The future of the Pro Bowl, future Super Bowl venues and potential alterations to the league's trade deadline could all become critical issues moving forward. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed a variety of topics at the spring owners meeting.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks, people listen. Fresh off his victory in Minnesota to do his part to change the tide in the stadium debate, RG1 took to the microphone Tuesday at the NFL spring owners meeting to discuss several issues related to the state of the NFL.
Among the topics hit by the commissioner:
The Pro Bowl is still potentially going to get played this year. Discussion at the owners meetings centered on the quality of play and ways to make the game better, more competitive and more attractive for a viewing audience.
When it came to discussion of a retractable roof stadium in Atlanta and whether the decision to turn a fixed roof into a retractable roof would help the odds of Atlanta getting a Super Bowl bid, Goodell brought up the Vikings. He said that improving a stadium is always an issue when it comes to trying to secure a Super Bowl bid, saying that the issue came up in Minnesota. Goodell said having a stadium and the infrastructure to play host to a Super Bowl are key components and that the competition for future Super Bowls is becoming more fierce all the time.
In response to the increasing role social media plays, especially among younger NFL fans, Goodell said the NFL is working out the logistics to have all stadium Wi-fi capable so those with electronic devices in NFL stadiums can access replays, fantasy football updates and even the league's own RedZone Channel. Goodell said the 2012 season isn't realistic to equip all 31 NFL stadiums, but said two or three will likely be equipped to troubleshoot any potential issues that might arise before going league-wide with the program.
He addressed the potential of creating the NFL's own developmental league to allow young players to get more exposure and potentially unearth NFL diamonds in the rough – not create a competition league under its own banner.
The commissioner asserted that the proof the NFL had in relation to the Bountygate scandal will eventually be made public – following current appeals to the league's ruling.
Goodell said that the current practice of the Buffalo Bills playing games in Toronto and the NFL scheduling a regular-season game in London will continue. He said the goal of the Buffalo Bills is to become a regional franchise that will consider upstate New York and southern Ontario as part of its fan reach (much like the Dakotas are viewed as Vikings Country). Goodell also said that the London series has been very well-received and ticket sales have been strong, despite coming on the heels of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
While Goodell did address many of the issues, one of the biggest talking points of the owners meetings won't be officially discussed. In an attempt to make in-season trading more palatable, a proposal has been made to push back the trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8 of the regular season. Such an early trade deadline makes deals difficult to make, primary because six weeks into a season, unless a team is 1-5 or 0-6, management isn't willing to "give up" on that season. By the midway point of the season, many more of the "have not" teams have become apparent. The issue was tabled by the owners and referred to the league's Management Council, which includes the players association.
While the May owners meetings don't often have the bluster and ramifications in terms of rules changes that go on in the winter meetings, there are several fluid issues that are going to have an impact on the league – far beyond the requirement of leg pads. Goodell addressed a lot of issues in the "new look/post lockout" NFL. While no "front-burner" type issues are being discussed, the meetings are more than just golfing and billionaires toasting each others' good health. The future of the Pro Bowl, future Super Bowl venues and potential alterations to the league's trade deadline could all become critical issues moving forward. While largely ignored by the sporting public, the decisions made at the current owners meetings may in fact carry some significant weight in the coming months and years in the NFL.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.