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Commissioner Roger Goodell Discusses Enhanced Season

Per NFL Labor.

Commissioner Roger Goodell at NFL High School Player Development Clinic in Queens, NY - June 17, 2010

Why are you pushing the concept of additional regular season games?

One of the things when we discussed this a year ago and as recently as yesterday is what we need to do to make the game better. How do we improve the game, not only through rules and equipment, but also with offseason training? Should we do things differently? I think we have to. We have been making a lot of those changes but we have to continue to evolve the game in that way. And the players are a big part of that process.

Are negotiations getting contentious?

This is a negotiation. You have to have a dialogue about how to make the game better. That includes for fans. That includes for the participants, including the players and coaches. It includes the teams. That's what a dialogue is and that's what the dialogue has been and will continue to be.

Will it get more contentious in the future?

I can't tell the future of it. I know the intent of the NFL is to deal with this as we have in the past, which has been in a very business-like fashion with our partners and to make sure we do everything we can to make the game better.

On players' reaction against the 18-game schedule:

I've been talking about this for two years, including with the players. I don't think there's anything I'm not aware of with respect to the players. I will continue to talk with them, as we all will.

On 18 games and changes to training camp/offseason activities:

We do have to make changes. We've been very open about that from day one. We have to do that regardless. I think there are a lot of changes that need to be made about the way we prepare our teams and prepare our players. The game is changing, and we have to change with it.

What are other changes you are referring to?

You specifically mentioned training camp and offseason. There could be anything from roster sizes to injured reserve rules to something that focuses on the offseason and training camp. It's clear the fans don't want four preseason games. It's clear the players don't want four preseason games. They tell me that all the time. If you ask them that question, they'll tell you. And we really don't need it to make the game better. So we have to evolve just as we did a couple of decades ago when we went from six preseason games to four and went from 14 regular season games to 16. This concept has been done before as the game evolves and it helps improve the game.

Are voluntary offseason workouts really voluntary?

They are. But obviously there's a lot of pressure from teammates and coaches. I think we need to have some kind of guidelines and restrictions on what can be done and what can't be done in the offseason.

On developmental league and possible role UFL could play:

We know how to do football leagues. We've had developmental leagues in the past. We recently had NFL Europe as an example. I think our concept here is to have a league here in the states and to do it specifically to develop football players and football coaches and officials and football personnel so they get the chance to play the game. That's how players develop and get better. Our focus would be on allowing them to play the game.

On time of year developmental league would play:

There's a lot of discussion about that. Clearly offseason would be an important element. But there's been a discussion about maybe having a split season where you would also play during the NFL season.

On players' comments on 18-game schedule re: pay scale:

They are paid a percentage of our gross revenue that includes revenue from preseason games. What we're trying to do is figure out ways to grow those opportunities for the players. And when you explain that to them they understand. Also they are very focused on safety and that's a very legitimate concern. And they've engaged in that. I've had a great dialogue with them.

On concern by starters that will play more games than they do now because they sit out most of the preseason:

They used to play six preseason games. Part of the reason that the quality of those games is not good is because those players are not playing. It is another indication they don't need that to get ready for the season. So we have to adjust to what they're doing.

On extra two games adding up and causing more injury:

Injuries are part of the game. You can't prevent injuries. What you can do is do things to make sure that they are physically prepared, give them the best medical care, and make sure we're doing everything we can so that they play for as long as possible.

But that is two more chances they have to get injured:

Under your theory we should play 10 games. We play a 20-game format. One of the things that has changed in our game is that they are no longer playing in those preseason games. They're playing a game-and-a-half or two games and three games. That's part of the issue.