Thursday afternoon the NFL bloggers for SB Nation (myself included) were given the opportunity to speak with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and chief negotiator Jeff Pash. They addressed issues such as the current NFL lockout, comments made by Adrian Peterson, stadiums and proposed rules changes. As expected, much of what he said was the same as what he shared in previous interviews.
Goodell explained that the reason why he and the league were reaching out to give an interview to the blog community was because they (the league) "want the fans to understand we’re doing everything we can to try to reach an agreement that’s fair to the players, to the clubs and most importantly to make sure we can continue to deliver high quality football to our fans." Now this is the same message that he has shared before. He wants us to believe that the league is playing fair and that the players are the ones at fault.
As for the incoming college class that perhaps is the most affected by the lockout, as they have not been paid up until now and the lack of an agreement keeps them from signing contracts after the draft, Goodell was sure to emphasize that "nobody is being overlooked." Obviously the incoming rookie class is not being overlooked, but they are the least of the concerns of the league. They are not yet players.
One thing that I personally found to be new information was his comment about stadiums. One thing the owners are looking for in the new CBA is a way that "allows (them) to finance these projects which are more and more challenging in today’s environment." He noted that there have been no new stadium plans since the 2006 agreement.
One thing I had to look into was when he said how "stadiums were built in the last couple of decades they were largely being built with public money. Now they are being built heavily with private money." This is true only to a point. The new stadium for the Jets and Giants was all private money, but we know all too well that University of Phoenix Stadium was funded by $300 million in public money (out of the $455 million it took to build it). The new stadium the Cowboys play in was more private money, but still required $325 million from Arlington public moneys.
Obviously anything that would allow the league to privately fund their facilities is a positive thing.
Some questions I had prepared that went unasked were dealing with the 18-game schedule and if the TV blackout rule would ever be revisited, considering Goodell himself said "our consumers and fans are impacted by what’s going on in the economy." He cited the need to give fans value and that price cannot continue to rise the way they have in the past.
Again, nothing said was ground-breaking, but it did make it clear that the league is sending the same message everywhere they go, and that money is an issue.
Perhaps the only positive I saw was that the league is seeking to find ways to keep the cost of attending games from rising too far, thus pricing themselves out of a product. We will see what happens in the weeks to come.