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Goodell Addresses League Issues

Posted Mar 19, 2013

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about a variety of issues at the owners meetings.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – From the opening game of the 2013 schedule to the offseason calendar to expending the postseason, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell touched on a variety of subjects on Monday at the NFL owners meetings.

Below are some of the topics that he covered:

Postseason Expansion

There was discussion about expanding the playoffs, but Goodell said that there will be no expansion for the upcoming season.

“The Competition Committee looked at some of the issues and identified those issues,” he said. “There are things that we will now take and put them into our own consideration and have our own discussions with the union at some point in time to get their views on if this makes sense. I think the information when I met with the Competition Committee yesterday was helpful for us in our consideration. Now, we have a little bit of work to do before we can advance it. It clearly won’t be happening for this year if there was any doubt about that.”

2013 Season Opener

Traditionally, the defending Super Bowl champions kick off the NFL season with a home game on Thursday night.

That has created an issue this year because the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles share a parking lot and the Orioles are already scheduled to play at home on the Thursday night of the NFL’s opening week.

Goodell said that he has talked to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig about the Orioles possibly playing earlier in the day and pushing back the Ravens’ kickoff.

“We think that is the right thing,” he said. "We have agreed to move the game a little bit later in the evening to try to accommodate the baseball game. We think it will be a great day. As a kid who grew up as an Orioles fan, to have the Orioles game in the afternoon and then go to the Ravens’ Super Bowl championship celebration for the Kickoff Game will be a great day. We hope that is the way it will happen.”

Last year, the New York Giants hosted the NFL’s opener on a Wednesday night to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Goodell ruled out a repeat of a Wednesday opener this year due to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which falls on that day.

“Unfortunately, the only (other) option is to take the Ravens on the road,” Goodell said. “We think that is wrong for the Ravens’ fans. We would not want that to happen. That is why we are trying to reach an accommodation here.”

Pro Bowl Plans

The future of the Pro Bowl was a much-discussed item in advance of this year’s game.

Quarterback Peyton Manning and cornerback Champ Bailey, who were each selected to their 12th All-Star Game this year, have shared their feelings on the importance of the annual event.

“Clearly there was an improved effort,” Goodell said. “I have spoken to several of the players and I appreciate that (effort). I have also had conversations with the players and so have our staff. They have also met with the Competition Committee last month to talk about what we can do to make the game more attractive, more exciting and more competitive. There are some very good ideas. I’m going to report to the membership on that in the next two days and before we leave here I think we’ll be able to fill you in a little more.”

Elvis Dumervil’s Contact Situation

Goodell was asked whether he would step in and intervene with the Broncos and Elvis Dumervil in regards to the defensive end’s contact.

“All contracts are reviewed by our office," he said. "I specifically won’t be doing that, I don’t think. If there is something significant they might bring it to my attention. Those (inspections) are done as a matter of course.”

Proposed Rule Change

Among the rule changes that the Competition Committee proposed was one that would make it illegal for any player to initiate contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

“We raised this with the players in Indianapolis at the Combine,” Goodell said. “We have had full discussions and I have spoken with players individually, including some of them who are in the media. It is something we are working through with our coaches. The committee spent a significant amount of time, not only considering that input, but also looking at tape. Their analysis, having met with them yesterday, is that they’ve done an awful lot of very good work. It is not just how the rule works but also how it is officiated, and what is the impact of the game.”

Offseason Schedule

Goodell said that an “alternative calendar” was presented for the offseason.

“We think that it makes a lot of sense,” he said. “I think the players saw the benefits of doing that and they wanted to talk to their membership, which they were doing last week at their meeting.  I have not heard or gotten a report back from them about what their reaction is, but as soon as I speak to DeMaurice (Smith), I’ll have a better understanding.”