there who has not made mistakes."

But most important is the example that Vick provides -- he literally had everything in the world and lost it because of an obsession with a cruel hobby.

"There is a big message in what Michael is doing," Goodell said. "He’s a superstar athlete who everyone thought had everything in the world. He fell from grace tragically by making some horrific mistakes, paid a significant price, worked his way back in and now he’s being successful. It demonstrates to me to get to these young men earlier and work with them and make them understand their responsibility making decisions that will define them for a period of time."

The reason Vick's story exists is because of flaws in the societal system that never provided an young, rich athlete like Vick a substantial support system or appropriate mentoring. He did some really bad stuff as a result, but he paid the price, he's learned a lesson and now, directly and indirectly, he'll help steer other young men away from similar mistakes.

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