Roger Goodell

NFL's global expansion 'comes with sacrifices,' especially for Raiders fans


NFL's global expansion 'comes with sacrifices,' especially for Raiders fans

Editor's note: Raiders Insider Scott Bair is in Minneapolis all week long covering Super Bowl festivities -- check out Scott's archive as he files stories and podcasts leading up to the big game on Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS – The Raiders have given away a home game to play abroad four of the last five seasons.

That sucks, considering the Silver and Black are leaving their home market for Las Vegas in 2020. Ultimately, that’s an NFL call. It’s also something done with teams in transition, like the Rams and Chargers. The Raiders get a bigger payday for shipping a game elsewhere, but East Bay fans loyal to the team’s ancestral home are getting jobbed losing what is a finite number of games left in the East Bay.

The Raiders played in London in 2014 and had home games in Mexico City the last two years. Former head coach Jack Del Rio was vocal about the fact he didn’t like giving away home games, but the league keeps shipping them elsewhere. The Raiders will play Seattle in London next season. Expect a game abroad in 2019, the last year before the Silver and Black move to Vegas.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about shipping Raiders games abroad in a Wednesday press conference, and said taking games from Oakland is the downside of putting the Silver and Black on display.

“We want to share our games with fans on a global basis,” Goodell said. “…I think 30 of 32 teams have will have played in the United Kingdom by the end of the year. Yes, that comes with sacrifices and, from time to time, home game. Yes, the Raiders have had more international game recently. That’s a fact. It’s also true that we have teams in transition from temporary stadiums to long-term facilities.

“We do our best to balance that. The Raiders are an attractive team, globally, and we want to deliver that. We know how passionate things are in Oakland, and we want to deliver that when possible, but we want to continue to expand our game.”

Goodell defends Raiders' compliance with Rooney Rule


Goodell defends Raiders' compliance with Rooney Rule

Editor's note: Raiders Insider Scott Bair is in Minneapolis all week long covering Super Bowl festivities -- check out Scott's archive as he files stories and podcasts leading up to the big game on Sunday  

MINNEAPOLIS – Raiders owner Mark Davis  desperately wanted Jon Gruden to be his next head coach and no one else. He probably would have retained Jack Del Rio without Gruden somewhat waiting in the wings.

Gruden was Davis’ clear choice after the coaching vacancy truly opened, eliminating the need to go through the song and dance of interviewing other candidates. They did, however, have to check a box.

The NFL’s Rooney Rule stipulates a team must interview at least one minority candidate for positions of power, particularly general manager and head coach.

The Raiders interviewed tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin for the gig after it was clear Gruden was the guy.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance – responsible for policing the Rooney Rule and the advancement of minority candidates -- didn’t like the way it was handled, and issued a statement saying they believe the Raiders violated the edict.

The NFL disagrees. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the NFL conducted a thorough investigation into the Raiders’ hiring practices and found no wrongdoing.

“There was a full investigation by our staff, and we went into great detail,” Goodell said in a press conference. “We interviewed every one of the participants…and we decided they were in compliance with the Rooney Rule. Again, we spoke to every single won of the participants to make sure that was the case.”

The NFL has only fined one team for a Rooney Rule violation. Then commissioner Paul Tagliabue fined Detroit Lion general manager (and former Raider) Matt Millen $200,000 for hiring Steve Mariucci without properly vetting minority candidates.

The NFL deemed the Raiders, who have been pioneers when hiring minority candidates, did not violate that rule.

Here's the Fritz Pollard Alliance statement in its entirety:

"We strongly disagree with the NFL's conclusion that the Raiders did not violate the Rooney Rule. We believe the facts overwhelmingly point in the other direction. In his enthusiasm to hire Jon Gruden, Raiders' owner Mark Davis failed to fulfill his obligation under the Rule and should step forward and acknowledge he violated the Rule.


"The Rooney Rule, in place since 2003, exists to ensure open selection processes that promote fair competition for everybody involved. It has made the NFL a torchbearer for equal opportunity in sports. Entering the 2017 season, half of the NFL's clubs were led by a minority head coach or general manager, and, impressively, ten Super Bowl teams over the last decade have had a minority head coach or general manager at the helm, proving that open competition produces the best results. That lesson has resounded well beyond the NFL. The federal government, Silicon Valley companies and small municipalities have all adopted forms of the Rooney Rule in recent years. So have entities overseas. Just last week, the Football Association in England -- soccer's oldest and most influential national governing body -- announced that it would implement the Rooney Rule when searching for head coaches for its national soccer teams at all age levels.


"The NFL broke ground when it created the Rooney Rule, but it made the wrong call in refusing to penalize Mark Davis in this instance. Davis crossed the line, and we are disappointed in the League's decision. The Rooney Rule and all of the League's equal opportunity efforts need to be strengthened. We have called for meetings with the League to ensure that a process like this never happens again."


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell signs massive long-term extension


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell signs massive long-term extension

NEW YORK -- Roger Goodell has signed a five-year contract extension to remain commissioner of the NFL through 2024.

A memo from the NFL's compensation committee to team owners and obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press confirms that Goodell and committee chairman Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, have signed the extension.

That extension has been a source of controversy because Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones objected to the process.

All 32 owners approved in May the compensation committee's power to negotiate and sign a deal with Goodell, who replaced Paul Tagliabue in 2006.

Since then, the league's total revenues have more than doubled to over $13 billion.

A person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press it is worth almost $200 million, with a base of $40 million. But the deal is incentive-laden, the person added, speaking on condition of anonymity because the contract numbers are not made public.

Among those incentives are continued increases in revenues, stable or rising television ratings, a new labor agreement with the players - the NFL-NFL Players Association deal expires in 2021 - and how much the NFL gets in rights fees when it renews its broadcast contracts.

"Our committee unanimously supports the contract and believes that it is fully consistent with `market' compensation and the financial and other parameters outlined to the owners at our May 2017 meeting, as well as in the best interests of ownership," Blank wrote in the memo.

"We also have expressed in those conversations our strong and unanimous belief that we should proceed to sign the agreement now, consistent with the unanimous May resolution and to avoid further controversy surrounding this issue.? We are pleased to report that there is a nearly unanimous consensus among the ownership in favor of signing the contract extension now."

That would not include Jones, whose objections surfaced publicly after his star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, ran out of legal options to appeal a six-game suspension handed down by Goodell under the NFL's personal conduct penalty.

Jones was not immediately available for comment.

The NFL's next owners meeting is in Dallas next Wednesday. Jones had hoped to delay the new deal with Goodell until then, when he could personally raise his concerns to other owners.

Also on the compensation committee are owners Clark Hunt of Kansas City, Robert Kraft of New England, John Mara of the New York Giants, Bob McNair of Houston and Art Rooney of Pittsburgh.