FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 7th, 2020
ROGER GOODELL SPEAKS WITH PETER KING AS THE NFL PREPARES TO KICK OFF IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN
“There will be potential competitive inequities that will be required this season because of the virus and because of the circumstances that we wouldn’t do in other years. That’s going to be a reality of 2020.” – Goodell on the upcoming season
“This has been the best calendar year of Goodell’s 14-year tenure…There’s no denying he and his league deserve a high grade for handling a total unknown with aplomb.” – King on Goodell and the NFL’s offseason
“Tampa Bay 30, Baltimore 26…What a story that would be.” – King’s Super Bowl LV prediction
STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 7, 2020 – Peter King speaks with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the upcoming season, which kicks off this Thursday, Sept. 10 on NBC as the Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans (coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET), in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also makes his 2020 predictions for this year’s playoff teams, Super Bowl matchup, and individual awards.
Across NBC Sports this week, The Rich Eisen Show continues on Peacock and NBCSN at Noon ET. PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock at 7 a.m. ET every weekday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the Rotoworld Football Podcast and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast prepare for the upcoming season.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
King on 2020 NFL season: “Labor Day. It’s beginning to feel like an NFL season…The specter of COVID-19 hangs over the season, with daily virus tests for players, coaches and team employees continuing into the future; most stadiums prepared to ban fans at the start of the season; weird standards of 75-decibels max for in-stadium noise levels; and restrictive travel rules for road teams.”
King on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “Goodell, when we spoke, sounded temporarily confident. He sounded like a man who’s doing as much as he can do to ensure the season, somehow, gets played in full – even though he knows postponing or canceling during the season might be a reality, particularly if a second wave of the virus hits.”
Goodell on if the NFL may have to play a season in which every team doesn’t play a full 16-game schedule: “We’re prepared if we have to do that. We’ve obviously gone through work on that basis with teams. There will be potential competitive inequities that will be required this season because of the virus and because of the circumstances that we wouldn’t do in other years. That’s going to be a reality of 2020. If we feel like we have an outbreak, that’s going to be driven by medical decisions – not competitive decisions.”
Goodell on if he’s confident the season will be played to its completion: “I am. But I will tell you this: We’re never going to get comfortable. If confident means we’re comfortable, then that’s not where we are…We all have to do our part here to be successful in completing our season. I think we have a plan that will get us there.”
King on the NFL and Goodell’s offseason: “Despite lingering controversies – the scandal surrounding Washington and staining the franchise, the unemployment of Colin Kaepernick – this has been the best calendar year of Goodell’s 14-year tenure…There’s no denying he and his league deserve a high grade for handling a total unknown with aplomb.”
Goodell on Colin Kaepernick remaining unsigned: “Those are club decisions. I’ve encouraged teams to evaluate that and sign him if they feel that’s the case. I’m happy if Kaep gets an opportunity…Teams don’t usually ask me for advice on football hires.”
Goodell on long-term lessons from the pandemic: “It forces you to innovate and it will change things we do long-term. There’s no question to me, teams are going to change the ways they do interviews, the way they travel and scout, and the way we’re going to do the draft in the future…We’re all going to do things differently than we did them before. Not because of COVID, but just because we’ve learned to operate differently. I think that’s true with football.”
KING’S 2020 NFL PREDICTIONS
AFC playoff seeds: “1. Baltimore, 2. Kansas City, 3. Tennessee, 4. Miami, 5. Indianapolis, 6. Buffalo, 7. Las Vegas.”
NFC playoff seeds: “1. Dallas, 2. New Orleans, 3. Seattle, 4. Minnesota, 5. San Francisco, 6. Tampa Bay, 7. Detroit.”
NFC Championship Game prediction: “Tampa Bay 23, New Orleans 17.”
AFC Championship Game prediction: “Baltimore 27, Tennessee 22.”
Super Bowl LV prediction: “Tampa Bay 30, Baltimore 26…What a story that would be.”
