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Goodell Visits The Cardinals


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addresses Cardinals employees Monday morning at the team's Tempe complex.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has worked hard to set his league up for success, controlling the parts that he can.

One thing he can't control are the outcomes of games, however, so his visit to the Cardinals' Tempe facility Monday to meet with the team came on the heels of the team's 25-10 defeat to Carolina – a game Goodell attended.

"It's always tough when you are doing it Monday morning after a tough loss," Goodell said, "but that's the way she goes."

Still, Goodell was able to get his message out in a private session with the players. In it, he gives them some personal information about himself, he explains why he believes in the what the NFL represents, and he answers questions.

"I like to hear their point of view," Goodell said.

Goodell has made it a point of emphasis to travel and visit as many franchises as he can. His Arizona trip dovetailed with a speaking engagement for Super Bowl XLII which also took place Monday morning.

If nothing else, Goodell tries to call clubs on a semi-regular basis just to stay in touch.

"There is a buzz around the league about the Cardinals," Goodell said during his meeting with the non-players in the organization.

Among the topics Goodell addressed:

The NFL wants to continue to have the widest exposure possible, so despite an attempt to grow the NFL Network, the league wants games to stay on broadcast TV long-term;

Talk about cutting the preseason back a game or two has been discussed but that those discussions are only in the "infant stage";

Setting a rookie salary cap is "high on our list" of things to do. "I believe players should be well compensated but they should have to earn it," Goodell said;

Goodell sees the Super Bowl eventually becoming international some years. "It wouldn't be surprising if the Torontos of the world and the Londons of the world say, 'We want a piece of that,' " Goodell said;

The draft, in order to make it more fan- (and TV-) friendly, will be changed. Teams will have 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes in the first round to make a choice (later rounds will also be shaved) in a move that could be announced as early as next week's league meetings;

There are changes being considered for the Pro Bowl, including playing the game in the off weekend between the conference championships and the Super Bowl (although it would eliminate players from the Super Bowl teams) and perhaps rotating it between cities. "I think (the Pro Bowl) is getting a little bit tired," Goodell said. "It's not a great way to celebrate our game (as is)."

But Goodell's No. 1 issue remains the conduct of everyone the NFL employs.

"All of us are fortunate to be in the National Football League, myself included," he said. "There is a responsibility that comes with it. You can't go out and act like fools.

"That is everybody. That's why I don't call it a player conduct policy. I call it a personal conduct policy."

Nevertheless, the players are under the greatest spotlight, which is why Goodell talked to around 150 players in shaping the current policy.

That's part of the message Goodell explained to the Cardinals Monday.

"There is nothing greater than the game of football," Goodell said. "To play and to follow." * * * Contact Darren Urban at Posted 10/15/07

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