Goodell did express optimism that an accommodation can be reached so the Super Bowl champion Ravens can open the season at home and the Orioles can play host to their scheduled game against the Chicago White Sox.
During a televised news conference to wrap up the annual NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Goodell said he hasn't spoken to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig since arriving at the meetings earlier this week.
“I do know that discussions are ongoing,” Goodell said. “People are working toward trying to find a solution that will work for everybody. We recognize that this wasn't something that baseball or the Orioles asked for. They've been very cooperative in trying to work out a solution. We're both trying to compromise to say, 'How can we do this so the fans of Baltimore can have a really special day with an Orioles game in the afternoon and a Ravens celebration at night for their Super Bowl championship?' I'm hopeful that will happen.”
Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium are adjacent to one another, and the teams share parking lots. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said the team has offered to provide financial compensation to the Orioles for any schedule change.
Patriots owner Bob Kraft said recently that he expected his team to open the season in Baltimore.
The conflict became public when Goodell said Monday that the Ravens may have to open up the season on the road if the issue can’t get worked out soon. The NFL does not want to move the game back to Sept. 4, because of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. And it would require special permission for the Orioles and White Sox to play early in the day Sept. 5, because both teams play in other cities the previous night.
“We think that is the right thing,” Goodell said. “We have agreed to move the game a little bit later in the evening to try to accommodate the baseball game. ... 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.”
The Orioles and Ravens had been discussing the matter for several weeks, but have been unable to find common ground yet.
Goodell said that he had spoken to Selig twice to try and find a solution.
Because both the Orioles and White Sox play the previous night in different cities, having an early game the next day could affect a potential pennant race. Such a change would also require approval from the White Sox, Major League Baseball and its players' association.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said this week that he remains upbeat about the prospects of hammering out a deal so that both sides can get what they want.
“I think a doubleheader -- if we can move it a little later and they can move it a little earlier -- and we can pull it off, I’m trying to figure what would be a greater day in Baltimore,” he said at the meetings. “The call-in sick factor in Baltimore that day, They might just close every office in town and say, ‘go do what you want to do.’ I think it’s an opportunity for Major League Baseball to look really good, too, if they can some way figure it out.”
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