NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with the press on Friday, a yearly 'obligation' for the Commish at the Super Bowl. This is no ordinary year, however, with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Dallas weather. Goodell talked all of those things, and then some.
Collective Bargaining Agreement
This is the giant elephant in the room and Goodell emphasized over and over that the time was NOW to start 'intense negotiations' for a new agreement. Goodell called March 4 a 'critical day' for both sides and reiterated that the Owners and Players should try to get a deal done by that day. While not specifically saying there would be a lock-out, Goodell did say that no deal by March 4 means no Free Agency. Essentially, that means there would be a lock out.
Goodell is doing a great job using Players Association President Kevin Mawae's words against him. Mawae talked back in 2006 about how good the deal was for the players, and said something similar 18 months ago. Goodell is essentially using those words against the Union, saying the NFLPA 'knows what the financial issues are for the owners".
It took three questions, but Goodell was asked about the wintery weather that has hit north Texas this week. Honestly, does anyone OTHER than the media care about the weather? Goodell answered the way it should be answered - fans, players, media - everyone should be prepared for anything. He applauded Dallas and Ft. Worth for being prepared and made note that Indianapolis(Super Bowl 46) and New York(2014) will be prepared as well.
18-Game Regular Season
Goodell was asked about the 18-game season, and repeated what he has said many times. The NFL, under the current CBA, is allowed to go to 22 preseason/regular season games but is only looking to remain at 20 total games.
Goodell also said that the 18-game season is not a 'deal breaker' in negotiations, that there will be give and take on both sides. "There are no deal breakers".
Paul Taglibue was heralded for getting a deal done in 2006, thus ensuring there would be no work stoppages during his time as commissioner. Roger Goodell was asked about his legacy as well "I am worried about doing the right thing for this game, the fans, for the long term. Not concerned about my legacy."
On Super Bowl
When asked for his thoughts on the Packers-Steelers match-up, Goodell responded succinctly, "That's football. It represents our history". He called fans from both teams "Tremendous".
One thing Goodell seemed to tire of were questions about the Steelers' players being treated differently than other teams in terms of rules violations and fines. Goodell was succinct in saying, "I am the commissioner of 32 teams, not just one and it is my job to treat everyone fairly." Goodell also stated he was "proud" of the progress Michael Vick has made.