Goodell addresses changes, future

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Coming into this meeting, some hoped for more clarity on the labor situation. And we’ll leave here with little progress made on the CBA front.

But the owners weren’t in Orlando just to play golf and hang out at the hotel bar. Plenty got done, and it started with the passing of the modified overtime policy, one of a bunch of things commissioner Roger Goodell covered in his wrap-up press conference.

“The ownership thought this was good for the game and good for the fans,” Goodell said. “They hear the same thing that I hear, which is that the overtime system isn’t truly fair when one team doesn’t get the opportunity to possess the ball. And I think we’ve come up with a valid system that respects the game, respects the people who played, and I think will be received well by the fans.”

If there was one big complaint yesterday (and I actually agree with this), it was that the vote was rushed through. Goodell disputed that notion.

“We had a full discussion yesterday morning with the coaches in the room, and a full debate and the owners heard it,” the commissioner said. “And of course, it’s probably no secret that there are certain owners that may have a different view than their coaches. But you have 32 clubs and 32 votes. This may not come as a news flash, but the owners have a vote.”


Competition committee co-chairman Jeff Fisher — a coach himself — actually backed Goodell up on that one.

“We discussed it Sunday evening, discussed it Monday morning,” Fisher said. “We discussed it in detail from the league’s perspective in the office meeting Monday at 10, opened it for discussion and there really was no discussion. The coaches had plenty of opportunity to voice their opinions.

“And I don’t really think their disappointment or their frustration stemmed from being opposed to it, I think it stemming from not having the opportunity to talk ab out it. But the bottom line is our owners are gonna vote. … It’s their call.”

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Shalise already covered the proposed measures to stop teams from tanking games earlier.

Here are a couple more snippets from Goodell:

On the timing of the overtime vote: “A lot of owners felt they’d heard the debate and this was important to them. They felt this was important to the game, important to the fans, and we had come to a resolution. There were clearly enough votes for it yesterday, and we should go ahead and do that. Plus there were a few owners that weren’t able to be here today. When we come to a resolution, we vote.”

On the overtime system could being voted on for the regular season at the May meeting in Dallas:  We’d like to talk to our players, we’d like to talk to our network partners, we’d like to understand it, and we had a proposal, but it was for the postseason. We passed that with the understanding that we’d take a look at this and see if we wanted to expand it into the regular season. … We’d like to continue to analyze it and go back and talk to the players about it a little bit also. And we’ll discuss it again. There’s potential it’ll come (in Dallas).

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On potential blackouts:  We had a lot of focus on it this season in large part because of the economy and because of what our fans are going through, and I think everybody in that room understands what our fans our going through in the general economy. The good news is that there are some signs that there’s some improvement. On the other hand, there are people that are still suffering, and still having challenges, and you have to responsive to that as a league and as clubs. I think our clubs did an extraordinary job with that last year. There was a significant turnover in our season-ticket holders, and they had to work harder and spend more resources to get more fans back into the stadium. We’re always focused on that.

On Ben Roethlisberger’s case: I’m not putting that issue on the side. We take that issue very seriously. So we’re following it, and it’s not something I’m not focusing on.