It’s been a rough year for Roger Goodell. He’s been dumped on by the current players in light of the way he handled the bounty scandal, and taken a beating from former players as more of them struggle in retirement. Plus, there was the lockout, and now the officials are locked in a work stoppage.
But business is still booming, and Goodell has his sights set on bigger things as the NFL continues its quest to take over the world.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joined Mike Florio on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss football in the Olympics, the NFL in London and critical statements from Drew Brees. He also addressed the notion that he possesses too much power.
On the possibility of American football becoming an Olympic sport:
“Absolutely. We’re already taking steps to gain that IOC recognition. We have, I think it’s 64 countries that are playing American football now, and that’s one of the requirements. And that’s been growing dramatically. I think it was 40 just five years ago, so we’re seeing that kind of growth internationally. It’s being played around the world. We have a national federation under USA Football Federation, and those are the types of things you have to do to become an Olympic sport.”
On if there’s a timeline in place for that:
“No, again, those decisions are made by the IOC. They look at how the game is being played around the globe, and we’re trying to make sure we continue to broaden the scope of our game, and if they give us the opportunity we certainly would push for it.”
On the NFL in London:
“We are seriously contemplating, as early as 2013, playing two NFL games next season (in London), and I think we’ll do that. It’s again a response to the tremendous fan reaction and the growth of the game. And if we continue to be successful and play more games there and have the reaction we have, we very well may have a franchise in London some day.”
On Drew Brees telling the media that the players don’t trust Goodell:
“My responsibility is the game of football, and that end has 2,000 players, it has 32 clubs, it has former players, current players, future players. And you have to continue to do what’s best for the game and the integrity of the game. And those aren’t always going to be popular. And so I continue to reach out to all parties, I get great input from all of those different factions in the NFL, and I’ll continue to do it because they’re helpful to me. So the players are an important part of that, the coaches are an important part of that, and we’ll continue to reach out to those individuals so we can get that kind of valuable input.”
On the perception that he has too much power when it comes to player discipline:
“The authority granted to the commissioner comes from the constitution and bylaws first, and I have some authority with respect to our clubs and to employees in the clubs. The rest of the authority comes right from our collective bargaining agreement, which we just signed a year ago. I hasn’t changed really much in the 40 years, except that in some cases I’ve removed myself from any kind of discipline process. And the best example of that is on the field. Those decisions are made by a former player in our office, and if they want to appeal it, it’s heard by either a Hall of Fame player, Art Shell, or a great former NFL coach, Ted Cottrell, which is all designed through our collective bargaining agreement. And additionally, when you look at the drug program, we’ve offered, as soon as we can get this HGH program in place, that we would go to third-party arbitration on that. So it sounds good but it’s not the reality. What we’ve done is try to put together systems that are going to make sure that we protect the integrity of the NFL and protect the rules of the NFL. I don’t know of any CEO who doesn’t care about the brand of their company, in my case the NFL and the shield. And we have to make sure we’re doing everything to protect that.”