By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Watch Live: Goodell News Conference In Houston
Read Below For Live Updates:
1:48 p.m.: Succession plan on Pat Bowlen in Denver.
“Unfortunately Bowlen has significant health challenges right now. … Pat is someone that I deeply admire and respect. So the trust has worked effectively in the short term.”
Changes will be consistent with NFL’s policy.
And that’s it. It’s over. How did Roger do?
1:45 p.m.: “We’ve made tremendous progress, not only domestic violence but also personal conduct in general.”
“We do have an active investigation on Josh Brown.”
1:44 p.m.: Goodell was asked why questions about President Donald Trump didn’t make it onto the official NFL transcripts this week.
“I am not aware of anything being deleted from transcripts or anything else. … That’s one thing I’m not responsible for around here, is the transcripts.”
1:42 p.m.: Goodell was asked about the message the league sends to its fans when the Chargers skip town after 56 years when the owner couldn’t get public money for a stadium?
“These are painful processes. It is hard on our fans, we understand that. It is not the outcome that we were hoping for. We hoped to … keep the Chargers there for another 50 years.”
“It’s taken quite a while to recognize that a new stadium was needed. … The Spanos family and the NFL is a collective 32 clubs all worked very hard. But it’s a process.”
“It’s something that’s a collective disappointment.”
1:41 p.m.: Asked about a developmental league, Goodell said a debate goes on. It’s not yet decided.
1:39 p.m.: Roger Goodell was asked if he has talked to Brady all year.
“I never talk about when I have conversations with players. If they want to disclose that, that’s their prerogative. I think when we communicate, we have a level of confidence, and I’m not going to take that outside of the circle.”
“I don’t disclose when I talk to players. I do it frequently. I get a lot of tremendous input from our players. I respect our players and their views. And any time they call or contact me, I listen carefully.”
1:39 p.m.: Goodell said he is “uniquely focused on the Super Bowl right now,” an event that will “bring the world together.”
1:37 p.m.: Roger Goodell “really hasn’t thought” about a two-pump limit?
As for the unsportsmanlike conduct change, it seemed to be a “very positive thing.”
Same with the kickoff rule.
1:35 p.m.: Albert Breer asked Goodell if he’s been welcome in Foxboro by the team.
“I have no doubt if I asked Mr. Kraft, he would welcome me back.”
On how relationship has changed: “Listen, we had a disagreement about what occured. We have been transparent about what we thought the violation was. … I continue to respect and admire Robert, Jonathan and the organization. … They’re extraordinary people in my view.”
“I’ll be honest with you. I have disagreements with probably all 32 of our teams. I’m not afraid of disagreement. It doesn’t lead to distrust or hatred. It’s a disagreement. You take the disagreements … and you move forward. It’s not all personal in nature. It’s about doing what’s right in the long term.”
1:34 p.m.: When asked about $25 billion revenue goal, Goodell said the league is always trying to grow and expand internationally.
1:32 p.m.: Goodell said he’s open to returning to St. Louis if that opportunity ever presented itself. Then he was asked about the NFL’s ties to Mexico. What can the NFL do to help build a better relationship between Mexico and the U.S.?
“Well, one of the things that we truly believe in our hearts is that the NFL really does bond communities together and can be a bridge in that way. It unites people.”
“We’re going to continue to [reach out] to Mexico.”
1:30 p.m.: Michael David Smith asked Goodell about the NFL banning Barstool Sports from all NFL areas this week, and if that perpetuates a risk of running the “No Fun League”?
“I’m not familiar with this. I really don’t have information about who’s credentialed and who’s not. … I assume there’s a reason why a particular organization is no credentialed to be here. If you look around, we have pretty open arms about who attends the Super Bowl as a media outlet.”
“I’ve never heard that in that context, the ‘No Fun League.'”
1:29 p.m.: Roger spoke highly of the high quality of games. Things are great but can always get better, per Roger.
1:26 p.m.: Ian Rapoport of NFL Network asked about falling ratings and how that prompted some broadcast changes.
“We have been focused on this long before this year. … We did this with the game on Yahoo. … We have not dismissed any theories about how we can make it better for the fans on TV or in the stadium.”
“In respect to the specifics of what we could do … on instant replay, would we bring the surface table on the sideline so they could make a decision more quickly and resume the game as quickly as possible? Would we look at a clock that could occur from the moment an extra point is kicked to the kickoff so that we don’t have unnecessary delays? … We’re going to look at a number of other changes … . There are a number of things where we can shorten the management of the game … and more on action.”
“From a commercial standpoint, we did test in Week 16 and in the Yahoo game last year, we want to look at, should we have the same number of breaks? We have five breaks per quarter, we feel like we can do four breaks per quarter.”
“We think less is more with this situation.”
1:25 p.m.: Roger took a question from a little kid about Play 60. Hooray.
Then Roger was asked about Titans ownership.
1:21 p.m.: Tom Curran corrected Goodell on the record of the court validating his conclusions. Goodell opposed.
Curran asked if there is an erosion of public trust in Goodell and his office.
“Tom, the thing you have to always do, every day, is earn that trust, earn that credibility, and it’s about how you act and how you do things, being transparent, making sure people understand the decisions you make. I don’t expect everyone to agree with every decision I make. … Those are always difficult, sometimes contentious and sometimes less than perfect. … You do them for the best long-term health of the game. … I will always seek to do things better.”
