DALLAS (FNN SPORTS) – Commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference at the NFL December meeting in Dallas, Texas.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Statement
Roger Goodell: Good afternoon. We had a very productive and excellent session today. I’m sure you will ask questions about that and I’ll be happy to answer those. In addition, we had a lot of focus over the last couple of weeks on the game. Coming into Week 15, we’re all excited about where the state of the game is and the competition on the field. Frankly, to me, the fact that of our eight divisions, six of them are led by a team that was in third or fourth place last year, that really indicates the competitive quality that exists in our league. I think that is exciting. It’s exciting for our fans, it’s exciting for us. It is sometimes difficult on teams, but this is something we strive for and we’re very excited by.
On your extension – what are you feeling on the process? On this being your last contract, what does this mean going forward?
RG: On the subject of this being my last contract, I haven’t made any determinations. This is something where I’m looking forward. I’m looking forward to the challenges. Our league is in a great position but we obviously have challenges just like any other industry. We are excited about addressing those as a league, and I think we are doing that from a position of strength. As far as the process, that is how we operate in the league. We have different views that makes us stronger. I respect that. I respect Jerry. I respect everyone else in that room. They all have strong views about the way we do things and that is what has made us successful over the years.
On your relationship with Jerry Jones:
RG: My relationship with Jerry has been great. We don’t always agree. I’m not paid to agree and he’s not paid to agree with me. That is, again, what the strength of our league is. As a league, we are stronger when 32 teams are together. We have our differences but we work together to try to solve those differences and address them in a way that is responsible. I think we have done that.
Did you lead Jerry to believe in any way that Ezekiel Elliott would get no suspension?
On league suspensions & player discipline off the field – do you feel the need to revamp how you do that?
RG: We have discussed this with our Players’ Association. I told the ownership this earlier today. I can remember the first meeting, it was June 2012, less than a year after we completed our CBA – let’s address the way we are dealing with discipline. There are better ways to do this and we just haven’t come to an agreement on that. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of focus on that, but the reality is there are very few circumstances. They get a lot of attention, I understand that, but that is something I’m sure will come up in the context of the next CBA. We have always been willing to consider that.
On the longevity and the rigors of this job, when is ‘enough’?
RG: I’ve never thought of it in that context until just now. The job changes. I think the challenges are different now. I worked as the Chief Operating Officer for Paul [Tagliabue] for several years. I knew Pete Rozelle quite well and worked for him, also. I think there is a limit to how many years you should serve in this, but that’s a determination that’s made with the ownership and also by yourself and your family. That’s something that we’ve done. I’m prepared and ready to go.
On attendance update at this point & any data to suggest fan reaction to anthem protests:
RG: Our attendance is off by one percent. We are over 98 percent filled to capacity, which is about where we’ve been in the past. We have three teams that have either recently gone through transitions or are playing in temporary facilities so that’s something that we knew we were going to have to deal with going forward. I’d also tell you that there are a lot of changes going on in the marketplace with respect to events. I just met with our longtime partner TicketMaster about the way tickets are sold for our sports and entertainment events. That’s why we entered into a new deal with them recently to try to be able to address those. Secondary ticketing – all those issues are affecting the ways our events are being held, the way we sell them, and we’ve often said that one of our big challenges is making sure that in-stadium experience continues to be outstanding. As technology gets better, the at-home experience gets better. They can view it on different platforms. They don’t have to do it at home, they can do it via mobile. That’s why we’ve moved into Verizon to try to make our games more accessible to and across carriers.
On the NFL Network sexual harassment allegations:
RG: We take that very seriously. Those are issues that are important to us. We want to make sure that all of our employees, whether at the NFL Network or at the league office or at clubs, are working in a safe and comfortable environment. Any time that doesn’t exist, we are going to make sure that we deal with that very quickly and very seriously.
On there being a investigation into the NFL Network sexual harassment allegations:
RG: Yes. Absolutely. It is a matter of litigation.
On the contingency element introduced into the Commissioner’s contract by Jerry Jones; is it emblematic of a rift going forward?
RG: Do I look like I take it personally? Jerry, do I look like I take it personally? [pointing to Jerry who was in the room]. No is the answer to that questions. As I have said before, I think people disagree. People who have the ability to do that within the context of our structure is something that makes us stronger.
On changes to the structure of the league office:
RG: We are always working to try and make our league office more efficient and more effective in order to perform at a higher level. The things that we are asked to do now are different things that we were asked to do in the past. The environment that we are all operating in is different. We always look to improve, that is a constant for us. We will make whatever changes we think are necessary to improve.
On changing the guidelines of how the Chairperson of the Compensation Committee is selected. Why are you supportive of that and why do you think that is needed?
RG: I’d back up. In the past, the Compensation Committee was determined by the Commissioner. A few years ago, I changed that. I said that I would appoint a Chairman and that the Chairman would appoint the remainder of the committee. In the context of all of this, if there a better way of selecting the Compensation Committee, I am certainly open to that if the membership approves it. It is fine with me.