I mean, what was that?
"We have to get beyond this negotiating ploy of opening the books, because that's all it is," said Goodell, with his interpretation of what the players want the owners to do during negotiations for a new labor deal. In other words, the commissioner was insulting the intelligence of everybody listening to his State of the NFL Address.
Of course, the owners should allow the players to see how much red as opposed to black is causing the owners to threaten a lockout.
That is, if there is a lot of red.
Said Goodell, shrugging at the podium while adding, "The players have more than sufficient information to understand why the economics of this (old) deal does not work."
They do? So why are they saying the opposite?
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Actually, that was the league's version of Pravda, with the commissioner as its designated spokesperson. He kept suggesting, for instance, that the owners need a new labor deal, because the current one is sending them closer to the nearest soup kitchen.
This is despite the fact that NFL television ratings are at their highest level in decades. Plus, ticket prices have risen faster than the national deficit, and the league never has been more profitable. But Goodell countered by adding the players need to earn less to help the owners, because a team hasn't built a new stadium since 2006.
He didn't say 1906, which would have made sense. He said 2006 -- as in five years ago, as in, why is he even mentioning this, especially since the only glaring stadium issues for the NFL out of 32 teams are in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area and San Diego?
Just call it Goodell's attempt to stiff arm folks away from the truth with a straight face and a strong voice, but it isn't working. Surely anybody who knows the difference between a goal post and a kicking tee could tell that Goodell was scrambling for the sidelines when he was asked why the NFL wishes to expand from 16 regular season games to 18.
Remember, too, that the NFL spent last year claiming the health of the players was one of its primary goals.
"Injuries occur in preseason games, including the four preseason games, so you have to try to look to see what you can do in the offseason," Goodell said, which is fine. But what does that have to do with adding two more games to the regular season?
The players don't want it. Neither do the fans. "We started this with the fans," Goodell said, with raised eyebrows, signaling that more illogical statements were on the way.
Added Goodell, "The fans clearly stated that they don't like the quality of our preseason ... Repeatedly, the fans have said the quality of the preseason doesn't meet NFL standards. That is one of the basis on which we started to look at the 18-and-two concept, by taking two of those low quality, non-competitive games and turning those into quality, competitive games that the fans want to see. They want to support."
Uh-huh. You could keep the 16-game regular season, get rid of the two exhibition games and make everybody happy.
Well, except for the owners.
Which is why Goodell wants us to believe that the earth is about to spin backward.
Which brings us to his weather nonsense.
"Here, in North Texas, we are prepared (for the bruising winter weather throughout the area), and all of our (Super Bowl XLV) events are going on as scheduled," said the commissioner, straight faced.
In case you haven't heard, Dallas is a snowy, icy and windy mess, and it has been this way since the start of the week. The next time somebody puts salt on many of the streets and sidewalks in town will be the first. As a result, the ice is thick and dangerous everywhere.
Schools have been closed for four days. Restaurants are virtually empty, even around the trendy West End. Elevators at the 38-floor media hotel went out due to frigid temperatures or something, and guests were forced to walk up and down the stairs. Taxi drivers are charging sometimes triple their normal rate -- you know, just because they can.
There also has been tragedy.
With the game approaching on Sunday, up to seven people were injured by falling ice from the top of Cowboys Stadium, according to area news reports. One person supposedly was critically hurt.
Even so, Goodell kept saying during his address that everything is under control with NFL and local officials regarding the weather, adding, "When we chose to play in climates where (winter storms are) more likely to happen, they are very capable of dealing with these types of issues, and we have been very comfortable playing there."
Let's put it this way: If Goodell handles himself during the upcoming labor talks in the same way he did on Friday before the national and international media, the NFL will have a lockout, all right, and it won't end until Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu agree to shave their heads.
Goodell isn't a dummy. For one, he graduated from college with a degree in economics, just like a FanHouse national sports columnist I know. He also went from an NFL intern nearly 30 years ago under legendary commissioner Pete Rozelle to the right-hand man of Rozelle's successor Paul Tagliabue to replacing Tagliabue in the fall of 2006.
Maybe Goodell thinks the rest of us are dummies.
"We've played in Detroit," Goodell said, as if that means we should ignore the weather horrors around Dallas, especially since there were weather horrors in Detroit. "We've played in Minnesota. We'll be playing in Indianapolis next year. I think the people in those communities recognize the preparation that is necessary, and we'll be in that position."
Whatever, dude. Goodell is trying to justify the NFL's silly decision under Tagliabue to award Super Bowls to cold-weather sites. The league's premier event isn't just about the game. It's also about the week, where thousands of folks arrive at the Super Bowl site from Monday through Saturday to enjoy a slew of festivities.
You can't enjoy yourself as well -- or at all -- when you're trapped in your hotel room, or if you have frozen toes.
The point is that the Super Bowl never should be outside of California, Florida, Arizona or New Orleans.
Houston might work on occasion, but Dallas? Please.
Such logic didn't keep Goodell from trying to claim that water wasn't wet by suggesting that the snow-related paralysis of Dallas these days is just the way of the whole United States. According to the commissioner, "There are few places that aren't dealing with the aftereffects of this storm. It's an extraordinarily rare storm."
Yeah, well. I'm checking The Weather Channel right now for some of the places that have hosted Super Bowls, and it is 62 (and sunny) in Los Angeles. It is 52 in Phoenix. It is 76 in Miami. It is 41 in New Orleans. It is 77 in Tampa.
Oh, and it is 27 (and not sunny) in Dallas, where the commissioner said all was well before he likely rushed to grab his parka.
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