NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the recession has helped build TV audiences for NFL games.
Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes, to be aired Sunday, Goodell says the nearly 60 million people tuning in to watch last Sunday’s conference championships show that.
“People want to feel part of a group, feel like they’re connected, and right now during these difficult times, they can turn on free television and watch the greatest entertainment that’s out there,” Goodell said. “They can forget their worries for just a few hours.”
Goodell also expresses his concern about getting fans to come to the stadium rather than watching at home.
“Our biggest challenge going forward is how do we get people to come to our stadiums, because the experience is so great at home,” he said. “When you turn on [a football game], you want to see a full stadium.”
Goodell was given a five-year contract extension this week, through March 2019.
The NFL recently signed nine-year extensions with its broadcast partners and could bring in as much as $3 billion in broadcast revenues by 2022. The league’s overall revenues for this year are projected to exceed $10 billion.
Giants miss practice
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, cornerback Corey Webster and linebacker Jacquian Williams missed their second straight day of practice as the New York Giants kept preparing for the Super Bowl.
Williams might be the Giants’ biggest concern among those players for the Feb. 5 game in Indianapolis. He wore a walking cast on his right foot on Friday.
Nicks and Webster probably will practice next week. Backup cornerback and punt returner Will Blackmon also missed his second consecutive practice with a knee injury.
Gronkowski out again
Rob Gronkowski was absent from the New England Patriots’ practice for the second straight day with an injured left ankle. WIVB-TV in Buffalo reported that his father, Gordy Gronkowski, said he has a high ankle sprain. The station said his father expects him to be fine for the Super Bowl.
London games opposed
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission says the Rams’ plans to play one home game in London the next three years violates the team’s stadium lease.
The CVC said in a release that the lease requires the team to play all its home games at the Edward Jones Dome, and was awaiting a response from the team. Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff did not respond to a telephone message.
The Denver Broncos announced they had agreed to terms with Jack Del Rio to become the club’s new defensive coordinator. … Joe Philbin, the new coach of the Miami Dolphins, hired Mike Sherman as offensive coordinator, also adding Kevin Coyle as the team’s defensive coordinator. … The Baltimore Ravens opted for continuity in their coaching staff, promoting linebackers coach Dean Pees to replace defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and retaining offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.