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Chat transcript: Commissioner Roger Goodell

Hi everyone, and welcome to's moderated chat. Commissioner Roger Goodell joined us Thursday, Sept. 11, to respond to questions from fans.

Goodell is entering his third season as NFL Commissioner, having taken office on Sept. 1, 2006, succeeding Paul Tagliabue. Before being named commissioner, Goodell managed a wide array of football and business operations during a 24-year career in the NFL.

Commissioner Roger Goodell
2 p.m. ET
Good afternoon everyone. I enjoy hearing from and interacting with our fans and so far, we have almost 4,000 questions. Thanks for this great response and your interest. I wish I could answer all of your questions over the next 45 minutes. So, let's get started.

Joe Benjamin, Bath, Pa.
2:02 p.m. ET

What do the letters gu and number 63 stand for on all the jerseys?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
Gene Upshaw and 63 was his number when he played for the Raiders. It is part of how we are honoring Gene this season after his untimely death.

Riles, Denver, Colo.
2:03 p.m. ET

Hi Mr. Goodell thank you for sharing you time asnwering NFL fans questions! Being the son of a former New York senator, what growing up did you learn from your dad about politics that has maybe helped you most since becoming the commissioner of the NFL?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
The most important thing to do is to listen to different perspectives and respect different perspectives. The great thing about being involved in the National Football League is the tremendous interest in our game and everyone from club personnel to media to partners to our fans all have an important opinion. I try to respect all of those as my father did.

Antonio Bargas, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
2:05 p.m. ET

Are there any plans to bring a game or games to Mexico? The Cowboys would be a great team to have in the Azteca Stadium for an exhibition or a regular season game. And is the league thinking about giving a franchise to Mexico in the future? Thank you very much

Commissioner Roger Goodell
We would love to play a regular season game in Mexico as early as 2009. Since our first regular season game in 2005, we have expanded our regular season games internationally. We have great fans in Mexico and would like to bring more games and more football to our fans there.

Michael Emph, Washington, PA
2:07 p.m. ET

Did you play football for W&J college and what position did you play in college?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
No. Unfortunately. My biggest regret is not playing college football.

Mike, Salemburg NC
2:08 p.m. ET

What are the plans about the Pre-season possible being cut to 3 or 2 games? Thanks.

Commissioner Roger Goodell
We're evaluating our entire offseason, preseason and regular season structure. We believe that the quality of the preseason games can be improved. One of the alternatives would be to reduce the number of preseason games from 4 to either 3 or 2, which would make those games more meaningful. Since we're in a 20 game season, we are also considering the alternative of turning those preseason games into regular season games.

Scott, Clovis, Calif.
2:10 p.m. ET

Hey Commissioner, thanks for your time here. As a fan, I am worried about what kind of changes would occur if there were no salary cap in the NFL. Do you feel that the salary cap is a necessary component of the game, or do you think that the league would be better off as a whole without a cap?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
These are good questions that we're analyzing the answers to. The cap system, which balances free agency, has been successful in the past. There are other systems that might also work. As we evaluate these both from an economic and competitive stand point, the goal is to keep the competitive balance of the league.

Scott DeRosa, Rochester, NY
2:12 p.m. ET

First of all, I wanted to pay you a compliment on the way you have handled yourself so far as Commisioner. Nice "common sense" approach. Keep up the great work in keeping the NFL a class above the rest of the pro sports leagues! Second, and an important second ... Will you do everything in your power to keep the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo? However, I truly hope you do "the right thing" and give the small market teams with the passionate/loyal fan bases, every opportunity to stay in their respective towns). Going to a Bills game is better than going to most college games....That IS what NFL is all about! Thanks and all the best.

Commissioner Roger Goodell
Being from western New York, I understand the importance of the Bills to Buffalo and the entire western New York region. We all must do our part to make sure the Bills remain successful in Buffalo and I pledge my full support. The efforts to regionalize the Bills to Rochester and more recently to southern Ontario and the Ontario market have enabled the team to be successful. I appreciate your support of the Bills. One of the highlights for me last season was attending the Dallas-Buffalo game and seeing the tremendous passion of the Bills fans displayed nationwide on Monday Night Football.

Raider Fan - TJ, Texas
2:16 p.m. ET

Commish, I'm in the military and had a great visit with you when you came to visit us in Kabul, Afghanistan. (I was the guy with the Raider flag) That was one of the highlights of my deployment. A few weeks prior to your visit we had Eric Davis and Coach Nolan come see us. Do you envision more NFL coaches & players supporting additional visits to military bases next year? I hope so, it was huge to see guys make the extra commitment to come see us and show their support.

