JASON WHITLOCK: Cowherd, let's just cut right to the chase. I think regardless of where you are at on the Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell dispute, the fact that we have some resolution here, and we can move forward for people that support the NFL, Roger Goodell's contract extension, I think, gives the NFL and all of us that love football, a chance to move forward and start talking about solutions rather than acrimony.
- Listen, outside of Google, Apple, Facebook, what other business in America is thriving like this. I mean, listen, man, they're the number one TV show on five networks. If you take out the hurricane weekend, just-- just the hurricane weekend-- when obviously, states like Florida were not watching, NFL's down like 3 and 1/2 percent this year. Come on, now. Monday Night Football was up 30%.
We've got the-- Aaron Rodgers could come back. Look at who's going to be in the playoffs. Big Ben, Brady, Rodgers, Cowboys still in it, Wentz, Seattle. Like, the-- the-- there's this narrative that's anti-football. If you cut the ratings in half, it still doubles the NBA. It's fine. It's good. And I think this resolution closes some of the chaos we felt, optically, for the last month. All right. Let's go. Kind of crazy. The Kaepernick story, now, has, kind of, dissolved to-- he's moving into politics.
- I go back to The Godfather, one of my favorite movies. And I think it was Clemenza that said, every few years, you got to have a fight. It clears out the bad blood and then you go back to work. And so if you read the details of this contract, it sounds like it's an incentive based contract that gives the ownership a little bit more leverage over the commissioner, the commissioner's office. Again, I was someone who's been a little bit critical of Roger Goodell. I'm glad we have resolution. I'm glad that we have the leadership figured out for the next five years. Let's move forward.
ERIC DAVIS: Yeah, a lot of things seem to be going in the direction the league wants him to go in. By that I mean, the owners. With all the fighting that was going on, you see you still have the majority of the owners to say, we like the job that you are doing. We like the fact that you will fight the big boys. We like the fact that you will stand up for everyone and you don't have a problem finding, or suspending, the patriots, or stars of the league, or dealing with ownership, yo-- you like that.
From a player's standpoint, moving forward. Some of the things that have happened-- you mentioned Colin Kaepernick. But you know, taking the time to go into a courtroom-- what I believe was Malcolm Jenkins-- and see what's going on, and listen to these players, all the things that were happening. I think from a player's standpoint, you feel like you have a different kind of voice in the commissioner's office, right now. That he's actually listening to them and taking the time to spend with the guys. So I think moving forward, you might have a lot more peace. You might have an opportunity for guys to work together better because of Roger's deal being in place.
RAY LEWIS: Well, I just think at this point, I think we all have to ask ourselves a question, when you look at the National Football League from outside. Who would have been next? What change do you make if you go away from Roger Goodell? You know, you think about from a player's perspective on all the issues that's been going on, at the end of the day, when you finally sit down with most of these players, we all, kind of-- they all, kind of, want the same thing.
But when you have the majority of owners who's saying, like, we're in. Right? We're-- we're 100% in. Then you have to ask yourself, this guy-- is this guy the right guy for the job? And right now, for the next five years, he's the right guy for the job. But what I think it does for football is, now, we can really get back to football. Right? So something I'm paying attention to that I'm paying attention to more than anybody is I'm looking at the playoff rates like, OK, how does this play out?
COLIN COWHERD: Yeah.
- Who do the Saints match up with? Is it the Eagles? Right because everybody else, you know, you want to distract what the real message is. The real message is somebody will be crowned at the end of this year.
COLIN COWHERD: And, also, think about this. We've had a lot of noise in football. College football had a lot of arguments for the last month. Distraction. Kaepernick, a player that got a lot of media attention. Starting this weekend, have you seen the games? 13 of the 16 games have playoff implications. The NFL, now, the distractions are dissolving. You guys know. Post-football, it becomes really about football. It really does. It's about attrition, staying healthy. I look at this weekend. This morning, I looked at the games and I'm like, Monday Night Football was up 30%. Thursday Night Football was up. The nation's now getting, OK, now, the playoffs start with all the big teams. I think, we're going to have a really good last three months.
