Blog Entry

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:39 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 9:42 pm
Whether fans want it or not (they don't appear to), what about the safety concerns of an 18-game schedule? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's salary will reportedly double to $20 million as part of a new five-year contract extension from the NFL. That's a lot of coin but if the league wasn't awash in money the owners wouldn't reward Goodell with that kind of payday.

Not surprisingly, some players were less than effusive when they heard the news, probably because depending on your perspective, Goodell's tenure as commissioner falls somewhere between awesome (the owners) and awful (the players). Falcons wide receiver Roddy White tweeted apoplectically Tuesday:

"How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that can't run tackle or catch?"

And before you roll your eyes, this isn't a "he's never played the game!" argument. When someone suggested that Goodell's oversight as commissioner has allowed White to make a lot of money, White got testy.

"Thats the stupidest thing i have ever heard the players make this league dont ever forget that," White tweeted in response. "My god given talents feed me not him."

This is true. No fan in the history of tackle football has ever bought a ticket to a game to see Goodell. We talked about this on a recent Pick-6 Podcast and our opinion is basically this: Goodell is a savvy politician who worked his way up from the bottom and is now presiding over the nation's most popular sport. He is responsible for it's growth, yes, but without players the NFL wouldn't exist in it's current form. We're pretty sure Goodell would agree with this.

We mention this because Goodell spoke recently about the state of the league, specifically addressing expansion ("We are not considering expansion. I’ve tried to make that clear when I was asked by Bob Costas recently.") and the never-gonna-die 18-game schedule discussions.

“Well, I appreciate the enthusiasm for it and I hear it from the fans consistently," Goodell told ESPN 1050, dusting off his not-entirely-accurate talking points from this summer's lockout. "People want more football. I think they want less preseason and more regular season and that’s the concept we are talking about here."

Again, this is stretching the truth. Everybody -- fans, players, media -- thinks the preseason is too long. But that doesn't mean they want, say, two fewer preseason games if it means two more regular-season games. Last May,'s Josh Katzowitz did an informal Twitter poll and found that 83.9 percent of respondents were fine with the 16-game schedule.

In February 2011, Sports Illustrated's Peter King did his own Twitter poll and concluded that "18 percent of 1,200 football fans, less than one out of every five, want what Goodell says they want. And 82 percent want to keep it at 16 regular-season games."

But even if you call B.S. on the self-selection bias in such polls, what about this? Goodell has championed safety above all else but isn't he talking out of both sides of his mouth when he says "safety is No. 1" and then clamoring for two additional regular-season games because the fans want it?

In November 2010, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said "The additional games, the studies show, will not really increase injuries."

Technically, Ross was right. Esquire wrote about this issue back in January 2011:
Dated September 6, 2010, the 26-page version (of a study conducted by an independent research firm for an NFLPA injury report) relies on data from the NFL Injury Surveillance System in following 16,552 injuries from 2004 to 2009 — position-by-position, game-by-game, and location-by-location.

Over the course of a season, the analysis found that 16.1 percent of injuries occurred in training camp, another 24.7 percent in preseason, and 57.9 percent during the regular season. In total, 21.2 percent classified as "major" injuries, with severity increasing dramatically from the regular season to the postseason. And while game-related injuries actually trended down from week to week, the report's introduction of head-injury data provides an alarming juxtaposition…
The juxtaposition? Total team injuries decrease over the course of a 16-game season and into the postseason but the percentage of brain-related injuries increases over that same time. (You can see the charts here.)

Perhaps that's a function of better awareness about the long-term dangers of concussions, as well as improved testings procedures. "Still," the Esquire piece concludes, "the early version of the report states that each player now has a 10 percent chance of suffering from a concussion in a given season."

However you spin it, that's not good.

Back to Goodell's recent radio appearance:

"We wouldn’t add an extra two games without reducing the preseason and we are not going to do it without the players support, so we did that in the collective bargaining agreement instead of having the unilateral right, which we had," he said. "We determined that we were going to do this together. We are going to make changes in the offseason and during the preseason and during the regular season to make the game safer. If we can accomplish that we’ll look at the idea of restructuring the season and taking two preseason games away and the potential of adding regular season games, but I don’t think that will happen until at least 2013 or 14.”

Conspiracy theorists might say that while Goodell's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits and unprotected pass-catchers does make the game safer, it's also something he and the owners can point to in a few years and say, "See, we take this very seriously, illegal hits are down, the NFL is less violent, the next logical step: 18-game seasons."

Because other than money, there's no urgency here. If Goodell truly is listening to the fans (or the players), this wouldn't ever come up again. We're guessing that ain't happening.

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Since: Aug 19, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2012 8:58 am

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Goodell sucks, its absolutely true that Fantasy Football is what's driving the popularity of the NFL. Its an absolutely perfect sport with a perfect number of games for Fantasy. Baseball is too time comsuming for fantasy. (in my opinion anyway).
Really what makes Goodell is complete joke is that he is such a hypocrite. He has no values of his own, just what he's told to do.    Were Pete Rozelle or Paul Tagliabue complete and utter whores for the owners? No, they were not. Of course the majority of the time they represented the interests of the owners, but when an owner was just plain wrong, they weren't afraid to tell them.
Goodell insults everyone's intelligence when he claims he is for improving player safety, then wants to add two more regular season games? Then claims the fans want it???? I keep saying this and will stick to it, he's nothing more than a spokes-dummy.