Commissioner Roger Goodell
Absolutely. We fully intend to continue our USO trips to support our troops worldwide. Over 200 players and coaches have participated since the mid-1960s and we are fully committed to continue this important program. I appreciate your comments about how much you enjoyed our visit, but it was really a great honor for the players and me to be with you. You're an inspiration to all of us and we're proud of the tremendous sacrifice you all are making for us. Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you again.

Billy Maloney, Los Angeles
2:19 p.m. ET

Why is the NFL so firm on TD celebrations. I understand excessive celebrations but why is it not allowed to get down on your knees?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
Football is a team game. We allow celebrations under certain restrictions so that it does not become a distraction to the game. Also, we know that our players set an example for younger players and while passion and enthusiasm are important, so is professionalism. Players have gotten very creative with respect to these types of demonstrations and the Competition Committee evaulates it each year to ensure that our players meet certain standards in class and conduct.

Dillon Moore, Robertsdale, Ala.
2:23 p.m. ET

Do you OK the fact that the formerly known Chad Johnson changed his name to Chad "Ocho Cinco?" If not, I would like to know how you feel about the subject. Thanks!

Commissioner Roger Goodell
If Chad has legally changed his last name to Ocho Cinco, we will permit him to wear that on his uniform. However, like every player, he has the obligation to do it within our rules and not negatively impact our business partners. I hope a resolution will be reached.

Joe Drews, Fountain Valley, Calif.
2:26 p.m. ET
What do you see the NFL looking like in 10 years?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
I can't see the future any more than anyone else, but we will continue to focus on making sure that we deliver the best entertainment and sports for our fans. That starts with making certain the game stays strong and competitive. Technology will play a big part in allowing greater access to the NFL on all levels. This will be great for the fans and allow us to continue to grow.

Brian Lefkowitz, Staten Island, N.Y.
2:28 p.m. ET

Hello Roger, as a Jets season ticket holder, and fan of the league itself, do you feel as if it's the Commissioner's job to have some say in PSL prices?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
Brian, decisions on ticket prices and PSLs are made on an individual club basis. Ticket prices vary widely throughout the league based on a number of factors in each market.
PSLs have been used to help build 15 NFL stadiums. As fans have learned more about the benefits of PSLs, they have grown to understand that they have long-term value to them. Clubs are all sensitive to the costs to fans and are taking steps to try to manage that.

Rich, Spokane, Wash.
2:34 p.m. ET

What was your favorite football team when you were a kid? Who were some of your favorite players?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
I was originally a Baltimore Colts fan. I was a huge fan of Johnny Unitas and John Mackey. In the 1970s, I became a Redskins fan. I have great respect and admiration for all of our players, but some of my all-time greats are Mel Blount and Walter Payton because of the way they played the game. Now my good fortune is that I am a fan of all 32 teams!

Will Sever, Texas
2:39 p.m. ET

What would you say it takes to be a commissioner for the NFL?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
A great passion for the game and a deep understanding of how we create success for everyone involved in the game, including players, fans, coaches, partners and owners. Because of the popularity of the game, it is a tremendous responsibility and it is my job to make sure I leave it in a better condition when I move on. But the most important thing is that the success of the league is not about the Commissioner, but it is about our great game.

Nancy Janasiak, Saukville, Wis.
2:42 p.m. ET

Why did you feel the need to intervene between the Green Bay Packers management and Brett Favre? Doesn't that set a precedence with other players, who may have conflicts with their teams?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
Nancy, a major part of my responsibility as Commissioner is conflict-resolution. Brett Favre had rights as a player and the Green Bay Packers had rights as his team. My job was simply to make sure those rights were respected and league policy was followed. I had no involvement in whether Brett played for the Packers or any other team.

Matt D., Pittsburgh
2:45 p.m. ET

The rules regarding which games can be broadcast locally during Sundays seem very complex and archaic, and they often cause viewers to miss the best matchups on a given Sunday. Does the league have any plans to review these rules?

Commissioner Roger Goodell
Matt, our broadcast policies are reevaluated regularly and have adapted to changes in the media landscape, but they have served our fans particularly well. We are the only league to continue to have our games in each home market shown on free television. This ensures that you will see the Steelers each week. With new technologies and modifications to our policies, you are seeing more games on television than ever before. As an example, our Sunday Ticket package allows for those fans who don't want to miss any game the opportunity to see all games. This is a great supplement to our network TV packages.

Thanks for all your questions and your support of NFL football. It's clear by the number of questions that all of you have submitted that we need to do this more frequently. We will schedule another date to do this in the near future. Thanks again.

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