After talking to union head De Smith on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Thursday that he thinks talks will need to continue virtually non-stop if a deal is going to be reached before midnight on March 4, when the current labor agreement expires.
“I think that’s critical,” Goodell said on ESPN’s Jim Rome Is Burning. “I think that’s going to take a sustained and disciplined commitment and around-the-clock talks to get that done.”
But as Rome noted in a follow-up question to Goodell, management and labor haven’t been talking around the clock, and it doesn’t appear that they’re going to talk around the clock over the next month and a half. Goodell acknowledged that a few breaks will be necessary.
“There are probably times when a healthy break from negotiations can occur, but they have to be done in a way that’s working toward an agreement,” Goodell said.
Goodell also made his case for an 18-game season, pressing the point that he wants to eliminate two preseason games while adding two regular-season games, and keeping the total number of games at 20.
Another issue that’s important to Goodell is curtailing trash talk.
“We want to make sure that there’s respect among the players, coaches and most importantly for the game,” Goodell said. “It’s something we’re going to address in the offseason.”
Goodell also indicated that there are positive developments in Los Angeles toward getting the NFL back in the country’s second-biggest market.
“We want to be back in L.A.,” Goodell said. “It’s clearly going to take a stadium to do that successfully. We know the fans want us to be there, but getting a stadium built, and more importantly getting it financed in this kind of environment, is a real challenge.”