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:13 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Bucky bleepin dent! I was born in 79, so I only heard stories, but I heard those seasons were incredible. I married a NY'er, so I hear all about the Yankees and Mets. I think the Sox will be alright this year, they certainly can't blame it on payroll. Well Good luck to ya!

Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:06 am
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Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:35 am

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

I guess you scared him away.That is the way to get rid of a bully it is to confront them.He has no answers to why he did not include 2010 and 2011 in the revenue for the NFL,and he also,why he give Goodell all the credit. 

  Who would have thought a Yankee fan and a Redsox fan would come together on any issue sports related? I have to say its refreshing to see how many NFL fans agree that 18 games would be a mistake. Also I'm suprised no one said anything about fantasy football sooner. It's got to the point where I don't even watch the games sometimes, I just check the stat tracker. Fantasy FB is so big Satelite radio has an entire station deticated to Fantasy sports. 

Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:59 am
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Since: May 21, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:43 am

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

anyone who gives this schmuck goodell credit for NFL's rise in popularity is smoking paint chips... the real reason the NFL has so many followers is because of one thing and one thing only.... fantasy football
...if it weren't for fantasy football, the NFL would still be as ordinary as the other major sports'
fantasy football has taken the nation by storm .. especially in the last decade .. even the ladies are involved...
...but to point the finger at goodell and say ''hey, nice job'' for making the NFL so popular is an insult .. the guy is a complete waste of a commish
... ...and now he makes $20 mil ... ..... FOR WHAT ? ... it's practically a two-hand touch league as it is
.. soon the quarterback will be wearing a tutu
when they played 14 games, there were less injuries but more pain...the way football was meant to be played .. a thousand yrd rusher meant something
..... then things got watered down a little when the 16 game schedule was introduced .. not to mention waiting til february to watch the superbowl
.. i play fantasy football like anyone else so more games doesn't hurt in that respect .. but from a plain football fan standpoint, i couldn't be any more disgusted if they add more fact, i'd prefer 14
...on another note..i am a dolphins it would be highly unlikey that a team go undefeated thru an 18 game + playoffs season ..and those '72 guys can keep popping open bottles of champagne every year

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: February 20, 2012 10:16 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Redwing69 you never answered my questions. What's up? I know it's not because you are busy. I have not said boo about the lions. Quite frankly I like watching stafford and Calvin. I guess my major complaint with you is your all or nothing or black and white. You leave no room for debate. I said I agree the NFL has a good product. But why do attribute all the success to Goodell? I think your giving him way too much credit.

Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:43 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:40 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:12 pm

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

As for the Harbaug/Schwartz exchange.Did Harbaugh go over the line yeah a little,but a rough handshake and a little slap on the back does not warrent acting like a child.You must know that at a Dinner Schwartz insulted Harbaugh as a coach,the day they played each other Harbaugh screamed across the feild at Harbaugh over a rule that Harbaugh had misunderstood.As well he yelled at Dez Bryant too,the Lions were an undisciplined team this past season.And nice that you feel you have to make up a story to make it seem worse than it was.Harbaugh did not run at him,nor did he slam his hand,nor did he push him away,see this has nothing to do with the Lions,it has to do with fans making up stories.Ans did the Lions organization take any action against Suh for what he did?Nope.

I wasn't going to respond but holy shi** are you serious? You're supposedly a new member but I think you're Brian8ball. I'll research you a little bit and pass the word along if I prove that to be the case, just so people know you're back.  Your writing style and some of your wording is exactly what he was telling us for months before he got banned multiple times.

First of all Harbaugh didn't just "go over the line a little", he went over the line by a lot and did what 99.9 percent of coaches never do.  Coaches jog or walk over and STOP in front of the other coach, just like Schwartz tried to do.  That's what EVERY COACH IN THE NFL NOW AND IN HISTORY HAS EVER DONE.  Harbaugh didn't do that.  He started that whole thing and Schwartz compounded the problem by acting like an idiot. 

And when Harbaugh's BROTHER tells us what happened at the meeting I'll believe him over your make believe story.  Schwartz didn't insult ANYBODY at dinner.  Harbaugh's brother told the press exactly what happened and that is Schwartz simply pointed out the lockout really hurts a rookie coach's chance at succeeding his first season in the NFL.  Harbaugh told us Schwartz was talking about how training camp is very important for a rookie coach to get to know his players and put his system place.  Just because Harbaugh and SF exceeded expectations this year doesn't mean Schwartz's theory was wrong, he made a lot of sense with what he said.  And don't talk to me about coaches yelling during a football game, stuff like that happens all the time in every sport.  The only difference is the cameras caught Schwartz and don't catch many others, that's all.

Ans did the Lions organization take any action against Suh for what he did?Nope.

The Lions couldn't do a thing to Suh.  He's in a strong union, they wouldn't have allowed the Lions to touch him.  The league already suspended him for 2 games which is just as rare as somebody stomping on a player in the NFL.   

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