Super Bowl 2023: Roger Goodell says flexible ‘TNF’ scheduling is possible, defends NFL officiating, more topics

With Super Bowl LVII almost ready to go, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell delivered his state of the league speech Wednesday in Arizona, and he had plenty of interesting tidbits about the league’s future. Goodell addressed the NFL’s flexible “Thursday Night Football” schedule, the officiating situation, more international games in Germany, future Super Bowl venues and a revelation from one of the influential voices that led the Pro Bowl to become a football game. flag.

Here’s a summary of Goodell’s press conference on the state of the NFL.

On the state of arbitration: Everything is great

“I don’t think it’s ever been better,” Goodell said Wednesday, when asked how he views the league’s officials performing amid ongoing social media controversy and outrage over missed calls in big games.

That commissioner’s response stands in stark contrast to recent public sentiment surrounding the league’s officiating standard. There were several components of one of the final plays in this season’s AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs that resulted in a late penalty kick by Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai as Patrick Mahomes walked out of bounds. Many Cincinnati fans chanted for a holding call for the Chiefs early in the play and were also surprised by the decision to signal Ossai on the Chiefs’ last offensive play.

Criticism of the NFL’s officiating situation reached a tipping point when retired running back and four-time Pro Bowl Arian Foster lit the flames for the conspiracy theory that the league is rigged when he alluded to “scripts” being delivered to players and teams on Barstool’s “Macrodosing” podcast.

One of the NFL’s most decorated active players, Aaron Rodgers, said that one of the problems plaguing refereeing today is that the best referees are no longer referees because they are better paid as game analysts for the league’s broadcast partners.

“Listen, the best officials we’ve had in the league are on TV right now,” the four-time NFL MVP said Tuesday on the “Pat McAfee Show.” “They’re not working in the league office. They’re on TV. Gene Steratore, my favorite referee of all time. I think one of the best guys at understanding how to interact with guys and how to communicate with them, and then, how controlling a game without being a part of it. Gene was amazing at that, but Gene is on TV now. Why? Because they pay more.

“Terry McAulay, also a fantastic umpire. He’s not working as chief umpire for the league office. He’s in TV. John Parry, another great umpire. What’s he doing? He’s working in TV. All these guys who were fantastic whitecaps and all the ones that came out probably in the last five years. You’ve had eight or nine really good long-time umpires. Are any of them working in the league office? No.”

NFL referees act as part-time employees, and making them full-time can help improve their on-field performance, as practice makes perfect. The shift to full-time umpiring jobs could also lead to better pay, something that would potentially encourage the game’s best umpires to stay on the field instead of climbing into the broadcast booth. Rodgers said finding a way to keep the game’s best referees in a hands-on role could help improve the quality of officiating going forward.

“If the league was smart, they’d take one of these guys, pay whatever they want and make it a little easier for the refs. They’ve got a tough job to do, but there are some things to simplify.”

On flexible scheduling for ‘Thursday Night Football’: It’s possible

Later in the NFL season, the league’s broadcast rights holders, CBS, Fox, ESPN, and NBC, utilized a process called flex scheduling, rearranging their game schedules to get the biggest matchups in their best viewing windows. The networks have used this process for Sunday games in the past on CBS, the AFC rights holder, and Fox, the NFC rights holder, in the past, but now Goodell said Amazon, the new “Thursday Night Football” rights holder, of the league from the 2022 season may also have this capability in the future. Amazon’s play-by-play announcer, the legendary Al Michaels, openly downgraded the quality of some of the games he called this season. Goodell also noted that NBC will have this capability for “Sunday Night Football” and ESPN for “Monday Night Football” starting with the 2023 season.

During the Week 5 broadcast of the Indianapolis Colts at the Denver Broncos, a 12-9 overtime victory for the Colts that featured four interceptions with two being thrown by both quarterbacks – Matt Ryan of the Colts and Russell Wilson of the Broncos – and no touchdowns, Michaels enjoyed the on-field performance as he chatted with his broadcast partner Kirk Herbstreit saying“Sometimes a game can be…so bad it’s almost good. You know what I’m saying?”

Herbstreit tried to save face by replying, “No! I’m still not feeling it here!”

Probably unhappy to see broadcasters denigrate the quality of the NFL’s on-field product, Goodell is now open to the idea of ​​easing better matchups into Thursday’s primetime.

“Not today, but it will certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” Goodell said.

However, flexing a team into a Thursday night slot will require a lot more logistics than moving a game already scheduled for a Sunday to a later time slot that day or a day later to Monday. Teams would likely have to be given some sort of advance notice that they could be flexed on Thursday in order to start getting their players and coaches ready to play again in half the time they usually play on Sundays or Mondays. . How the league handles this development in relation to competitive advantage will be something to monitor in the future.

On listening to player input for the Pro Bowl format change

The quality of the NFL’s all-star game, the Pro Bowl, has declined over the years, with top stars being phased out due to injuries or a lack of desire to participate, as the venue of the game has shifted from Hawaii to Orlando and, more recently, Las Vegas. With the league looking to increase ratings and player participation, Goodell opened himself up to hearing Pro Bowler advice nine times on what to do to spice things up. That player was Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson.

“Russell Wilson called me the following Tuesday (last year’s Pro Bowl) and said ‘Let’s play a flag game,'” Goodell said when asked about some of the driving factors for moving the all-star game to a different setup.

With Goodell open to hearing Wilson about the Pro Bowl, perhaps he could answer the phone if Rodgers gave him a call about improving the quality of NFL officiating.

A greater international presence

“Whether it’s in the UK or Germany, it’s just extraordinary to see the reaction from the fans,” Goodell said when asked about the potential for NFL games overseas. “When we went to Germany… I don’t think any of us would have predicted the reaction we got (the NFL) there. For our first game there and being someone who has been involved with football in Germany through the NFL since 1989, It’s been really rewarding for me to see how our fan base has expanded. We want to make NFL football a global sport.”

He then confirmed that there will be four games in total in Germany over the next four years, two in Frankfurt and two in Munich. The NFL played its first regular season game in Germany, specifically in Munich, during Week 10 of this season, a game Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers won 21-16 over the Seattle Seahawks. There were 69,811 fans officially present at the Allianz Arena, a venue with a capacity for 75,000 people, which means that the stadium was about 93% full. Goodell noted that the NFL will continue to play in London and Mexico City as it has in recent years.

The league has dominated the American television landscape and the world of sports content for years and now aims to do the same across Europe.

At future Super Bowl locations

The Super Bowl locations for the next two seasons are set in stone.

Super Bowl LVIII: February 10, 2024, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada

Super Bowl LIX: February 9, 2025, Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

However, the venues for the league’s 60th, LX and 61st, LXI, Super Bowls are up for grabs. Goodell noted that selection for the LX in 2026 will be done later this year, and that the location of the LXI in 2027 may also be determined in 2023.

Miami has been the site of the most Super Bowls, 11, and the second most frequent big game venue, New Orleans, 10 times, is already set for Super Bowl LIX. Los Angeles, the third most used location, was home to last season’s Super Bowl, so these locations are really available. The NFL typically prefers cities with a warmer climate, but areas with a cooler climate such as East Rutherford, New Jersey, Indianapolis and Minneapolis have been selected as host cities since 2010 with the installation of new stadiums.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *