NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tackled tough questions and addressed timely topics during a commissioner’s breakfast at Lambeau Field on Thursday, in advance of a “Kickoff Game” matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.
Goodell told breakfast-goers that he remains hopeful the players association will agree to an 18-game, regular-season schedule, and he added that the league wants a team in Los Angeles and that he foresees a team in the United Kingdom.
“Let’s see what the impact is on our players,” Goodell said of player-safety rules adopted in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players. “We think the players are going to see that 18 games aren’t too many. I think it’s still realistic. I think it’s a couple of years away. We’re going to do it right when we do it.”
On the prospect of a team in Los Angeles:
“We want our teams to be successful where they are. But we do want to get back to Los Angeles, whether it’s relocation or expansion. It may be something we want to look at,” Goodell said, referring to the prospect of putting an expansion team in Los Angeles.
Clearly, the commissioner wants to expand the game internationally.
“I think we have great opportunities internationally. We look to expand on that,” he said of what will be a fourth game played in London when the Bears and Bucs meet there in Week 7.
“I can see a team in the UK someday. We’re going to pursue that very aggressively,” Goodell said.
Goodell applauded the Packers’ recently announced plans for the expansion of Lambeau Field and he used the Packers and the new CBA and its inclusion of revenue-sharing as models for the continued success of the league.
“The impact you have on the NFL is felt throughout the league,” Goodell told a crowd of local politicians, Packers board members and fans.
Goodell spoke at greatest length on the merits of the league’s new CBA.
“That we have a 10-year agreement is extraordinary. It’s almost unheard of. It gives us the stability to grow our game,” he said in beginning to count off the positives of the CBA.
“We changed the way we approach the game,” he said of how it addresses player safety. “The reaction I’ve gotten from the coaches is that it’s good for the game.”
Goodell spoke of how the new CBA fixes a rookie-wage system that was “out of wack,” and he addressed the need “to do more for our retired players.”
He saved what he might consider the best for last when he spoke of the revenue-sharing agreement among the owners, which is separate from the CBA.
“That’s the strength of our game. That’s what keeps our game competitive. That’s going to make sure the Packers stay competitive in this league. We’ll continue to have the most competitive league in the business,” Goodell said.
The commissioner also told the audience that a new, eight-year deal with ESPN would be announced before the day was complete.
Goodell was introduced at the breakfast by Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.
“Roger, welcome to sunny Green Bay,” Murphy said.