Ask the Commissioner
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM ETCommissioner Roger Goodell
With six weeks of the NFL season in the books, Commissioner Roger Goodell stopped by to answer fan questions on Thursday, Oct. 21.
â€œIn recognition of national Breast Cancer Awareness Month that we have been celebrating," said Goodell, "we are focusing this chat on our female fans. Questions on any subject from all fans are welcome.â€
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comGood afternoon. I hope youâ€™re enjoying the season so far. There are 13 teams in first place right now, the most ever through the first six weeks of a season plus 21 teams with .500+ record, tied for most ever entering Week 7. Earlier today I answered questions from our staff in another of our â€œTown Hallâ€ meetings. And now I will take your questions. A shout-out to all of our female friends during national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are proud to bring attention to this important cause and I especially look forward to responding to questions from some of our female fans today. Letâ€™s get started.
Kelsey, North Carolina
4:01 PM ETHave you given any thought to donating the money from illegal hit fines to solving the neurological issues faced by retired players on both sides of the ball?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comYes, Kelsey. In fact, player fine money that our office collects goes to the nfl players assistance trust and charitable initiatives supporting youth, education and sports-related medical research. We are investing in other ways in the overall concussion issue.
Patricia, Los Angeles
4:03 PM ETDo you think Magic can accomplish his goal of bringing football back to LA? Is there any chance the Chargers could move. I as a chargers fan would love it
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe worked with Magic Johnson as one of the potential ownership groups who was interested in bringing a team back to LA in the '90s. He's passionate about the NFL and certainly understands the LA market. However, without a new CBA, it is highly unlikely we could finance a new stadium that would be required.
4:06 PM ETDo you think the new "hit rule" will change the game?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comChris, it is not a new hit rule. The rule has not changed from the rule that was adopted this past spring by the membership after careful study by the competition committee. It is intended to take techniques out of the game that have had a higher risk of resulting in injury. We've done this over several decades to make the game safer while still maintaining the integrity of the game.
4:09 PM ETMr. Goodell, You have stated player safety is one your highest priorities. Why then do you insist on extending the regular season by two games? There is a huge difference between meaningless exhibition games regular season games.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comUnfortunately, players get injured in preseason games. You always have to do what you can to make the game safer for the players. That includes the offseason, preseason, regular season and postseason. We are working closely with our players to do it right. We're not proposing a change in the 20-game format, but fans have been outspoken in a lack of interest with our preseason. It's similar to what we did in 1978 when we went from 14 regular season and 6 preseason to the existing 16 and 4.
Stephanie Istvan, Johnstown, PA
4:14 PM ETWhy is the NFL so tied to Breast Cancer Awareness? As a female, I feel it is a cheap marketing gimmick aimed at increasing female viewership. How do you respond to those claims?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comStephanie, it's the first time i've heard that reaction and I respect your opinion. As someone who lost my mother to breast cancer, anything we can do to create awareness of early screening and treatment can help save lives. We have many touching stories about players and coaches that have been impacted by breast cancer, including my personal inspiration, Stefanie Spielman. Her husband, Chris, took a season off from the NFL to care for and support Stefanie.
Jeff "Cheezy" Miller, MN
4:18 PM ETHow can you justify allowing the labor disagreement to go on. It is nothing but bunch of millionairs crying to a bunch of billionairs. What about the average fan, that spend alot of money to keep the billionairs and millinairs in their money. Do you really think it is good for football to allow the owners to lock out the players and not have football?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comIt's not up to me to justify allowing a labor disagreement. Our players and clubs must reach an agreement that works for both parties. Work stoppage is not good for anyone, including the fans. I will work night and day to ensure we have a fair agreement that works for all sooner than later.
4:21 PM ETMr.Goodell as the commissioner shouldn't you have a say in if players can return to the game after receiving concussion.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comDylan, we strongly believe that these are medical decisions that should be made by medical professionals. NFL players have the best medical treatment in the world. I don't make medical evaluations, but we have established with doctors and players a policy with respect to return to play which requires a proper medical evaluation before returning to the field. The good news is this policy has been used to create similar policy in the military as well as other sports.
4:23 PM ETHi Mr Commissioner, are you excited to be coming to London in two weeks, what can us fans expect from you in Trafalgar Square? xx
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comJanet, I'm looking forward to being in London next week. This is always an exciting time for the NFL and most specifically our UK fans. I will be at Trafalgar Square to meet with fans and participate in the pep rally. I hope to see you there.
