Inside The Bills

Goodell on his authority as Commissioner

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2016 – 3:41 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was on hand at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic as it celebrated its 30th year and had some clear comments on where he and the league stand on his authoritative capacity as the NFL’s ruling figure on player cases.

When asked about all the court litigation the league has had to handle, most notably with the Tom Brady Deflategate saga, Goodell calmly explained that the CBA spells out the authority granted to the NFL Commissioner.

“The CBA is very clear. The Court of Appeals made that clear,” said Goodell. “It’s what we negotiated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That authority of the Commissioner has been granted. It’s been litigated. More independent judges have had an opportunity to look at it. It’s the reality of the world we live in right now. It’s unfortunate, but if we can find a better system… we’ve said that since we structured our CBA. If there’s a better system let’s do it.

“But when it comes to the integrity of the game that’s the responsibility of the Commissioner. We’re not going to hand the integrity of the game off to somebody who doesn’t have any involvement in the league. That’s for somebody who understands what is important and making sure we maintain that and maintain the competitiveness of our game. And the reality is our rules apply to everybody. They apply to every player and every team and that’s something we’re going to work hard to maintain and not hand that off to somebody else.”

When asked about how long the Brady case has taken with appeals made on both sides, Goodell didn’t deny that the length of time it has taken has affected their game.

“I think that there is a system in place. We moved quite quickly last spring. The judge made a determination last August that the Appeals Court has reversed and said was an incorrect judgment,” he said. “They have the rights to appeal. The legal system is deliberate if you want to put it bluntly because it does impact our game. But we don’t encourage that obviously and we’d like to get that resolved and move forward.”

When asked if there is any avenue for settlement talks for Brady, Goodell gave indication that the Brady case is probably beyond that as an option.

“We’ve had all those discussions,” he said. “We’ve had several discussions over the past year. At this stage no, but right now we’re moving forward, but the courts will make their decisions and we’ll move forward on that basis.”

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Goodell learned a lot from 90’s Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2016 – 3:26 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was taking part in the Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic for the first time on Monday. Goodell, who was born in Jamestown, NY, was happy to be back in Western New York and called Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly a good friend for many years. Goodell also said he learned something from Kelly and his 90’s Bills teammates when he was an NFL intern 25 years ago.

Back during Buffalo’s four straight Super Bowl appearances, Goodell was just starting off as an up and comer in the NFL offices. One of his assignments was the Pro Bowl, which back then was played after the Super Bowl. He was assigned the task of picking up Pro Bowl participants who had just played in the Super Bowl to take them to the airport to fly to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl the following week.

“I got to know a lot of these guys from the great years of Bills football teams,” Goodell said. “I’d have to pick them up the morning after the Super Bowl and drive them to the airport and we’d fly to Honolulu. I’d always say to Jim and the rest of the guys that I learned a lot from that. Here these guys the discipline that they had that Monday morning, they were all class acts, every single one of them. They obviously were disappointed (after losing), but professional, couldn’t have been better. That bus came at 4:30 or 5 in the morning and they were all there and jumped on the bus and we were off. I learned a lot from that.

“The fact of doing what it takes to be a professional. You may be disappointed with the outcome of a game and that’s hard to deal with, but they had another obligation which was to get to the Pro Bowl. And they got there on time to be on the bus and they were glad to be there. They treated everyone the same way they would’ve if they won I think. And one thing I’ll say about Jim and it’s one of the things I’ve loved about Jim is he treats me the same as he did when I was that young intern in the NFL as he does right now as Commissioner, which I appreciate.”

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Goodell: No timetable on Brady ruling

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2015 – 2:25 pm

Appearing at an event in Pennsylvania Tuesday NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if a timeline was in place for a ruling to be made on Tom Brady’s current four-game suspension as part of the Deflate-gate scandal. Goodell maintained there is no timetable.