ERIC DAVIS: You know-- you know what? I actually think this brings some stability to everything too because if you--you think about everything that happens. From the anthem, everything that, right now, just from the hits, and the CTE, and then these last-- this last weekend with the injury, and the way the game, the penalties, and everyone attacking the brutality of the game. Think about what could of happen if you did have a change in the comm-- at the commissioner's spot. Like is football really in trouble? Are they really in disarray? Right now, it's like, OK, let's think business as usual. We like what we're doing and the direction we're going in. I think it makes a good statement.
- What made me think this resolution was coming is because for the past two weeks, we finally had things quieted down. Instead of stories leaking in the media every other day.
ERIC DAVIS: That's true.
- Things quieted down and it sounds to me, like, if, again, you look at the details of his contract, and the way this is coming out, these guys said, OK, guys. Let's quit fighting in the media. Let's get in a room and work out our differences, come to a resolution, Rogers' our guy. Everybody is not going to be perfectly happy with this but everybody can't be perfectly happy. I just-- I think they settled their internal strife and sided on extending Roger. Again, I think this has an opportunity to be a great change because finally the commissioner, you know, as players--
- Y'all face pressure every game.
- Yeah. Yeah.
- Your contracts aren't guaranteed, you're questioned by your coaches. And it makes you-- the ownership and coaches say, that's what makes you a great player. Roger Goodell just experienced what you guys go through. I think it may make him a better commissioner.
- Michael Jordan left the NBA. Lost 50% of its ratings. Today, it's never been more popular. Sports are all cyclical. They're all cyclical. I went back, and looked, and found a 25 year old Sports Illustrated cover today. The NFL is boring. How to save the league?
- That was the cover. It's cyclical. Just because they had a political issue to deal with. There are some empty seats because the game is so good on television, a lot of people don't want to sit in a cold stadium. That's just a challenge. To me, I've always believed that you need to make smaller stadiums because NFL is really so terrific as a TV product. These are challenges. It's cyclical. Football is not going away. It's part of our-- listen, the government wouldn't let insurance companies fail. This is not-- there are-- football changes too many lives to leave.
RAY LEWIS: From-- from every level. Right? You think about-- we're talking about the professional level but this past weekend, we watched all of the-- the SSE Championship, ACC Championship, and all these things. And then you go to the high school level, and then you go to the-- to pop one level.
COLIN COWHERD: It dominates communities.
- Listen, this game saves and changes lives. Simple. And it gives people an avenue that most of the time will never be had.
- So, so, we can talk about down or not. There's many dreams. Many know that dream.
ERIC DAVIS: And that's why I say it's not going anywhere.
- It ain't going nowhere.
COLIN COWHERD: Is Odessa, Texas-- is Odessa, Texas never going to have high school football?
ERIC DAVIS: Oh, please.
- Is Ann Arbor never going to have college? And is Greenbay never going to have NFL football?
- Very quickly and this is a little bit of a curve ball. But for me, if I were talking to Roger Goodell and say, you know what I want you to focus on, Roger? It's the officiating. For me--
RAY LEWIS: Really.
- --I want him to clean up the officator.
- I'm with you, man.
- I wish that was priority one.
- It's got to be clear cut because they're driving.
COLIN COWHERD: Too many flags.
- It's too many, man.
COLIN COWHERD: You would--
- The pass interference deal is way too unpredictable.
COLIN COWHERD: I have seen six touchdowns, in the last two weekends, taken away. The Steelers on Monday Night. Martavis Bryant. We're seeing way too many penalties away from the play.
ERIC DAVIS: I think Belichick had it right. You should be able to challenge the call. These pros should be to challenge the calls. And I also think judgment calls, like a pass interference, you should be able to challenge that, as well.
- 100%. That means something.
- That Steeler kickoff touchdown? That was a touchdown.
- [INAUDIBLE] if you're watching? Get on the officiating.