Many fans have asked about future games. They have been tremendously successful based on the reaction in Mexico, the UK and Canada. We hope to continue and expand the series in future seasons.
4:27 PM ETFavre probably messed up a little but I don't think the players have been given fair warning in the area of workplace conduct with women around..and that should be the initial focus I think..he is nothing like the Steelers QB and has never had an issue in 20 years..hopefully you'll take these things into consideration when reviewing his case
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comStacey, we are treating this circumstance seriously and gathering all the facts. Workplace conduct is the main focus. Each of these cases are looked at individually and we have to be thorough and fair. We also are working hard on the development of our workplace conduct training program for all teams. We are working with experts in the field and expect to roll it out to our teams by the end of the season.
Vickie Long, Chesapeake, Virginia
4:30 PM ETIf the N.F.L truly apprecites its fans, why is the Super Bowl on Sunday Nights, when the whole world has to go to work the next day? Knowing it's a national event, why isn't the game on Staurday Night?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comSunday afternoons have allowed us to reach the highest number of people. We start the game at 6:30 pm ET to make sure the maximum number of fans around the world can see it, including our youngest fans. Last year's Super Bowl was the most-watched show in the history of television. There's a possibility if we go to the enhanced season, depending on how it is structured, Super Bowl could be played on the Sunday of Presidents Weekend which would address your issue.
robert , charleston sc
4:33 PM ETwhat exactly is a devastating hit. how do the refs define it on the field?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comRobert, there is no rule pertaining to "devestating" hits and we're not establishing a rule. We are specifically targeting techniques that have a higher risk leading to injury to players. These are clearly defined rules with respect to hits to the head of defenseless receivers that were recommended by our competition committee and approved by the teams. I sent yesterday a memo and video to our teams to show to players and coaches which you can watch on nfl.com.
Sebastian Ortiz, Holloman AFB
4:36 PM ETCommissioner Goodell, What did you think of your trip to the black hole? Raaaaaaaiders!
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comSebastian, I had a great time at the Raiders game. The experience in the black hole was terrific. The fans were passionate and friendly about their team. I would go back in a second. Thanks for keeping us safe. Get home safely.
4:37 PM ETWith rookie contracts escalating in size year after year, will the NFL introduce a rookie salary cap?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe have proposed a new rookie compensation system. It is a significant part of our collective bargaining discussions with the union. The goal of the proposal is to make sure the players who have performed on the NFL field earn the most money. Unfortunately, that is not the current system.
Daniel Lonergan, Missouri
4:39 PM ETMr. Commissioner what are your thoughts on all the crazy responses about the illegal hits? Especially from James Harrison
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comDaniel, I have spoken to several players including James Harrison and Brandon Meriweather in the last 24 hours. I certainly respect their opinions and value their input. I appreciate the fact they call to give me their perspective. We recognize the game is fast, but we will continue to have our number one priority to be creating rules that will protect player safety and enforcing the rules we have in place.
Victor, Fresno, Ca
4:43 PM ETWhat are your thoughts on fans who say the NFL will be flag football in a couple of years?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comI couldn't disagree more. Our game continues to be exciting and tough with record popularity. For decades we have made changes to the game and eliminated techniques that have made the game safer, and the reaction has been similar - that it will change the game forever. You can look at changes such as removing clothesline, chop blocks, crack back block, and horse collar tackles, that have all improved the safety of the game. The game continues to flourish.
4:46 PM ETHas the NFLPA submitted a counter proposal to the owners over the CBA yet? What do you think the chances of an agreement being reached by the deadline are?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comThere continues to be dialogue. But we have to go beyond dialogue and make progress. I have great respect for Kevin Mawae and De Smith and their love of the game. But ultimately we need to get in a room and develop a solution that works for everybody.
Rich Summers, Arizona
4:48 PM ETWill referees be able to eject players from games for helmet to helmet hits and if so will they review a replay before doing so?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comI want to remind everyone that it's not just helmet-to-helmet hits -- it's hits to the head. If you go to the head of a defenseless player, it is a violation of our current rules. Our referees are not being instructed to eject players from the game for illegal hits to the head, but they are instructed to throw a flag for unneccesary roughness and err on the side of safety.
Thanks for all of your questions. I'll now spend some time on twitter if you want to continue the discussion - @nflcommish.
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