NFL: Goodell says player salaries will keep growing
MIAMI — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell predicts players' salaries will still grow under a new labor agreement, even if their share of revenue is reduced as owners have proposed.
Appearing Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" hours before the Super Bowl, Goodell said the owners need more money to cover rising costs for international ventures and infrastructure projects such as new stadiums.
"You have to invest in these stadiums that we're in today," Goodell said. "You need to find new ways of creating revenue, whether it's international or otherwise. And that takes investment. And we need to make sure that the owners have the capital to be able to do that. And then the pie grows, and everyone benefits."
The union has said management wants players to reduce their share to 41 percent of applied revenues from about 59 percent. Goodell counters that of the $3.6 billion in incremental revenues since 2006, players received $2.6 billion.
"We want to structure something that really is going to lead us into the next decade in a way that's constructive, so the players benefit, the teams benefit, and most of all, the game," Goodell said.
The league's current labor contract expires in March 2011. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday the chance of a lockout next year is a "14" on a scale of 1 to 10.
"I don't agree with that," Goodell said. "The owners don't win by having a lockout. Shutting down your business is not good for anybody. And it's certainly not good for the players. It's certainly not good for the fans."
Addressing the issue of concussions has been another priority for the commissioner, and he said the league will continue to look for ways to make the game safer. He didn't rule out the idea of getting linemen out of their three-point stances to reduce the ferocity of collisions at the line of scrimmage.
"As you'll see tonight, you'll see a lot of players that never get down in a three-point stance," Goodell said. "So it's possible that would happen."
While science is still trying to determine the long-term effects of concussions, Goodell said, the league has made progress in increasing awareness about the severity of such injuries.
"For many years the culture had been quite different — that concussions weren't serious injuries," he said. "I think we have changed that culture and made sure that people understand they are serious, and they can have serious consequences if they're not treated properly."