NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed optimism as he addressed the media following the annual fall meetings in New York and gave an update Wednesday on a variety of topics the owners discussed over the past few days.
Goodell said the focus of the meeting was on the quality of the games and the competition itself, pointing to the accessibility of viewing games on more and more platforms and he said there has been a significant amount of growth and popularity for the sport.
“I don’t think there has been a better time to be an NFL fan,” Goodell said. “The quality of the games and the enjoyment that comes with that, I hear it from the fans all the time — that is number one for them.
“From our standpoint, we look at this as a great moment for us — the tremendous growth and the tremendous popularity of our game.”
Goodell addressed the national anthem policy, how the league will help the Chargers build a fan base in Los Angeles and increased ratings, among other topics. The commissioner said, however, the owners did not discuss where the Raiders will play in 2019 and didn’t provide an update on the future of the Seahawks following the death of owner Paul Allen. He did reveal the Seahawks have made plans, but they will be announced at the appropriate time.
Here are more details of the topics Goodell discussed Wednesday:
— The anthem policy has been on hold while talks with the NFL Players Association are ongoing, though Goodell said the league remains committed to addressing the social issues that are important to the players.
“The focus of both the NFLPA and the NFL, the clubs and our players has been to focus on the effort of the players on the issues they have raised and how we can make their communities better. They are incredibly passionate about that,” Goodell said. “The players are out there as well, and we can see the tremendous work that they are doing. We have reported over the last two days on the tremendous work that is being done in that area. Most importantly, we talked about the impact that our clubs and players are having working to address these issues. That is where our focus is right now, as it should be.
“We talked a lot about what’s going on on the field and how successful that has been, and I think we are also having similar success off the field. We are trying to help players and our clubs address the issues in the communities that they are concerned about.”
— Goodell said the league is continuing to make progress in helping the Chargers build a fan base in Los Angeles, but it will be something they work on over the next couple of years.
“We were out of the market for a long time. We have to earn our way back with our fans,” Goodell said. “We have to build that relationship back with our fans and make sure that we do it right. Both teams are committed to that and it will be something that we will have to work at over time. They both have very exciting teams and that will be helpful also. All of those things will come together over the next two years.”
Goodell praised the new stadium for the Rams and Chargers in Inglewood, Calif. “It is extraordinary in every sense of the word,” he said. “It’s going to set a new standard for stadiums on a global basis. I am confident it will be known as not only the best stadium, but also the best complex in the world.”
— Goodell addressed ratings being higher than ever and credited it to how the media has changed the way fans can access games.
“We are one of the few, if any, content that is actually growing an audience. So yes, that is obviously encouraging. But, it is much broader than that. It is how do we use these other platforms to engage our fans to allow them to experience NFL football. They are watching on their tablets, they are watching on their phones,” Goodell said. “The ability for our fans to get NFL football at any point, on any device. So, we keep looking deeper at that.”