“There is no timeline. We want to make sure we have a fair and open process. We are obviously being very thorough and want to make sure we consider all aspects of his appeal,” said Goodell at a fundraising event. “We will make a decision as quickly as possible.”

Brady appealed the four-game ban and there have been reports that unless the ban is lifted in full that the Patriots quarterback will take the league to court over their decision on punishment.

If the four-game ban is upheld, or even reduced to two games Brady would miss the Patriots’ Week 2 game against the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.


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Expanding playoffs on table at owners meetings

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2015 – 12:59 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell won’t put odds on the likelihood of the NFL playoff pool expanding from 12 teams to 14, but he did confirm that the number of clubs that qualify for the postseason will be debated heavily at this week’s owners meetings.

In a one-on-one interview with MMQB’s Peter King, Goodell said the following.

“The expansion of the playoffs will be discussed. There are a lot of factors that go into it. One, we want to be right when we do it … It’s something that we think has got a lot of merit from a competitive side, because it would actually add more teams to the race as you get toward the end of the season. There’s the broadcasting side of it. When would you play that extra game? [A seventh playoff team in each conference would leave] one bye for the first seed in each conference.”

Goodell admitted that a Wild Card game could appear on a Monday night, though college football’s national title game could be a conflict.

The Commissioner also said stadium ticket sales are an issue too knowing that if a team closes the regular season with two home games and then has three home playoff games after that it could be a lot to ask of the fans based in northern climates.

“We have a lot to balance,” Goodell told King.

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Goodell: Pegulas excited by impending ownership

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2014 – 7:47 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had the opportunity to speak to Kim and Terry Pegula personally after the NFL meetings broke Wednesday and his impression was that they are very excited about their impending ownership of the Bills franchise.

“Both Terry and Kim are outstanding people, who went through the process with class,” Goodell said. “It was a very quick process. That’s a tribute to the people who ran the process, but also to both Terry and Kim. As an ownership I think we’re very excited about their involvement with the league. I think they enjoyed the meeting. I had a chance to speak to them afterwards and they felt the meeting was very productive and they’re enthusiastic about their ownership.

“I think this was a great outcome for Western New York and Bills fans and the NFL.”

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One final tribute

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2014 – 7:43 pm

The NFL owners approved Kim and Terry Pegula as the new owners of the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, and after the applause died down, there was another round of applause given for the late Ralph Wilson and those who served under his leadership.

“I did mention that after the Pegulas were approved as owners how important Ralph Wilson was to the league,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “How important he was to me personally. How much respect I had for his leadership, his ownership of the Bills and what he’s meant to Western New York. I’m confident that Terry and Kim are going to build on that legacy. They will take the Bills to another level and I think Mr. Wilson would be very proud of the outcome.”

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon, who worked closely with Jeff Littmann and Mary Owen, who were serving as Trustees for the Wilson ownership, knew that it was a day that brought closure for them as they handed off ownership to the Pegulas.

“Certainly Jeff (Littmann) and Mary (Owen) were in there during the vote and it was an emotional scene for them,” said Brandon. “Commissioner Goodell mentioned the Wilson family, Ralph and Mary and what they’ve meant. The 53 years that Mr. Wilson gave to the National Football League and everything he’s meant to this league and to the people in that room. No one loved being in that room more than Ralph Wilson, and a great respect for the league and for the game of football. The reason we’re all standing here is what he built with a lot of other owners over many years.

“Jeff and Mary have been tremendous stewards of the Wilson family and great members of NFL membership. It was a nice moment when the Pegulas came in and knowing that for years to come we have Buffalo Bills to be focused on and that’s it.”


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Goodell, Brandon on stadium discussion

Posted by Chris Brown on May 21, 2014 – 2:22 pm

There was a lot of talk at the spring league meetings in Atlanta about Buffalo’s stadium situation long term. Commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in on the topic as well as Bills President & CEO Russ Brandon.

A day before the Bills announced they had hired financial and legal advisors to begin the sale process of the club, Goodell reiterated his stance that a new stadium would be best for the team’s long term viability in Western New York.

