NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was a guest on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (6-10 a.m. ET M-F) Friday, Jan 15th at 8:43 a.m. ET.
Co-hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg questioned Goodell about the effectiveness of the league’s “Rooney Rule,” requiring that minority candidates be interviewed when an NFL head coaching job is open, following Washington’s interviewing secondary coach Jerry Gray prior to hiring Mike Shanahan.
The Mikes also asked Goodell if he is looking at ways to ensure teams play their starters at the end of the season, of the reaction to moving the Pro Bowl’s date and location, and about conversations regarding a new collective bargaining agreement with the players.
Commissioner Goodell sound bites
On teams resting starters in end-of-season games:
“We think its something that needs to be studied. The integrity of the game is the most important thing. We want to make sure the games all season long have meaning and are important to our fans and the best players are playing to win.”
On the “Rooney Rule” after signings of coaches Carroll in Seattle and Shanahan in Washington:
“I feel that the Rooney Rule was not only observed, but followed very sincerely by both of the clubs… I was very confident that Leslie Frazier believed he had a very good opportunity of that job as recently as last Saturday, and I’m convinced in speaking with that club that that’s the case. I think the ‘Rooney Rule’ has been terrific for the NFL and I think it’s been terrific for advancement of our personnel. We’ll continue to enforce it aggressively and I think it was done well by our clubs this year.
“I think a lot of people jump to conclusions, and I understand that because they didn’t have all the information. They (teams) have some right to confidentiality in this process. As long as I’m aware of the fact that they took all the right steps -- and I verified that by the way.”
On moving the Pro Bowl from Hawaii and changing the date:
“It is a big change. We thought it was a great way to create a new platform and a bigger platform for our great players…We’ve already sold more tickets to the Pro Bowl this year than we’ve sold in the past. Hawaii’s been a great place and we’re going back next year. This is an opportunity for us to try something different and have this be the lead up to Super Bowl Week, and we think it’s a great way to start the game. So far the reaction has been very positive.”
On the NFL Players Union, the labor agreement and uncapped year:
“Good news is that dialogue is happening. But obviously as we get closer to the start of a new year it becomes increasingly likely we’ll be in an uncapped season, and the clubs are preparing for that.”