Indianapolis Colts Training Camp: Roger Goodell Visits Colts
Amid negotiations between the owners and player association about the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a visit to Colts camp on Saturday.
He spoke with players, team owner Jim Irsay and Bill Polian and for a brief time with reporters. The following are some of his quotes and my take on each quote.
Goodell: Colts' Success Starts in Front Office
"It starts with an outstanding organization and system and outstanding players. I think you see that represented here in the Colts. (Colts owner) Jim Irsay, (Colts president) Bill Polian, (Colts head) Coach (Jim) Caldwell has now taken over the reigns, and obviously they have a tremendous foundation in that locker room and out on the field from the players. That's a tribute to the way the organization has run their team."
- Goodell on Colts
The Colts do in fact have arguably the best front office in football, Irsay treats his players well and Polian is a genius when it comes to building a football team (see Jim Kelly's Bills). The Colts will undoubtly have the same sort of success for the forseeable future.
Colts' Seven Consecutive 12-win Seasons
"I think in this system now where it is so competitive, and where the competitive balance in the league is at, I think, an all-time high, I think it makes their record over the last decade even more impressive."
- Goodell on Colts' seven consecutive 12-win seasons
Many say winning regular seasons games means nothing if you don't win a championship, I believe there is some truth to that. However, the streak the Colts are on is without argument thoroughly impressive.
But the fact that despite the streak, the Colts have only been to two Super Bowls and only came away with one ring, says something about the first statement.
Quote One: Issues
"The issue that has changed in the league over the last 15 years is the cost of operating and generating revenue, primarily in investments in stadiums, not only in construction, but also in the renovations of those facilities. There is the rookie pool. We should have another rookie compensation system that I think, that we all think is more appropriate. Retired players, signing bonus, forfeiture, ways in which to grow the game, the 18-and-2 concept, so there are a variety of things being discussed. HGH testing, which is, I think, an important issue for everybody."
- Goodell on various issues facing NFL
Quote One: Rookie Salary Pool
"I think there needs to be a change. I've said that going back quite a few years now. I think there has to be changes to that system, yes. I think the core of it is that you have money going to an individual that hasn't demonstrated success on an NFL field. I think you have to see that players that have performed on that field over there should be the ones that are rewarded."
- Goodell on Rookie pay scale.
Rookie salaries are getting more and more ridiculous every year. Sam Bradford signed a six-year $78-million dollar contract with $50 million of it guaranteed, an incentive laden contract but a ludicrous contract nonetheless.
Goodell and the league need to address this because when a guy like Sam Bradford, who has never played a snap, makes more money then Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, (17th highest paid quarterback in the league) there is a major problem.
The players' union cannot win on this one, if the vets win, the rookies get paid less and they're unhappy. If there is no pay scale, vets like Brees still get paid less than rookies which is obviously not right. Goodell says he wants a rookie pay scale, the only question is how long will it take to get one?
Quote One: HGH Testing
As far as HGH testing goes, it will be sometime before the player's union will allow it to happen but it is an inevitability. HGH testing is necessary in all sports but baseball almost always being mentioned as needing it the most.
The claim some merit but the NFL has the steroid bug pretty bad as well. Linebackers and former Defensive Rookies of the Year Shawn Merriman and Brian Cushing both tested positive for steroids, even punter Todd Sauerbrun was discovered to be ordering prescriptions for PEDs. The league has a problem and without blood testing, HGH will gain a distinct advantage without penalty.
Quote Two: 18-Game Schedule
"I'm making sure that we analyze this clearly. I think if it is a solution or some version of an enhanced season, it has to be done in a comprehensive way. You have to look at the consequences; the unintended consequences to make sure you made the right steps to ensure the quality of our game stays strong and even gets better. And that's off-season workouts, which we spend a lot of time talking to players and coaches about prior to training camps. What has changed in our training camps? What needs to change further? The game is changing now. We have to figure out how we change with it and hopefully we make it better and safer."
- Goodell on potential 18-game schedule
Who is the winner if an 18-game schedule comes to fruition? The owners and the fans. The owners make more money and the fans get more football but what about the players? What about the integrity of NFL records?
These are just some of the questions that have been asked about the 18-game schedule. Either way you slice it, players get the axe on this one. A 16-game schedule is grueling enough and two more games, although a lift to record seekers and a fatter wallet for 32 men, an 18-game schedule could shorten the careers of many prominent stars.
Although I would love to see more football, I want to see Peyton finish his career walking off the field rather than being carted off.
Quote One: Retired Players' Pension Plan
In order to qualify for the NFL pension, you have to play a minimum of four years and you can only begin to collect after the age of 55. The payout according to former Raiders' tight end Todd Christensen is something like 14,000 dollars and change a year. Not exactly a just reward for sacrificing your body and likely a few years off your life.
Everyone has seen a study here or a study there that attests to the brutal nature and side effects of an NFL career. For those players who did not get paid millions of dollars a year, who had far less technologically sound medical services and suffer a variety of aliments decades after their time in the NFL, that just is not enough. The player's union will fight endlessly until a fair agreement is made, I could see this getting nasty.
Quote Three: Owners Won't Make Money In Lockout
"You're not finishing the sentence accurately. They have to pay the money back. Networks are not going to pay you for games you don't play. So, you have to pay the money back. I hear that question, but no one finishes the sentence. It's the way it's been structured for the past several decades. Money is obligated by the networks to be paid to the NFL and if the games aren't played, the product they are paying for, they want to be reimbursed for that, and that's a process we'll go through."
- Goodell on if owners will make TV money if there is a lockout
He's right, the owners won't make any money but believe me when I say they will not lose much either because if at the end of a potential lockout, an 18-game schedule emerges, they will make their money back faster than you can Jerry Jones.
The group that will hurt if a lockout does happen, is the players. Many live quite lavishly and without a consistent paycheck, many could fall behind. My advice, start stuffing those piggy banks.
Quote Four: The Conduct Policy
"It's always an issue in collective bargaining. So my assumption is that it will be included, but we are looking at ways in which to modify some of our discipline on the field even in the short term which I think will bring some positive changes. So, we're always looking at ways in to improve the system."
- Goodell on how players look at the conduct policy
If there is one thing Goodell has done better than any before him, it is discipline. He takes professional conduct very seriously and take any and all measures to ensure a player feels remorseful or at the very least fears repeating any bad behavior.
Goodell will not wavier or let the policy get any easier, I assure you of that. He has, in my opinion, cracked down hard and for the right reasons. I believe he has been pretty fair and prudent about all of the issues he has been faced with over the last several years and I don't expect that to change.
"You will have to ask the players on that. I made it clear to them that my interest is making sure the game continues to remain strong and continues to grow and that I have an interest in having a Collective Bargaining Agreement that is good for all parties."
- Goodell on player's impression that he is just a "yes man" for NFL owners
Goodell, in my opinion, really is trying to what is best for everyone, this job is his legacy and for a man that believes in being fair, honest and professional, I cannot imagine him trying to pull a Kansas City Shuffle on anyone.