“I believe a stadium is important to the franchise long term to continue to be successful in Western New York,” said Goodell. “But it is a long-term issue. We have a short-term issue. They are making improvements to the stadium and I think those are positive in the short term. But we all know this lease is 10 years and we have to look well beyond that for this franchise to continue to be successful in western New York.”

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Wednesday morning Brandon was asked if staying with a retro-fit stadium as a long term solution would keep the team financially viable.

“That’s part of the deliverables of going through the studies,” said Brandon. “Obviously you can look at different markets. Kansas City went through a major retro-fit. Green Bay at Lambeau, they went through a major retro-fit. And then you look at new buildings like Minnesota and Atlanta and some of the new stadiums that have come on stream over the last few years. I think that’s our responsibility to deliver to the league what we think makes sense and what we can deliver from a revenue standpoint.”

Brandon said the new stadium working group will likely meet again at Bills training camp.

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Goodell briefed by Bills on advisors

Posted by Chris Brown on May 21, 2014 – 1:55 pm

With the announcement today (Wednesday) that the Bills have retained financial and legal advisors to begin the process of the sale of the team, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained how the league was briefed by the club a day earlier.

“We did have a brief report from (Bills CFO) Jeff Littmann,” said Goodell at a Tuesday press conference. “He told us they are engaging not only a bank but also (legal) counsel. They are proceeding with the process. They will do it in a deliberate fashion and when they come to a conclusion they will let us know. Obviously, they will stay in contact with us and in full cooperation with my office. They recognize the importance of league rules and they will do it the right way. We are confident that will be the case.”


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Goodell on Mr. Wilson’s legacy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 26, 2014 – 11:40 am

In his scheduled press conference at the NFL’s annual meeting in Orlando Wednesday morning, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked to comment on the loss of Mr. Wilson, who passed away Tuesday at age 95.

“Yesterday was a sad day for the NFL and for a lot of us in the NFL he was a special man,” said Goodell. “Coming from Western New York, I know how much he did for the Western New York region and I also know what he’s done for the NFL, just seeing it first hand as a commissioner. He’s a great owner and he was the kind of guy that was principled, he was strong, he understood when to compromise.

“He’s going to be missed by the NFL and by me personally. I spoke to Mary (Wilson) last night and I’ll be at the funeral. He’s someone that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and he’s really done incredible things for the league, for pro football in general, and that’s something that will be a great legacy for him.”

Goodell was also asked if anything can be said about the franchise as it moves forward now absent an owner.  “Well I haven’t focused on that,” he said. “Obviously my thoughts and my heart are with the Wilson family. That’s not something I’ve spent any time on in recent days. We all know they have a lease, we know the terms of that lease and we all know we have to find a long-term solution to keep the Bills there and that’s what we’ll continue to work to do. That’s not our priority right now in the next few days.”

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How much erasing extra pt would cost kickers

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2014 – 12:38 pm

Kickers are routinely the highest scorers on their respective teams each and every season. The only field player in 2013 to eclipse 100 points was Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles with 114 and he still didn’t even outpace his kicker teammate Ryan Succop, who had 118. But if the extra point goes away, which has been raised as a possibility by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it could cost NFL kickers big when it comes to points scored.

The top 25 scoring kickers in 2013 averaged just over 126 points with New England’s Stephen Gostkowski the league leader at 158 points.

Those same top 25 scoring kickers also saw an average of almost 40 of their points come via the extra point.

For Bills kicker Dan Carpenter his 131 point season would be reduced to a 99-point season if the extra point no longer existed. He’d still be the team’s leading scorer for 2013, but that would not be the case for every kicker in the league.

Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop’s point total would drop from 118 to 66 since 44 percent of his points came on extra points this past season. Nineteen of Succop’s points would go directly to teammate Jamaal Charles, who had 19 touchdowns assuming Andy Reid chose to stick with the seven points a touchdown would give his team if the new rules were applied eliminating the extra point.

