NFL Head: Lockout "Not Good for Anybody"

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell on "Face the Nation," Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010. NFL football sport walkout lockout concussion
CBS
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said on "Face the Nation" Sunday that he does not believe a lockout is likely for the 2011 season, despite predictions by the head of the NFL Players Association that one is coming.

The current contract between players and owners is set to run out in March.

"The owners don't win by having a lockout," Goodell said. "Shutting down your business is not good for anybody."

The commissioner spoke from Miami, where "Face the Nation" had shifted in honor of Super Bowl Sunday. He told host Bob Schieffer that players now get 59 percent of revenue and that owners are asking them to "recognize the incredible costs - which they have already acknowledged - that are required to grow revenue."

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Goodell said owners need to do things like build stadiums and grow the game internationally.

"We need to make sure that the owners have the capital to be able to do that," he said. When the overall pie grows, Goodell added, both parties benefit.

"I think the players will continue to see growing salaries, but their salaries have doubled over the past decade," the commissioner told Schieffer, who noted that if a new contract is not worked out, it will mean the end of salary caps - meaning players could be paid as much, or as little, as a specific owner and player decide.

"We want to get a deal, we want to get a fair deal - we feel the players should be paid fairly - and we will get a deal," Goodell said. "It's just a matter of when."

He said even if a deal isn't worked out, a season without a salary cap wouldn't adversely affect the game because of collective bargaining restrictions.

The two men also discussed how concussions affect players, with Schieffer asking if the NFL was late to dealing with the issue.

Goodell said no, arguing that the NFL has been studying the impact of concussions and what can be done with equipment since the mid-1990s.

"But medical science is still trying to determine what are the long-term effects of concussions, how do we treat these," he said. "And I think what's great about what the NFL has done is the awareness that's been brought to this issue in the last several years."

Schieffer noted that a study conducted by the NFL found that the league's players are five times more likely to have a brain injury or memory-related illness than the public.

"This was a phone survey, so this wasn't a medical survey," Goodell pointed out. He said the study nonetheless caused the NFL to take another look at the issue.

"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 that they are serious and they can have serious consequences if they are not treated properly - especially if they are not treated properly."

Goodell said rule changes have made the game safer for players, and that it was even possible that eventually linemen won't get into a three-point stance.

Following the Goodell interview, Schieffer hosted a roundtable discussion with CBS Sports' Shannon Sharpe, Phil Simms and Jim Nantz.

Nantz told the "Face the Nation" host that the media is partially at fault when it comes to concussions, because broadcasters have "celebrated and over-celebrated and replayed the big collision."

"We've had them sponsored in the highlights - the 'hit of the week' and other various names that really promote players to go out there and viciously lay someone out," he said.

Simms said equipment is going to get better in the coming years, including the helmet being "revolutionized," something that will help reduce head injuries.

The men also discussed the game itself, with Nantz saying "there are no villains" in a matchup between the Saints and Colts.

Schieffer went on to address why "Face the Nation" - which normally focuses on politics - spent this week on the topic of football.

He said the decision grew out of the fact that "on Super Bowl Sunday it's hard to get a conversation going about anything but the Super Bowl." The game long ago become a part of the culture and a factor in our economy, he argued, with even people who don't like football tuning in.

"It's one of those breaks when we can put aside the things that really matter and for a few hours gather with our friends and family and enjoy something that makes absolutely no difference in the course of human events," said Schieffer. "We need that every once in a while. Maybe lately more than ever."