NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sounded an optimistic note Wednesday during a conference call with roughly 5,500 New York Giants season ticket holders.
"We're planning - and you saw that when we released the schedule yesterday - to start the season on time," Goodell said. "We're planning on playing a full season. And we're going to negotiate as hard as we can to get that done.
"You obviously have to be prepared if you're unsuccessful. But I don't like to focus on that. I like to focus on being successful. There is a lot of risk for everybody involved, most of all you as fans. We know how much you want football. So we have to identify the solutions and get it done. It's tough for me to project other than we're going to continue to make the preparations for the season and work as hard as we can to solve those issues in advance, so we can play every game and every down of the season."
Goodell spent roughly a half-hour on the call with Giants fans. He has been making similar calls with fans of other NFL teams.
Goodell told fans he understands the ramifications of missing part or all of the 2011 season.
"Not playing football and shutting your business down has a dramatic impact on your business," Goodell said. "There will be a tremendous amount of lost revenue to the teams. There will be a tremendous amount of lost revenue to the players. A strike or a lockout has significant financial impact on all parties. It is one of the reasons why they are used. People usually get serious and they resolve their differences because the damage is significant.
Here are a few other snippets from Goodell.
- On opening the season in time to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. "All of us that live in the New York area, Washington area, or western Pennsylvania as well as everyone across our great country knows the impact 9/11 had on us," Goodell said. "We want to honor that 10-year anniversary in a way that's appropriate. We thought putting the schedule together the way we did, where we can have a game in New York, we could also have a game in Washington. The Jets will be playing in New York and the Giants in Washington. We will also be having a proper recognition in western Pennsylvania. It's the right thing to do. Our country should be recognizing the tragedy that occurred 10 years earlier, we know that we play a big role in doing that appropriately. We think we played an important role in not playing the week after the 9/11 incident so that the country could properly deal with the issues we had to deal with. We want to make sure that we do this respectfully, so we'll be announcing plans on that front in the coming weeks."
- On using replacement players. "We have not had any focus on replacement players," Goodell said. "That's not part of our strategy; it's not part of our thinking. We're not pursuing that. Our focus is entirely on trying to get an agreement with this union and with these players.
- On getting a salary cap in place as part of the new CBA. "I think both sides have indicated an interest in having some type of salary cap system," Goodell said. "I think it has been beneficial to the game. And it's part of the discussions we've had - what is the appropriate salary cap level and how would it grow? The proposal on March 11 had the salary cap ... slightly increased from where the spending was in the uncapped year and where the spending was in 2009 under the last capped year. Then it grows 15 percent over the next four years. So it's a pretty significant increase. So I think the question really will be - if we have a cap system, which I think benefits the game, and I think we should have - then what's the growth rate of that cap? And what's the starting point of that cap?"
- Giants General Manager Jerry Reese will be holding his pre-draft press conference today. The presser will be streamed live at Giants.com.
- Draft Countdown came out with a three-round mock draft on Wednesday. The haul for the Giants included Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget at No. 19 in the first round, Illinois running back Mikel LeShoure at No. 52 in the second round and Lehigh guard Will Rackley at No. 83 in the third round.
- BBV Community Mock Draft: I am waiting for the final pick in our mock draft and will publish the final three selections at the same time. Hopefully, that will be done later today. A big thank-you to everyone who participated.