Ask the Commissioner
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ETCommissioner Roger Goodell
With the NFL's regular season coming down to the wire and playoffs on the horizon, Commissioner Roger Goodell joined us for a live chat on Thursday, Dec. 17, to answer your questions about any and all of the key issues around the league.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comHello everyone.
Before we get started, I want to say we are greatly saddened by todayâ€™s tragic news about the loss of Chris Henry. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chrisâ€™s family, including his Bengals family. We have been in contact with the Bengals to offer our support through this difficult time.
In light of this tragedy, itâ€™s difficult to focus on football right now, but we scheduled this chat and we will carry on. Itâ€™s been a great season so far and there is still a lot more football to be played, including the playoffs, the most wonderful time of the year, some would say. There are 24 teams still in contention for the Super Bowl and for the first time in NFL history we have two 13-0 teams. Congrats to the Colts and Saints. We appreciate all of your interest in and passion for the NFL.
I ask you to keep Chris Henry and his family in your thoughts today, and now Iâ€™ll take as many of your questions as I can. Iâ€™m looking forward to learning whatâ€™s on your minds.
Tess M., baton rouge
12:02 PM ETHi Commissioner! whoooooo dat! I read today that the Saints asked you to show saturday's game locally so everyone can see it. If you are going to, thank you!!! If not, why not??? everyone in louisiana loves the saints! Thank you for reading this.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe have been consistent with our policy regarding the telecasts of NFL games on cable since 1987. NFL games on cable â€“ which includes all games on ESPN, NFL Network and, in the early 1990s, on TNT â€“ are also made available to one over-the-air station in the primary market of the participating teams.
Saturday nightâ€™s Cowboys-Saints game will be on NFL Network and a local station (WGNO-Channel 12) in New Orleans, which is the primary market. In Baton Rouge, fans can see the game on Cox Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network; 77% of the total households in the Baton Rouge area have access to NFL Network through one of those three. In the Dallas area, the game will be on NFL Network and a local station (KTXA-Channel 21).
Jordan Hawkins, Decatur, IL
12:04 PM ETWhy does the NFL seem to be coddling its quarterbacks, especially its big name quarterbacks, by calling more roughing the passer penalties for smaller reasons? Football is a contact sport; are not the quarterbacks football players too?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe put a tremendous focus on player safety. Any player that is in a defenseless position from quarterback to receivers to kickers we have tried to protect while they are in an exposed position. We recognize the physical nature of the game and that has not been removed by our recent rule changes.
Danny C., DC
12:06 PM EThow did the skins hire a new GM so quickly? Are you going to fine them for not interviewing minorities?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comThe Redskins have been in contact with our office throughout the process and have followed the proper procedures of the Rooney Rule.
12:08 PM ETWhy do you have such a problem with players celebrating? The only thing it does is make the game more enjoyable for the fans to watch, and it doesn't hurt anybody. It should not cost $30,000 to wear a funny hat on the sideline, or do a dance in the end zone. I would just like an explanation. Thank you.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comThe players are permitted to celebrate within certain guidelines. These rules are reviewed each year by our clubs and properly communicated to the players. We have as many fans that feel that certain celebrations are inappropriate as are appropriate so we have established guidelines to create standards that support sportsmanship. Football is about the team, not about individual promotion while a team is competing on the field.
Sarah P., Gary, IN
12:11 PM ETI am a big Tony Dungy fan. I think he is a great man. I heard about the group of players you and he meet with. If you are going to war with the players why would you want to meet with them and talk? Will you really do anything with what they say?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comSarah, I share your enthusiasm for Coach Dungy. Earlier this week we met with several players. Their input is extremely important as we make decisions about a variety of matters both on and off the field, including player safety, personal conduct, transition into and out of the NFL. The players were very articulate and engaged and both Tony and I feel the meeting was very productive. We will continue to seek their input through the Dungy forum.
Mark Finnerty, Coventry, England
12:15 PM ETI`ve been to all 3 international series games played so far and plan to go to the two games next year.Whats the long term plan with all this? A franchise?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comGlad you attended the games. I assume you found them entertaining. We are looking at the possibility of putting two games in the UK in 2010. We hope the interest and enthusiasm continues to build for the NFL in the UK. So far we have had nothing but a positive reaction and we appreciate your support. As I've said many times before, we're certainly not ruling out the possibility of a franchise in London some day.
12:17 PM ETDo you think that there will be an uncapped season next year? If so, what will be the affects of it?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comIt is difficult to project when the owners' and players' negotiating teams will reach an agreement. We all hope it is sooner, rather than later. However, it is increasingly likely that there will be an uncapped season and there are many collectively bargained rules in place to ensure the NFL continues to remain competitive.
12:20 PM ETGivin the recent Chris Herny situation, do you feel the NFL needs to have consouling for the players on how to live a life of populatity and success? or does the NFL already do that?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe do offer counseling for our players and other NFL personnel throughout the year. NFL players and coaches have to struggle with issues like the rest of us, and we support them with as many resources as possible. Each team has a player development director and we offer a series of programs, including counseling, to help them with their personal and professional lives.
Andrea, Westerville, Ohio
12:22 PM ETHow long do you think it will take for players to accept the new rules for preventing and treating concussions?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe have already seen a culture change in the NFL. There is better awareness and education of the seriousness of this injury that is reflected in the more conservative treatment, including the most recent return-to-play guidelines. I just got out of a meeting about how we can better educate all levels of sports on the importance of proper prevention and management of concussions.
