Needless to say I was stunned when I received this personal email from Roger Goodell (go easy on Roger on his typos, he’s a football guy, not Puck Daddy). However, I was glad he asked and I was able to not only give him my opinion on how to save the NFL, but also upgrade the sport in the spirit of hockey. See letter below.
FIRST MY RESPONSE (NOTE you may want to read Roger’s letter first but do whatever the fuck you want.)
Dear Mr Goodell,
Thanks for the letter. First off, I have to say that I’ve been having a very difficult time remaining an NFL fan. There have been various reasons but many of them have to do with the individuality of the players, the off field acceptable behavior (Rothlesberger) and the failed attempts (in my opinion) to create more entertainment value. Just play hard-nosed football.
Secondly, I don’t know why you’re writing me about all these numbers etc? I can barely add how many children I have. That said, I do believe money is ruining your game. It’s obvious that many of the players, not all, don’t give one crap about the game. Just the money. It’s sad. Pathetic actually. Example, guys lose the SUPER BOWL, and their smiling and hugging the other players immediately after the game. You may say that’s sportsmanship, but I know you’re not that stupid.
The NFL players should take a lesson from the greatest sport on earth, hockey. While the NHL has a long way to go as a league, the pureness of the sport and the players shines through in spite of the league trying its hardest to ruin it. These guys play hockey because the fucking love the game. They play hard, with passion, and give a shit. Yes you have your few exceptions, but if you want proof watch the end of the olympics when Sidney Crosby scored the goal. I have never seen a more dejected group of millionaire athletes (Team USA).
Now don’t get me wrong, you are a fantastic Commish. And the NHL has one who leaves a lot to be desired. But if you truly care about your fans, You should ensure the focus is on football and boobs. Otherwise, you’ll soon become the LeBroNba. And we all know where that league is headed.
Thanks again for the personal email. You may want to send this to every fan. However, I’m flattered you chose me. By the way, if you get a chance, check out my hockey blog: Dangeroushockey.com. It’s a fresh take on the sport and may be something you’ll find useful for the NFL.
With one of the most exciting regular seasons now completed and the playoffs about to begin, let me first thank you and all NFL fans for your incredible support. Many fans have been asking me where we stand on signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union. Let me update you and be clear at the outset:
I know we can and will reach an agreement.
My goal as Commissioner now is to help our teams and players find a solution that is fair to everyone and ensures that football becomes more popular, accessible, and fun. We want the next decade to be the best yet for our fans, and I’m ready to work day and night to make that happen.
We’ve come a long way. Compare where we are today with 10 years ago. From player accountability to player safety, more and better television coverage, upgrading the in-stadium experience, innovations like the RedZone channel, the Draft in prime time and playing the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl, we are focused on doing what’s best for the players, teams, and fans. My priority is and always will be the game and the fans who love our game.
The NFL is great because fans care deeply about it. Economic conditions, however, have changed dramatically inside and outside the NFL since 2006 when we negotiated the last CBA. A 10 percent unemployment rate hurts us all. Fans have limited budgets and rightly want the most for their money. I get it.
Yes, NFL players deserve to be paid well. Unfortunately, economic realities are forcing everyone to make tough choices and the NFL is no different.
These are not easy negotiations, but the outcome can be positive. If both sides give a little, everyone, including fans, will get a lot and the game will improve through innovation.
Even in difficult economic times, a new CBA presents us with the opportunity to secure the future of our game. You may ask how will the NFL look under this vision?
A significant change would be to resolve fan complaints about preseason by modifying our 20-game format. Fans tell us they don’t like the quality of the preseason games, and we’re listening. An enhanced season of 18 regular season and two preseason games would not add a single game for the players collectively, but would give fans more meaningful, high-quality football.
Our emphasis on player health and safety is absolutely essential to the future of our game. We are strictly enforcing rules that protect players from unnecessarily dangerous play, especially involving hits to the head. We are changing the “play through it” culture to a “player-first” culture to ensure that if a player has a head injury, he doesn’t play again until his health is certain. We are also addressing the potential wear-and-tear on players in the way they train in-season and off-season.
It’s not just the health of players that concerns us. We must ensure the health of the league. That includes a new system that properly compensates proven veterans and retired players by shifting some of the outrageous sums paid to many unproven rookies. Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated published a list of the 50 highest-paid American athletes that included five 2009 NFL rookies. Every other athlete on the list was a proven veteran. In 2009, NFL clubs contracted $1.2 billion to 256 drafted rookies with $585 million guaranteed before they had stepped on an NFL field.
Don’t get me wrong: top draft choices will continue to be highly paid. All we’re asking for is a return to common sense in paying our rookies. Other leagues have done this and we can too.
These improvements and more will lead to better football, plain and simple. A forward looking CBA that is fair to players and clubs will lead to a great future for the NFL and our fans.
My job is to represent the game — the fans, teams, players, coaches and business partners. Protecting the integrity of the game and ensuring it thrives is a responsibility I take very seriously.
This is about more than a labor agreement. It’s about the future of the NFL. We have to improve and will be relentless in our quest. The commitment to our fans is to make the NFL experience even better in the years ahead. With a responsible CBA, we will fulfill that vision.
Happy New Year and enjoy the playoffs.
– Roger Goodell