Roger Goodell: ‘We’re Not Focused’ On NFL’s Return To L.A. in 2016

Roger Goodell: 'We're Not Focused' On NFL's Return To L.A. in 2016

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  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the media on Wednesday the league is “not focused” on returning to Los Angeles in 2016.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is “not focused” on the league’s possible return to Los Angeles next year. He also discussed several hot-button topics with the media at the conclusion of the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Ariz. on Wednesday.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is not focusing its attention on a possible to Los Angeles.

This was the first pressing agenda Goodell discussed with the owners during their annual meeting which concluded on Wednesday. There were even reports saying one or even two L.A. teams will be in the fold by next season.

However, USA Today’s Tom Pelissero and Lorenzo Reyes stress “the NFL won’t rush back to L.A., even with three teams vying to move and two stadium projects in the works.”

“We’re focused on doing this right,” Goodell tells USA Today. “If we go back to the Los Angeles market, we want it to succeed for the long term. 

According to’s Marc Sessler, the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams are the teams which are being eyed to move to Los Angeles. Goodell told him if a team does emerge in Los Angeles in 2016, it will have to “play in a temporary facility.”

Sessler rattles off these temporary venues as the L.A. Coliseum, Rose Bowl or Dodger Stadium. 

“Right now, our focus is on the process, making sure that we’re evaluating the opportunities in their existing markets, making sure we understand that and also making sure we understand what it takes to be successful in Los Angeles long term,” Goodell stresses to Sessler. editor-in-chief Peter King also got Goodell’s take on the Los Angeles issue in an exclusive interview at the commissioner’s Park Avenue office in New York City which was published on March 23:

“I’m not saying it’s likely. I think a couple of things are positive. One is our long-term labor agreement. I would say that someone is making the kind of investment that you have to make in the Los Angeles market as well as a lot of other markets–you need the long-term stability so that we can invest back in the business.

“Ultimately that will pay you back. I think the long-term labor agreement has given us the ability to evaluate a long-term investment in Los Angeles to make it work successfully–because it’s a challenging market. The stadium is a critical component of that. They’re not getting cheaper.”

Goodell also touched on the subject of playoff expansion when he addressed the media on March 25, per Pelissero and Reyes:

“We had a healthy discussion on that issue. It’s something we have been evaluating over the last couple of years. I think several factors went into the decision to, at least, postpone the expanded playoffs.

“Some of them would be on the competitive side; in the last two years–interesting enough–it has been inconsistent with our experience in the past in that the last two (years) we actually had five less teams that would’ve qualified under the 14-team format, than the 12. 

“That’s a little bit counterintuitive to the experience that we have had. Whenever we make a change like this, we want to look at the positives and the negatives, what are the unintended consequences.

“We want to make the regular season more important, more exciting, and have more teams in the race. If we’re not doing that, then we want to make sure that we understand why and what else we can do to affect that.”

Another key topic Goodell said he talked about with the league’s owners is the blackout policy, per USA Today:

“It’s important to balance the interest of having our stadiums full with our broadcast policies. By changing our broadcast policies over the last six or 10 years, we’ve given our clubs more flexibility to sell their stadiums out, more flexibility in their manifests, more flexibility in the way they can sell their tickets. That has not really become an issue.

“We have had zero blackouts in 2014. We had two in ’13. What we have seen is a significant change there. And I think the membership felt at this point in time, with the work that has been done and the policy changes, that it was appropriate to suspend it for a year. 

“Let’s see what the impact is long term. That’s the analysis being done here. Our clubs have done a great job aggressively marketing themselves and their market. There’s a positive, obviously, of having your games on your games on television. It’s a great marketing vehicle.”

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