Ed Nielsen, Iraq
12:26 PM ETWhy was the decisions made to make the ProBowl before the Superbowl this year and do you plan to keep it this way from now on.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comEd, thanks for your question all the way from Iraq. If you are in the military we appreciate you and your familiy's committment to keeping us safe. I was over there last year on the USO Tour.
The changes to the Pro Bowl are designed to create more interest in the game and promote our all-star players. By playing the game in advance of the Super Bowl and in the same city, it will create a spectacular week leading up to a grand finale in South Florida.
The changes to the Pro Bowl were discussed with our Player Advisory Committee and they had great input into the changes we made to this year's game. We hope you all love it.
Linda S, Chicago
12:30 PM ETHello, Mr. Goodell(PEACE AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS)! I think you are doing a good job, overall; Albeit, What's your thought on our referees receiving more extensive training! I believe they can do better!
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe always try to do better and we will continue to provide whatever resources to help our officials be perfect. The officials do an outstanding job in a very fast game. With new technology, including HD, you are seeing what a great job they do.
Brian Hammond, San Diego, CA
12:32 PM ETWhat is the status with Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe've had negotiations with Time Warner. Unfortunately they do not want to carry NFL Network or the games to their customers this season. NFL Network is now in 55 million homes and we don't believe our fans should be denied the opportunity to see this great network and the great new RedZone channel that everybody seems to love. By the way, 4 of the 5 top distributors all carry NFL Network. Time Warner is the only one that does not.
J.T. Fryer, Cape Coral, Florida
12:35 PM ETHow long will it be before a decision is made in changing the preseason schedule to a 2 game preseason and extend the regular season to 18 games to help maintain and protect the health of the athletes at the beginning of the year, and will it take place in the 2010 season?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comWe are always trying to improve the quality of what we do, which includes the preseason, regular season, postseason and offseason. We do need to balance a number of issues, most importantly player safety. By restructuring the season and staying within the 20-game format, we hear strongly this is attractive to our fans. We are carefully looking how to grow the game with all of our partners, including the players. Nothing is changing in 2010 with regard to the schedule.
Tony LoVerdi, Chicago
12:40 PM ETI'm a huge Bills fan and would be crushed if our team ever moved. So I'm wondering what are the NFL's plans for the Stadium that has began construction on in City of Industry, CA?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comTony, we appreciate your support of the Bills. It is important to making sure the team continues to be successful in Western NY. With respect to Los Angeles, there is not a stadium under construction. There is a proposed facility by a local investor, Ed Roski. We are continuing to follow developments there.
Adolfo Reyes, Miami, Florida
12:42 PM ETHas the NFL recently considered modifying the Overtime/Sudden Death format? I believe both teams should have the opportunity to score/win.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comThis is a subject that is discussed every offseason. The players and coaches have all said they prefer our system. They look at it as they have the opportunity to win in regulation. If they don't win the coin toss in overtime, they have a chance to stop the offense like the Giants did two years ago in the NFC Championship game, when they intercepted a pass on the Packers' first possession in overtime and then they kicked a field goal to win. The game is not decided by a coin flip, but by the play on the field.
12:45 PM ETI admire you for successfully climbing Mt. Rainier. Did you use your Play 60 program to help you get to the top?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comUnfortunately it took more than 60 minutes a day to get ready for that challenge. But I still continue to do my 60 minutes a day. Ron Jaworski testified yesterday in Congress on our behalf in support of our Play 60 program.
Todd Wirth, Manbkato, MN
12:47 PM ETHaving determined that the Williams of the Vikings violated the Leagues substance abuse rules, Why are they still playing? What does this say about the ability of the League to enforce it's rules on players?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comPlayers have rights. In this case, the court said they have the right to pursue claims under Minnesota state law. We vigorously disagree and believe there have to be uniform standards across all states. Minnesota athletes should be subject to the same standards as all other athletes across the country.
Graham, Leeds, UK
12:49 PM ETWhat has been the most pleasant surprise for you this season?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comOther than the unpredictable play on the field, which isn't a surprise, I would say the most pleasant surprise is that more fans are watching and enjoying the NFL than ever before. This includes television ratings, NFL.com, NFL Network. The numbers are up significantly to record highs. Thanks to all of you for making that happen.
Aonghus , England
12:52 PM ETWhat is your team?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comMy team is the Bronxville (NY) High School Broncos. I attended three of their games this year and they went all the way to the state championship. Unfortunately, we lost. Now I have 32 favorite teams in the NFL.
Greg, Biloxi, MS
12:55 PM ETWhat impact do you think two undefeated teams meeting in the Superbowl would have on the league?
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comIf they end up being the two best teams, then it would be a great game. But there is a lot of football left. That's what makes our game so exciting.
Shawn, new orleans
12:57 PM ETWhy are the colts and saints games both on NFL Network? I cannot see either of them.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comThe schedule is determined in April. Both unbeaten teams this week will be available to a bigger percentage of the country than their games were on this past Sunday.
12:59 PM ETHi, I just wanted to say a big thank you for initiatives during Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was impressive, and touching, to see burly guys out there wearing pink and showing us they were a part of the fight too. Many thanks, Amy.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comThank you Amy. Our lives in the NFL are affected by breast cancer like most everyone else. I was proud of the way our players and coaches all demonstrated our own way of making a difference. Hopefully we saved some lives.>
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL.comThanks for all of your input and questions. Enjoy all the terrific football coming up. Have a happy and safe holiday season. Talk to you soon.
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