1:17 p.m.: Dan Shaughnessy asked Goodell about Tom Brady’s father’s criticisms and Goodell’s avoidance of Foxboro. Is there a war between Patriots and you?
“I would tell you that it’s not awkward at all for me. We have a job to do. We do our job as I said. There was a violation. We applied a process and discipline and we came to a conclusion that was supported by the facts and the court.”
“We understand the fans that are passionate about a team object and don’t like the outcome. I totally understand that and that’s no issue for me. I was in Foxboro for two straight playoff games two years ago, like I was in Atlanta this year.”
Focus was on “upholding the integrity of our teams.”
And “If I’m invited back to Foxboro, I’ll come.”
1:16 p.m.: Taking a question from the Las Vegas Review Journal, he was asked about gambling and if a casino might have ownership in a team or stadium.
“We’ve always said that we’re going to maintain the integrity of our game to make sure there is a separation between sports gambling and the NFL. [Need to ensure] game does not have any undue influence.”
“This is something from our standpoint, we have rules in place, the Raiders have not asked us to compromise those rules as it relates to our policies.”
“I don’t see an ownership position in a team from a casino. That is not something that is consistent with our policies.”
1:15 p.m.: Taking a question from a San Diego reporter, Goodell was asked why he said “we’re all hurting” on the move of the Chargers when the package offered in L.A. was so enticing.
“Well, Kevin, when you say we made it enticing for them to move to Los Angeles, I would actually argue the exact opposite. The NFL owners did something unprecedented, which is they gave another $100 million on top of the $200 million [to build a stadium in San Diego]. We worked very hard … to try to get that done. To try to be creative and try to bring solutions to getting the stadium built.
“That’s disappointing for all of us because we didn’t get it done.”
1:11 p.m.: Roger said the NFL likes Mexico. Then Sam Farmer from L.A. asked about the evaluation of the Las Vegas market. Specifically the timing.
“We are confident that our process is thorough, that it will examine al the issues that need to be examined to make the best possible decision [by March].”
He was also asked if San Diego might be an option for Oakland. Goodell referenced the failed referendum for a new stadium in San Diego, so it doesn’t seem likely.
1:10 p.m.: Ben Volin of The Boston Globe asked Goodell if he handled DeflateGate well.
“No, we had a violation. We went through a process. We applied the discipline in accordance with our process. It was litigated extensively and validated by the Second Circuit court of appeals. So we’re moving on from that. That’s part of our history but it’s something that we’re comfortable with the process, the decision, and we’re focusing on the game now.”
1:09 p.m.: Roger Goodell confirms that George H.W. Bush will flip the coin at the Super Bowl.
1:07 p.m.: First question from the AP: Raiders want to move to Vegas. Is the NFL confident that the Raiders can move to Vegas? And is NFL in favor of legalized gambling in Vegas on football?
“We haven’t made a determination of Las Vegas as an appropriate NFL market. … There’s a great deal of work to be done.”
On gambling, he said yes.
1:06 p.m.: “Congratulations to these two extraordinary teams. … We had one of the most competitive seasons in the history of the NFL. … Lowest margin of victory per game since 1935. (Roughly 10 points.) We also had a record number of games decided by a seven-point margin, all adding to the excitement of the season.”
On the Patriots and Falcons: “They were dominant in the season, and particularly dominant in the postseason. … They are most deserving and the ones that should be here. The No. 1 defense in the NFL vs. the No. 1 offense.”
1;05 p.m.: Roger Goodell is on stage, thanking Houston, the mayor, the city. “I know you’re going to shine as Super Bowl week continues.”
He also thanks Bob McNair and the Texans.
1:03 p.m.: Brian McCarthy is on stage, giving a two minute warning for the arrival of Goodell.
12:51 p.m. CT: We’re locked in and ready to roll here in Houston. The crowd is building and we’re a few minutes away from Goodell taking the stage. Again, I’ll do my best to transcribe everything here in live speed, while also trying to get in a question, so please excuse any typos or missed words that might come as a result. Things happen fast!
10 a.m. CT: It’s a gorgeous day in Houston, Texas, as Super Bowl LI draws closer. And today, that will become more evident when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell takes the stage here at the George R. Brown Convention Center to deliver his annual “State of the NFL” address.
Typically, Goodell makes opening remarks — three or four talking points that are the focus of the league — before opening up the floor to somewhere between 15 and 20 questions from the assembled media. Now, in my experience, I’ve observed that the people handing out microphones to ask these questions aren’t exactly scanning the crowd and looking for any old schlub writer. It has felt like the NFL very carefully selects high-profile and/or international reporters, knowing that the boat won’t get rocked too hard.
That seemed to be the case in Phoenix, when Goodell did actually face some tough, straightforward questions about the job he was doing. But it really seemed to be the case last year in San Francisco, when the commissioner faced the softest of softballs, while Boston Herald reporter Jeff Howe was left holding his hand high for the entire hour, ignored by those with the microphones.
So we’ll see how today’s talk goes. I’ll be in the room for Goodell, and I’ll do my best to get in a question. In between, I’ll be furiously transcribing Goodell as he speaks right here in the live blog. While a few quotes may be off verbaitim in live time, I will do my very best to accurately and quickly share what Goodell is saying for those unable to watch or listen to the address live.
So check back around 12:45 p.m. CT (1:45 p.m. back home in Boston) as I’ll be providing updates at that time.