Other team leading scorers that would change under the new proposed rule would include the following assuming teams took the straight seven points a TD would net on its own instead of trying for eight:

New Orleans
old point total – Garrett Hartley – 107, Jimmy Graham – 96
new point total – Graham – 112, Hartley – 66

old point total – Matt Prater – 150, DeMaryius Thomas – 84
new point total – Thomas – 98, Knowshon Moreno – 91, Julius Thomas – 84, Eric Decker – 77, Prater – 75

old point total – Dan Bailey – 131, Dez Bryant – 78
new point total – Bryan – 91, Bailey – 84

old point total – Robbie Gould – 123, Brandon Marshall – 76, Matt Forte – 74
new point total – Marshall – 86, Forte – 86, Gould – 78

old point total – David Akers – 99, Calvin Johnson – 72
new point total – Johnson – 84, Joique Bell – 58, Akers – 57

old point total – Mike Nugent – 107, A.J. Green – 66
new point total – Green – 77, Marvin Jones – 70, Nugent – 54

old point total – Alex Henery – 114, LeSean McCoy – 66
new point total – McCoy – 77, Henery – 69

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Bills to play primetime game in ’12

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2012 – 12:03 pm

The Buffalo Bills will be playing one of their 16 games in 2012 in primetime with the strong likelihood of being on a Thursday night.

That according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who during his annual league address at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis announced an expansion of the league’s Thursday night football schedule.

“We have eight games currently on the NFL Network schedule and we’re going to expand that to 13 games starting in the 2012 season,” said Goodell. “We’re going to be playing Thursday night games from Week 2 through Week 15. This will result in every team appearing on a Thursday football game and every team having a primetime appearance throughout the season. We think it’s great for the fans and great for the teams to have that primetime exposure and great for the Network.” 

That means 26 of the 32 NFL clubs will appear on the Thursday night schedule during the 2012 regular season along with the two that appear on Thursday night kickoff weekend in Week 1 on NBC which makes 28. Presumably the four that do not will appear either on Sunday or Monday night during the regular season. The 2012 NFL schedule will be released in mid-April.

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Goodell to meet with fans

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2011 – 11:00 am

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be at Sunday’s Bills-Eagles game to meet with a select group of Bills season ticket holders.

Goodell’s visit is part of a series of fan forum events in which the Commissioner meets directly with fans to answer their questions and hear what is on their minds.

The first event took place at the 2010 Pro Bowl in South Florida. More than 100 Bills season ticket holders were selected for the event.

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Hairston on Goodell, Smith Q&A

Posted by Chris Brown on June 29, 2011 – 9:13 am

Bills fourth-round pick Chris Hairston, who is attending the Rookie Symposium in Florida this week, commented on the unexpected visit by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was reportedly invited to speak to the players by Players Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

C_Hairston61 Q&A with DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goddell at the rookie symposium was good, able to get it from the horses mouth

Smith and Goodell briefly addressed the media after their Q&A session with the players, but did not take any questions.


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Bigger rosters short term?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 25, 2011 – 11:48 am

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the possibility of an increase in team roster sizes once the league’s current labor situation is resolved. Here was his answer.

“I do believe that the uncertainty is something we’ll have to consider as it relates to getting players ready to play,” Goodell said. “One, from an injury standpoint, and two, from making the proper evaluations.  We have talked about different concepts depending on how long it goes, that we may have to implement.”

Currently offseason rosters can have a maximum of 80 players. No teams are near that figure right now since the only new additions to NFL clubs since the current labor situation began have been draft choices, and with all of them being unsigned they do not even count toward the roster total.

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Goodell: No new stadium plans

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2011 – 11:25 pm

Among the questions posed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Monday evening in a teleconference with Bills season ticket holders was with the Bills lease closing in on expiration whether a new stadium would be a consideration.

