Roger Goodell concerned over role of daily fantasy


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about the league's stance on daily fantasy, and answered questions about officiating and instant replay during a fan forum with Minnesota Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf in Minneapolis on Sunday.

Every game, all season

Goodell reiterated the league's view that fantasy sports should be about providing fans a fun way to interact with the game. Consequently, he said the league sees a "big distinction" between season-long fantasy and daily fantasy.

"Season-long fantasy ... it's for fun, it's social, it's a way to enjoy the game and we encourage our kids to do it," Goodell said. "It's a way to connect people and we think it's a wonderful thing.

"Daily fantasy has taken a little bit different approach, and it's one that we have not been as active in that. We want to make sure we understand how it's going to be done. We love people who can engage in the game and have fun with it. It's not about making money, it's about the ability to engage and enjoy your team or the players that you pick and have that opportunity to do that."

Is Goodell worried about daily fantasy sports possibily damaging the integrity of game?

"That's my No. 1 concern, and that's why we've opposed legalized gambling. Daily fantasy is different in this sense ... It really would be difficult to have that quote-end-quote influence that we are worried about with gambling in general. So I'm less troubled on that front. But I also want to make sure our consumers, our fans, if you play something, I want to make sure there are proper consumer protections. That's important for us and I think that's something that is missing from the current structure."

In addition, Goodell addressed questions from fans regarding the state of officiating. He expressed confidence in the "tremendous" work carried out by game officials, and said the league is very open about when things go wrong. He said the league will continue to hold their officials to high standards.

Pro Bowl ballot

"If someone makes a mistake, we announce it publicly now, which several years ago we didn't do," Goodell said. "We obviously tell the clubs involved. And then we go back and officials can be downgraded for a mistake by individual or crew. Second, if you are downgraded ... every official, every week is graded on every single call ... If they are graded down far enough, the likelihood is that they'll be suspended."

Goodell also addressed replay, saying the league is looking into streamlining the process in order to ensure the right call has been made within a reasonable time frame.

"In general, we need to streamline replay anyhow," Goodell said. "When I'm sitting in a stadium and I see the time it takes (to review a play), that's a negative for me.

"I would not assume replay is not going to solve all of our officiating problems ... I don't think it will go to cover pass interference. We might decide to expand or tweak it in certain ways, but always with a balance with how it disrupts a game. ... We monitor the length of the games to the second and we watch that and this year we're up by three minutes, and that's (troubling)."

In addition to finding ways to make games a little shorter, Goodell said the league is continuing to look at the possibility of shortening the preseason. 

"There's a value in the preseason in all fairness," Goodell said. "Do we need four (games) anymore? That's a lot of games. So I'm a big believer in how do we get better? I personally don't believe the preseason is at that level, so we will continue to look at that."