Chicago Sun-Times

Highlights from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's press conference in London

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a fan forum at a luxurious London hotel. About 130 fans were there, wearing jerseys representing most of the league's team.

The first question was from a Bears fan, who wanted to know if Goodell was open to reconsider the kickoff rule, which has impacted Devin Hester and the Bears.

"It's higher than we thought, quite frankly," Goodell said. "We'd like to see it play out.

"We haven't, in my mind, come up with the best solution yet."

Goodell added that they would re-evaluate the rule, at season's end.

"It's also something we're not going to compromise, and that's player safety," he said.

Goodell also said he did not believe the Bears were among the several teams that have expressed an interest in playing a game in London annually.

Here are other highlights from his presser:

* A Bengals fan asks about the NFL's personal conduct policy, as it relates to former Bears running back Cedric Benson: "Cedric is a great young man. He cannot put himself in a position, where he's going to either be violating the law or put himself in a position where people even accuse him.

"I think we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. I hope Cedric has a great career, because he's a fine young man."

* On if teams that play in London should come earlier: "Every team is trying to figure out what the right way to do that is, because these games are competitive. These count. We want teams to feel comfortable with the way they're preparing for the game. So we're not as concerned about when they arrive. The fact that they're here playing is a great promotion for their league and their club."

* On if the Bucs have shown an interest in playing annually in London: "They've shown an interest, just by being here two out of three years. We want to get as many teams back here. But if teams are interested in coming back consistency, we'd be willing to look at that.

* On if the Bears have expressed an interest in doing that? "I don't believe so."

* On how teams are picked for the international game: "We can't require a team to do it. But... the most dramatic changes is we're not having to tell teams to do it. We're having to tell teams, 'Sorry.' There's too much interest."

* On the ultimate goal of football in London: "The ultimate goal is to continue to expand our game. You see from the fans reaction today, they understand the game. They understand football, and they want more of it. So our job is to find more football and find more fans. If we're successful with that, then maybe a franchise is part of that."

* On the reception from local businesses: "Very positive. In fact, I was with a lot of our partners last night that obviously have strong relationships and businesses here. The game has grown, and the popularity has grown, and that's allowed them to use this game and also the brand of the NFL to sell whatever they want to sell. Our brand is working, not just in the United States, but also on a global basis. And that's a sign, again, of the popularity of the game and the fact that the brand represents quality."

* On HGH testing: "It's up to the union, at this point. We've put together all the details of how it would work, we're ready to start HGH testing as soon as Monday. We've given them every aspect of how it would work. We've been discussing this for well over a year, as part of the collective bargaining agreement. So, we hope they'll agree to do it very soon. We think it's in the best interest of the game, we think it's in the best interest of the players."

* On expansion to 18-game season: "Fans across the globe, but most importantly our season ticket holders, don't really think that preseason games live up to the standard of the NFL. I agree with them. So we're looking to see how we can improve that... By having those extra regular season games, not only do you improve the quality and the value to season ticket holders, you also make it easier for us to bring more games internationally. So it's a big plus for fans here, and in Europe and throughout the globe."

* On the Minnesota Vikings stadium situation and possibility of club moving to L.A.: "I sure hope not. I hope you're watching, but I hope they're in Minnesota. I just spoke with the governor last week... We're working very closely with the governor and legislative leaders. Clearly, the Vikings are focused on an Arden Hills site. And I think that has a real strong possibility. We're going to continue to work with them...

"We want to see the team stay in Minnesota, it does need a new stadium, and we'll get that done, I hope."

* On Dallas Cowboys playing abroad: "I think that's going to be very difficult for [Jerry Jones] to give up a home game."

Goodell added, though, that the Cowboys could come as the visiting team.

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You don't have to be a Bears fan to see how negatively the new kickoff rule has affected the game. Can anyone conceive of a more boring "play" than a touchback?

Have kickoff's effected the Hester? He seems to be doing just fine. Teams keep trying to thread the ball to him and trap him, that's because teams are stupid.

They are never going to expand the nfl abroad, teams don't want to give up a home game unless they are the Bucs, Jags, CHargers etc, although I do like the sound of the Norway Vikings, bye.

They should try playing a Thursday or Saturday game after a bye week. Better for the players and still gives them time to get home and recover. Saturday would be the best followed by a monday night game for one team and a Sunday night for the other. You get a primetime game as a reward for going, bigger named teams like the Bears will be more inclined to except that and smaller market teams will jump at the chance. You can also get bigger rivalry games than the Bucs and a popular team playing on the road. You should also not lose a home game, it should be a road game for both team. You should always get 8 at home. Both teams are on the road right? Count it as a road game.

If the team has to go to London they should be rewarded for helping the league expand, not punished.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on October 22, 2011 7:56 AM.

Bears take a crack at cricket was the previous entry in this blog.

Jet lag? Bucs have their own travel issues in this game is the next entry in this blog.

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