NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was at M&T Bank Stadium for Sunday’s divisional round game between the Ravens and the Houston Texans. Before the game, he took part in a fan forum with Ravens fans and after that he fielded questions from the media. Here are a few of the highlights from Goodell’s appearance:
On shortening the preseason and expanding the regular season to 18 games: One thing I hear from season ticket holders in particular is they don’t like to pay for all the preseason games. Could we consider an 18 and two format, which is something we discussed with our players? We had the right to do it in our last collective bargaining agreement, to just implement that. We chose not to. We felt it was better to do it cooperatively, to make changes on the health and safety area … and let’s see if we can make the game safer [first].
On Art Modell and what everybody can do to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: I have tremendous respect for Art Modell. I’ve been in the league now for close to 30 years and I expect to spend a little bit of time with Art today. He’s done so much for the league, not just for the fans in Cleveland and the fans here in Baltimore. … The decision is made by the media in each of the markets. To your point of what can you do? I think you can talk about the fact that you think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and make that point to the media [and] the more they will see that there is a lot of support for that. They ultimately make the decision collectively, and I think that’s something they’re going to focus on. It’s hard to imagine that the contributions he made won’t be recognized someday. You just hope it would be sooner rather than later.
On former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels joining the New England Patriots in the playoffs: The rules committee is going to look at it. We’ve talked to several club executives. In fact, I’m not getting a lot of reaction from the other clubs that this is unfair. They don’t seem to think it’s a big issue, but it’s something we’ll talk about. I can guarantee you that if it was a big issue, they would be the first to complain about it.
On whether a struggling NFL team will be relocated to somewhere such as Los Angeles any time soon: We try to keep our teams where they are. Our efforts are to try to create policies that create success that create a business model that can create the kind of fan passion in our markets, to keep those teams successful where they are. Relocation is not a good thing. You were on the other side of it and you were on the fun side of it 27 years ago, I think it was. It’s not a good thing for fans. Our focus is, how do we keep those teams successful?
On the annual games in England (losing a home game is something the Ravens said they aren’t interested in) and potential expansion into Europe: We want to expand our game internationally. We have tremendous interest. … We are playing a series of regular-season games in London. We played five already. We’ll play the sixth next year. We want to expand that, not just to one game in the regular season, but two games or three games. We do believe that fan support [internationally] is growing at such a rapid pace that if it continues to do that, we could have a franchise [overseas]. [Author’s note: He also expressed interest in expanding into Asia.]
On the chances of Baltimore hosting a Super Bowl: Some people think the game should be played in as perfect weather conditions as possible. Others think the games should be played in the elements. I love the games in the elements. Some of our historic games have been in the elements, and that’s been part of our tradition, part of our history. Let’s see how it works [at the 2014 Super Bowl in the New York/New Jersey [area]. What happens after that, we’ll make some decisions. … The biggest thing with [Baltimore getting a Super Bowl] is that to host a Super Bowl now, it takes about 25,000 hotel rooms. My guess is there are clearly 25,000 hotel rooms if you go beyond a certain area, so that’s the biggest challenge right now, to be able to have the infrastructure, as we call it, to be able to do that. … People want to be part of the event.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun