Roger Goodell Speaks Out, Part II

During last week's fall meeting, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke out about hot button issues such as extending the regular season, a potential spring NFL game, expanding the number of playoff teams, touchdown celebrations, and the CBA.

On the role the economy will play in the upcoming season for the league and the clubs:  


That's a pretty broad question, but the reality is it's going to impact us. The economy is impacting us directly, and our business partners and our fans. So we're sensitive to that, and we're looking at everything we do, whether it's our facilities, our stadium financing, or our pricing at the club level. We're looking at all of those issues to determine how to best work our way through this.  


Do you get a sense from the union that they are more sensitive to the risks the owners are taking on?  


I really believe the players recognize what's going on out there. Our business isn't immune. This is a very significant time with what's happening with the economy. And I don't believe our players would be insensitive to that either.   


Is that based on conversations with union executives or individual players?  


I have had discussions with union executives and with players.  


Is there a change? Previously, they ignored your complaints.  Has there been a change in emphasis?  


I wouldn't agree that they ignored it. Obviously, there are new developments over the last couple weeks.  We've seen this coming for quite some time. We've discussed this publicly and privately. There are risks in the marketplace. These risks are shifted to the owners and that's a significant risk that usually results in difficult economic consequences. That's what we're seeing in the market. I think the players recognize that, certainly in the economy we're in right now.    


Are you looking at reintroducing the idea of reducing debt ceiling? 


Yes. In this kind of market every company is evaluating their debt levels and we're not different from that. We have an obligation to do that on an annual basis. We're all concerned about debt in this kind of environment. You can see what it can do. Companies that are over-leveraged – that is what this is – this is a massive de-leveraging on a global basis. It can have significant consequences for a business and that is what we want to avoid.  


Is it a concern that the union will once again file a complaint if the NFL wants to lower its debt? 


They very well might, but we're running our business. We have to be able to run our business just like everyone else and managing your debt is a big part of that, just as it is for everybody.  


Are stadium costs the fastest rising costs you have? 


I'd have to look at it statistically. Either player costs or stadium costs, yes. Our costs continue to rise and revenues are under pressure right now.   


On the backlash regarding the NFL going overboard on cracking down on over-the-top touchdown celebrations: 


It is a fine line between an emotion and enthusiastic response that is natural versus something that is predetermined that is nothing more than to affect the other team or reflect poorly on the game. We always try to find that balance.  


So you are not trying to discourage it when it is spontaneous? 


No. It is a passionate part of our game, it is a big part of our game so we don't discourage that, but it can cross the line where it becomes staged and inciting to the other team, and that is a problem.   


Jags Illustrated Top Stories