The Cincinnati Bengals continued to improve fan relations by inviting season ticket holders to a Q&A session with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. There was a limited number of fans and media members allowed into a Zoom call, and questions were submitted to the NFL before the call started. Roger Goodell came into the Zoom call ready to answer questions from the Bengals fans.
Roger Goodell, Bengals Host Q&A with Fans and Media
Bengals owner Mike Brown started off the call with an introduction of Commissioner Goodell taking up about a minute of time. That was the last we saw or heard of Mr. Brown, as his screen went black. Goodell started out thanking everyone for joining the call. He talked about being excited for the return of fans to games, and he stated that players and coaches share in his excitement. Fake crowd noise and cardboard fans were a poor substitute for real fans. Goodell said that fans mean everything to the success and popularity of the NFL.
Dan Hoard (Bengals play-by-play announcer) took over asking questions, starting by asking if Goodell enjoys interacting with the fans at games. Goodell stated that he recently attended an Arizona Cardinals practice, and he attended a New York Jets practice that had 5,000 fans. He enjoys hearing from fans to find out what they like and dislike. Goodell said that he is a fan at heart, and that is why he got into this business. He still believes he is a fan, and he pushes the NFL clubs to do everything through the vision of the fans. Expansion of the regular season schedule was done due to negative fan feedback about preseason games.
Goodell’s Game Day Routine
Hoard asked about Goodell’s game day routine. He stays in his office in New York that has one television with four different screens. Goodell was asked about his daily work schedule. He said that no day is the same. He goes form talking with fans to network executives. After the Zoom call ended, he planned on talking with a retired player who will be developing players from Africa. He works hard to stay productive while keeping the fans’ expectations first. Goodell wants to put the best possible league out there.
When asked about what he is looking forward to most in 2021, he responded that the fans returning helps him feel the most excitement. The 17 game season and the reduction of the preseason bring the most interest. He said the extension of playoffs has allowed for more fan interest late in the season. The Commissioner is looking forward to the continued expansion of legalized sports betting to increase fan interest. The NFL is still dealing with COVID-19, so safety is first in mind for personnel and fans. Goodell expects the NFL to play a full season with less interruptions this year.
Goodell’s Cincinnati Memories
Before he was commissioner, Goodell attended Bengals playoff games. Cincinnati is an enjoyable experience as he believes they have some of the most sophisticated and passionate fans. He believes this is due to the state of Ohio being the birthplace of professional football. He said his favorite experience was attending a playoff game against the Jets where he had Skyline Chili while tailgating with fans in the parking lot.
The first fan selected asked, “There were a number of rule changes in the NFL. Which do you believe is the most impactful?” Goodell responded that rule changes are driven from fans. The current NFL overtime rule came from a fan suggestion. Other suggestions are brought by players and coaches to the competition committee for review. Changes normally come from the context of safety. Goodell is looking forward to seeing how rules taking out blocking techniques that led to injuries will impact the game. He is also looking into changing onside kicks to make the game more exciting. Over the past few seasons the number of successful onside kicks has drastically decreased. He believes this leads to a “dead play.” He would rather bring more excitement without affecting the fairness of the game.
A fan’s grandson asked, “Does the NFL have any plans to make games more entertaining for young fans?” Goodell talked about how the Nickelodeon broadcast from last season with different voices and slime special effects was done to attract younger fans. He was surprised by the reaction of younger fans and families as over two million fans viewed that broadcast. This will happen again this season, and there will be efforts to expand the Nickelodeon broadcast with more interactivity. Fans will be able to ask questions during the game and they will be able to select highlights.
A third fan asked what the future hold for expansion internationally. Goodell believes global expansion is a great opportunity. Every club agreed to give up a home game over an eight year period to play internationally. This season will only have two games in England and Mexico due to safety concerns. Goodell is excited about potential games in Germany and South America as well.
Finally a fan asked about bringing NFL events to Cincinnati. Goodell stated that events such as the NFL Draft are intentionally brought to NFL cities that are not large enough or warm enough to hold Super Bowls. Requests are piling in for cities to host these events in the future, but they are being planned out on a five year basis. The fan then surprised Goodell by asking what the NFL will do to help the Bengals and the city of Cincinnati extend the upcoming lease on Paul Brown Stadium (PBS). Goodell said that the stability of franchises is important to the NFL and the fanbases. He stated that PBS is a great stadium that was built for football. He thinks there needs to be continued improvement on making the stadium exciting and inviting for fans. Still he believes there is a high probability the lease will be completed quickly. Goodell wants the Bengals in Cincinnati, and he doesn’t see a scenario where that would change.
Roger Goodell did not shy away from any of the fan questions, but the time for fan questions was limited to 15 minutes. After 30 minutes of mostly easy questions from Dan Hoard, that did not allow for more than the four questions. The final fan did sneak in a tough question that did rattle Goodell for a quick moment. Still Goodell gave a strong answer that should keep Bengals fans happy. This was yet another great move by the team to give back to the fans, and Goodell made everyone feel great about the future of the Bengals.
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