Before I headed to the NFL Draft on Thursday night, Steelergurl and I were invited to an exclusive tour and a Q&A with Commissioner Goodell at the new NFL headquarters office in NY. To say I was excited is an understatement. I couldn’t wait to see what the new office looked like (and to brag to all of my friends and family that I was there, I won’t lie).
As we walked into the office we’re greeted by the biggest TV screen I have ever seen on an office wall, followed by an awesome receptionist desk shaped like a football.. We were then escorted to the officiating command room, which is the room where every NFL game is aired live while officials watch everything, to make sure they’re not “surprised” with anything during games.
We were greeted by Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s head PR guy, followed by Ray Anderson, the Executive VP of football operations.Then, the moment we all waited for- the Q&A with the commish.
In a room of about 20 football bloggers, the commish answered every single question that came his way. Questions from Bounty Gate, to the future of the Pro Bowl, to whether or not he gets a nap in before the NFL Draft starts. My question to him: How he feels he was perceived by the fans on his job so far. His answer: While he loves the fans and respects their opinions and views, he’s not the commissioner to be a part of a popularity contest. Well said. Check out the video below of some footage from the Q&A event.
Once the commish was done with the Q&A session, Ray Anderson came back and it soon became clear what the message was that the NFL wanted us to relay- they are SERIOUS about illegal hits and fines in the league for the 2012 season and beyond. After explaining the process of how and when players are fined for hits, we then watched a 12-minute video showing us what hits were legal and what hits were not. The NFL is not playing about this subject, and having us there to reiterate this message became evident as the day went on. With the class action suits building each day with new players joining in for compensation for concussions, the NFL is really cracking down and they want everyone to know it.
After the 12-minute video, we were able to tour the entire facility, which had 4 floors. Interesting enough, each floor was themed- one geared to the teams, one for the fans, one for innovation and an executive floor. The best floor was-of course- the fans floor. They have a wall called the, “Wall of emotions”, random pictures of fans with all kinds of facial expressions to explain their mood with their favorite football team. The fans floor also had a wall that complied of over 4,000 game stubs from over the years. I was able to find the Ravens inaugural ticket from 1996 on the wall The football nerd in me collects game tickets so I loved the concept of the ticket wall.
The NFL really made the bloggers feel comfortable by reaching out to us and allowing us to view their beautiful new home. I’m glad I was able to share this with you. To check out how the rest of my NFL Draft experience went, click here to check it out