NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told our own Mike Florio on The Dan Patrick Show that as he travels from training camp to training camp and visits with fans, he has heard one thing loud and clear: The preseason stinks.
“The fans have made it incredibly clear that they don’t like preseason games,” Goodell said. “So the idea of staying within the 20-game format and taking two preseason games and converting them to regular season games has a lot of appeal. But you have to do it in a comprehensive fashion that is going to ensure that the game stays safe for our players, and that we maintain the kind of quality or improve on the quality that we’re doing.”
Goodell stopped short of saying that this will be the NFL’s last four-game preseason, but he did say he hears from fans that an 18-game regular season and shortened preseason is the way to go.
“We need to listen to our fans,” Goodell said.
Goodell also touched on several other hot-button issues in the NFL, including the status of quarterbacks Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre.
“Michael didn’t do anything wrong in the sense of a violation of his probation or the conditions of his probation, or the terms of his suspension or discipline with the league,” Goodell said of the Vick birthday party that ended with Vick’s dogfighting co-defendant Quanis Phillips getting shot. “What he needs to do, though, is make sure he doesn’t put himself into positions where he can be caught in this kind of controversy.”
As to Roethlisberger, Goodell said he has been impresed with Roethlisberger’s conduct over the last couple of months, but he hasn’t changed his stance on the suspension for the Steelers’ quarterback.
“We’re staying within the framework of four to six games,” Goodell said. “He has to affirmatively work with the professionals that he’s been working with, to meet the guidance that he’s been given, the support that he needs. And I think he’s making tremendous progress. I’m encouraged by where he is and I think he’s in a much better place than he’s been.”
Goodell said he hopes Favre makes the decision that’s best for himself, but Goodell also said that from a personal standpoint, he’d love to see Favre come back.
“I think Brett Favre is always good for the league,” Goodell said.
Goodell has been traveling with John Madden during his training camp tour, and Florio also asked what kind of food the commissioner eats when hanging out on the Madden Cruiser.
“I didn’t lose any weight over the last few days,” Goodell said. “Let’s put it that way.”