NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made Green Bay his first stop on his tour of NFL Training Camps Wednesday. He was joined by his safety panel co-chair and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden. Goodell spoke with the media before heading to Chicago.
On being in Green Bay for his first Training Camp tour stop:
"You always have a special feeling coming to Green Bay. This is what football is all about. They (the fans) love their game and they appreciate having the Packers here and having camp here. The way they integrate the fans with the camp is really special.
On the progress of talks with NFL referees that are being locked out as new CBA is negotiated:
"As you can see we are preparing for the season and we will have officials on the field. We hope that the officials from last season will be on the field again this year but to date we haven't been able to get an agreement that makes sense for both parties."
"The whole issue is how do we continue to improve the officials. Of course, they are interested in compensation and benefits and we understand that. We've made a proposal we think is fair with an increase that's 5-11% per official. So we think we've been responsive on that and hopefully we can get something done"
On player safety concerns with replacement refs in place:
"That's why we have been training them for the last two months and why they are on the field now is to make sure they are prepared, they understand the rules. We had this experience in 2002. The big impact we had in 2002 when we had the replacement officials was you didn't get a lot of holding calls and some of the other calls. Safety is obviously such a focus for us, they have been training on that basis. We have back up systems, we have instant replay, we now have our ATC Spotter Program and we have field review with video after the games are over. So, I really don't accept that premise."
If other NFL teams should follow Packers lead on expansion:
"Our teams are doing that. It's important to be a part of your community and to reach out to the fans and make them a part of your team, part of your operation. We are spending more and more time interacting with our fans. This year at the annual meetings is the first time we ever had fans come in to our owners meeting and had some interaction. I think it was very enlightening for our clubs and for our fans."
Changes to Lambeau Field:
"It's terrific. I think what is so special about it is the fact there will be more general admission seats. I think that will be great for the fans. Obviously having the new boards in for the season will be terrific also."
On potential 18-game season:
"We haven't had any discussion about it. Our view was we were going to have to go through a full cycle of the offseason, training camp. We obviously will be done with that shortly and then we will get back to really analyzing it and say what are the positives and negatives?"
On former players concussion lawsuit against NFL:
"We obviously are defending the litigation. We are in court on that so the lawyers are managing that. Meanwhile, what we are doing is continue to find new programs to try and help our former players and be responsive to the issues. I think we have done that effectively, we still have more work to do, but just our announcement last week with our Total Wellness Program, again providing more services to help our players transition through life. We all need that assistance from time to time and our players have unique challenges we have to address and those programs are designed to do that."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Visits Packers Camp
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addresses a number of hot topics at Packers Training Camp Wednesday.