King on Tampa Bay: “I’m landing on the Bucs to survive the gauntlet of the NFC, and to be the first team ever to play the Super Bowl on their home field…It’s crazy, picking a 43-year-old quarterback in his first year out of the New England cocoon to make the Super Bowl. It would be Tom Brady’s 10th Super Bowl.”
King on Kansas City: “I don’t have a logical reason to tell you that Kansas City won’t win again. I just have history. It’s happened twice in 25 years. Even the teams that looked peerless…turned out to be flawed…But I know: It’s foolish to bet against (Patrick) Mahomes and the deepest trove of weapons in the AFC. I just think it’ll be harder this year.”
King on Baltimore: “I’m nettled a bit by Lamar Jackson’s two straight playoff clunkers but think two games do not a reputation make. The Ravens have the most advantageous schedule and road schedule in football.”
King on the NFC: “This conference is a nightmare to predict…Dallas is the top seed not because I think the Cowboys are the runaway best team but because they’re good, because their front seven should be a monster and their offensive attack very hard to stop, and because they’ve got six games against Cincinnati, Cleveland, the Giants and Washington.”
KING’S 2020 NFL AWARDS
MVP: “Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City (2. Dak Prescott, 3. Tom Brady, 4. Lamar Jackson)…MVPs go to big winners or guys with stats far better than others. Mahomes could do both.”
Coach of the Year: “Mike McCarthy, Dallas (2. Brian Flores, 3. John Harbaugh, 4. Kliff Kingsbury). Jerry Jones hired McCarthy for his contending pedigree, and if Dallas wins the NFC’s top seed, McCarthy proved Jones right.”
Offensive Player of the Year: “DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Arizona (2. Patrick Mahomes, 3. Dak Prescott, 4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire). Edges Michael Thomas in receptions and yards, and becomes the heir to Larry Fitzgerald as the big weapon for Kyler Murray over the next five years.”
Defensive Player of the Year: “Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Rams (2. T.J. Watt, 3. Khalil Mack, 4. Aldon Smith)…He’s been so dominant, obviously, and I see nothing standing in the way of him doing just what (J.J.) Watt did: win three DPOYs in a span of four seasons.”
Offensive Rookie of the Year: “Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back, Kansas City (2. Henry Ruggs, 3. CeeDee Lamb, 4. Michael Pittman…With 20 chances per game (my projection, not necessarily Andy Reid’s) in Kansas City’s spread scheme, it’s a gold mine of production waiting to happen.”
King on NFL officiating: “The quietest event of the NFL offseason was the upheaval in the officiating department…21-year NFL coach Perry Fewell, who will oversee day-to-day officiating operations and be in charge of taking the (mostly) angry calls from coaches and GMs after games; and 24-year NFL official Walt Anderson, who takes charge of training and development of game officials.”
Fewell to King on his new role: “It’s like a new birth. I’ve never been an official. I watched video totally different as a coach than I do now in officiating. I know there will be firestorms, but there were firestorms for me for 21 years as an NFL coach.”
King on Anderson: “Anderson’s role is the most intriguing. He’s bringing a more scientific approach to the job…Anderson engaged some experts in the fields of vision and mental processing. They recommended that officials should slow down and/or stop as a play they need to officiate reaches its climax. This, the experts said, will allow the officials to see a play more clearly, even if they’re a few yards further away.”
King on Jadeveon Clowney signing with the Titans: “Makes sense for Tennessee, which now has scotch-taped a pass-rush together with two guys on one-year deals (Vic Beasley, Clowney) with lots to prove…He’s a dangerous player when healthy, and he solidifies the Titans’ chances to win their first AFC South title since 2008.”
King on Josh Rosen: “This is the reason I’d be bullish on giving Josh Rosen a roster spot and to see what he’s about: The man has had eight offensive bosses in the last five years of his star-crossed career…How could you reach any conclusion about Rosen with that kind of revolving-door mayhem of teachers?”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays.
- The Rich Eisen Show continues on Peacock and NBCSN weekdays at Noon ET.
- com: ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast continue to preview and prepare for the upcoming NFL season.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.