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News » Commissioners chat about the future of sports

Commissioners chat about the future of sports

Commissioners chat about the future of sports
A lot can be gained from a good cocktail hour — even if it's being held at 8 a.m.

The commissioners speak

He even managed to steal some punchlines from Stern.

Despite all the doom, gloom and what, on the surface, would appear to be less than desirable TV ratings, the future for the NHL looks bright. And Bettman, though at times perhaps not the most beloved man in the hockey blogosphere, seems to be the man to lead his league to the next frontier. He insisted that the NHL, pundits be damned, is "the strongest it's ever been."

Goodell's a statesman through and through. He chooses his words wisely, never uttering redundancies. And his posture, tone and imposing physical build scream, "I am the Commissioner of the NFL." The youngest of the four men on the panel, he paid his respects to each of his peers, saying he absorbs knowledge and learns from them every day.

On the topic of the recently proposed addition of two extra regular season games on the NFL schedule, Goodell was firm.

"We're playing a 20-game season now: 4 preseason, 16 regular season," he said. "What we're talking about is trying to improve the quality of what we do. The fans continually tell me, directly, that preseason games are not of value to them. And on the football side, it doesn't add to the quality of the product."

When Goodell was asked if the extra two games would stretch the NFL season into mid-February, Stern, whose NBA All-Star Game is usually the marquee event of the post-Super Bowl period piped up.

"As a New York Giants season ticket holder, let me say I love August football games," he remarked.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig, whose league is in pennant race season peak in August, then laughed, "You may love it, but I don't like it at all."

No doubt about it, Stern was the Sinatra of this Rat Pack. Quick with a rejoinder for every topic, he quickly bounced from serious discourse on the infusion of gambling on sports to his opinions on Twitter (he recently stopped tweeting because he feels he can't "fully express himself in 140 characters"). He has jokes, he has gravity and he handles any room he's in.

Selig, too, has many of these qualities. Pressed on the latest A-Rod news and talk of steroids right from the start, he addressed the moderator's questions head on.

"I have had one writer after another come to me over the past decade and say, 'I don't know how they expected you to know. I was in the clubhouse every day, and it isn't that I was in denial of something. I merely just didn't know.'"

He added, "Candidly, in the retrospective history, it's always easy 10, 15 years later to tell someone, 'You should have known.' This isn't just with the steroids thing. It's anything in life. You can always look back 15 to 20 years later and be very smart."

And so the Super Friends breakfast roundtable went. Joke here, statistic or valid point there. All four men insist the global expansion of each of their respective sports is not only the future but already well under way in the present. Digital, too — each league has its own Web site and TV network. They're expanding, fulfilling the needs of not only the American sports viewing public, but the world's.

Considering the current economic climate, the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL all appear in very good places — and in very good hands with the Super Friends.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 7, 2009


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