The Super Bowl will be played in Miami this weekend, but the Jets and their crosstown rivals the Giants would love to host the big game outside in wintry conditions come 2014. You can count NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a big fan of the idea.
“The idea of playing in the elements is central to the way the game of football is played. I think being able to do that and celebrate the game of football in the number one market could have tremendous benefits to the league going forward,” said the commissioner in his annual State of the League Address on Friday.
Falling one step short of an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV, the Jets will surely have their sights set on Dallas and Super Bowl XLV once training camp opens up this summer.
But the Green & White could be headed south of Texas if the NFL once again decides to hold a regular-season game in Mexico. Quarterback Mark Sanchez is third-generation Mexican American, he’s quickly become one of the most popular players in the game, and the Jets would be a natural selection for Mexico if the NFL chooses to hold a regular-season game there in 2011 or beyond.
“We would love to get back to Mexico. And what has to happen is you have to develop the right formula, where it’s good for our partners in Mexico, it’s good for the NFL, and we can continue to grow the game in Mexico,” said Goodell. “We know that there are millions of fans not only in Mexico but the Hispanic fans we have here in the States. It continues to grow rapidly. We would love to get back there.”
But the 800-pound gorilla in the room right now for the league and its fans is labor unrest. Unless there’s a dramatic shift in the next few days and weeks, the NFL will have an uncapped season in 2010 and a murky horizon.
“We still have a lot of time and a lot of important opportunities here to structure something that makes sense for everybody. And as I said, we’re committed and we’re determined to do that,” Goodell said. “Our focus is on the immediate future. In the next 30 days or so, we’ll be going into an uncapped year if we are not successful. A lot of players will be affected by that. We’d like to see if something can get done.”
Last spring the owners opted out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was most recently extended in 2006. On a weekend that will feature teams from Indianapolis and New Orleans in the NFL’s title game, Goodell knows how important revenue sharing has been to his league.
“That has been at the core of our success, and the ownership repeatedly has looked at revenue sharing and improved on revenue sharing. I think that is something that they will continue to do as necessary,” he said. “As it relates to the salary cap and labor agreement, we want to make sure we get an agreement here that will allow us to continue to invest in the game and grow the game in a way in which everyone will benefit.”
According to Goodell, the owners had no choice but to try to get a new agreement because the players were raking in tremendous profits and there were losses on the other end.
“Right now the important number to focus on is since the 2006 agreement was struck, we have generated $3.6 billion in incremental revenue, additional revenue — $2.6 [billion] of that has gone to the players,” he said. “The owners are actually $200 million worse off than they were in 2006. So the system is not working for at least one side of the equation.”
There is growing fear that no labor agreement over the next 12 months will lead to a lockout. Union head DeMaurice Smith was asked this week how seriously he viewed the possibility of no football being played in 2011 and his answer of “On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 14” was rather ominous.
“The idea that ownership would be anxious for a work stoppage is absolutely false," Goodell said. "You don’t make money by shutting down your business. It’s a bad scenario for everybody. I can assure you the ownership and I believe the players, in talking to individual players, want to get an agreement and want to work to do that. We are currently committed to do that and I am right there at the forefront.”
Time’s ticking for everyone.
â– The NFL definitely wants to institute a change to its current four-game preseason setup, but any alterations will have to be agreed upon in a whole new CBA.
“The restructured season is something that we give a lot of consideration, for a variety of reasons," the commissioner said. "One isthe quality of what we do. I consistently hear from players and fans that the quality of our preseason is not up to NFL standards and that we need to fix that, we need to address that.”
â– Preventing head injuries will continue to be part of the league’s agenda. Football is being played by enormous players at rates of speed that we’ve never seen before, so safety figures to remain paramount.
“I think concussions have been a major focus in the league for several years, and we need to make sure we continue to do what we can to make the game safer,” Goodell said. “And that deals with how we modify the rules and take certain techniques out of the game, how we use the better equipment to make sure that our players are safer, and what we can do to make sure that our coaches and our players understand the serious nature of these injuries, and that they get medical help as soon as an injury occurs.”
Shoutout from Another Current Saint, Former Jet
Randy Lange, newyorkjets.com‘s editor-in-chief, chatted with several members of the Saints and Colts in South Florida earlier this week, and one person a select few may remember from his days with the Jets is Doug Miller, New Orleans senior director of new media.
"The Jets provided me with 16 amazing and memorable years," said Miller, who rose to public relations director before accepting a great opportunity to head for the Bayou in 2006. "I’m forever grateful for the support I got from people like Frank Ramos, Steve Gutman, Bob Parente, Mr. Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum. I really enjoyed watching the Jets’ success this season and I still keep in touch with a lot of my friends there.
"And yes, the thought of a Jets-Saints Super Bowl crossed a few minds."
Maybe next year in Big D, Doug.
Tags: Mark Sanchez, Roger Goodell, Super Bowl
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