“I’m not aware of a specific new stadium proposal,” said Goodell. “I know that they continue to seek ways to improve the stadium experience and the stadium itself. And that’s critical in making sure that the Bills remain competitive.

“They’ve done a terrific job of making capital improvements to that stadium to make it competitive. It’s always a challenge for teams and communities. It’s one of the things we’re trying to address in the Collective Bargaining Agreement to make sure the Buffalo Bills and small market teams can be successful. It’s how do we incur those investments in the stadiums which are more and more being made in part by the private sector, meaning primarily the teams and the local business communities and the fans. We need to encourage that, but those costs continue to rise and that needs to be recognized in the system.”

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NFL draft on the move?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2011 – 11:21 pm

During Monday night’s teleconference between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Bills season ticket holders, he was asked about the possibility of the NFL draft moving to a different city each year similar to the NHL draft. Goodell said it’s being entertained as an option.

“It’s one (idea) that we have really been studying and we very well may do that,” Goodell said. “As you know we made some changes to our draft to speed it up and increase the pace of the draft that was overwhelmingly positive. Last year we went for the first time to primetime on the first two nights and then the third day.

“We’ve discussed about moving the second night or the third day to another city. There’s tremendous interest across the country in doing that. I think it’s another way to bring our fans in different communities the opportunity to attend the draft. We’re seriously evaluating that alternative. The first thing we need to do is ensure that we continue to have that draft. That’s what we’re doing in defending this antitrust case.”

Goodell, not surprisingly, answered mostly labor and revenue sharing questions from Bills fans as he stepped away from day one of a two-day mediation session in the 8th Circuit.

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Tonight’s call with the commish

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2011 – 1:25 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be fielding questions from Bills season ticket holders tonight (Monday) in a teleconference at 6:30 pm. Bills CEO Russ Brandon will be introducing the commissioner this evening.

“Tonight’s call the commissioner provides a great forum for Bills season ticket holders,” said Brandon. “I look forward to listening at 6:30.”

Goodell has done about a dozen such teleconferences with season ticket holders in other NFL cities and Buffalo is the next in line. I will be moderating the call with the commissioner this evening. We’ll have recap late tonight on

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NFL’s ticket refund policy

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2010 – 3:04 pm

The NFL announced their ticket refund policy today for the 2011 season.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a league-wide ticket refund policy Tuesday for any 2011 preseason and regular-season games that are cancelled due to a work stoppage.

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Bills rookies meet Goodell

Posted by Chris Brown on June 28, 2010 – 6:21 am

Buffalo’s nine-draft choices met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over the weekend at the league’s annual rookie symposium.

Goodell addressed the more than 250 new NFL players for about an hour focusing on “protecting the (NFL) shield” and player safety.

He spoke to the players about honoring the game and personal conduct among other topics and also opened the floor up for questions.

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Fix to clubs sitting starters?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2010 – 12:47 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been outspoken about his dissatisfaction with playoff bound NFL teams sitting their starters for the final two weeks of the regular season. At the NFL owners meetings Wednesday he announced some NFL schedule plans to hopefully rectify that practice.

“One of the key things we’re doing in the short term is in our scheduling,” Goodell said. “We’re trying to schedule, potentially, week 17 will be all division opponents. And maybe even a large part of week 16.

“So, we think that will address this to some extent. It will not necessarily eliminate the issue but the competition committee, and I’ve stressed to them, we need to continue to look at this because it’s important to the quality of what we do, the integrity of our game.”

Divisional matchups the last two weeks of the season would obviously impact division title races if they were close, knowing head-to-head record and division record are the first two tiebreakers. So it sounds like a good plan. Of course if a team is way ahed of the rest of the division like the Colts were in 2009, where they had home field wrapped up with two weeks to play, it’s not going to fix that.

Last season the Bills beat a playoff bound Colts team in Week 17 that pulled its starters not long after the first quarter of play, including Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Buffalo won the game 30-7.

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