“I’d look for Goodell to stay on through 2024 or ’25, maybe grooming a successor in the last couple of years.” – King on Goodell’s future as NFL Commissioner
“Belichick can walk away on his terms, when he wants. And if the team progresses the way he thinks it will, he can walk away feeling good about the future of what he leaves behind.” – King on the future of Bill Belichick
“Giving each team the chance to be the ‘home team’ for a foreign market…And expanding the schedule overseas by mandating every team play at least one game every eight years outside the United States.” – King on ways the NFL may approach international football
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 31, 2021 – Peter King looks at what’s ahead for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and outlines upcoming issues facing the NFL in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses Goodell’s prospective successors and the status of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Peacock’s free, exclusive NBC Sports channel has weekday sports talk programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET, which includes extensive NFL coverage from PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Peacock Original Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show discusses offseason storylines and Simms continues his Top 40 QB Countdown on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast this week.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
King on the future of the NFL: “The Next Big Thing for the NFL is not one thing. It’s a few. Inside the walls of the league, commissioner Roger Goodell is aggressively cautioning against complacency, stressing that there are many issues the league needs to focus on while the runway for the next decade is placid…The issue that interests me the most: Roger Goodell.”
King: “Looking into the future of Goodell, 62, in the past few days, two things are apparent. He hasn’t decided yet if he will leave the league when his current contract expires in three years. There’s a sense from associates that he could stay for a year or years beyond that. Also, a clear majority of owners want him to stay beyond 2023.”
King on why Goodell is likely to stay on as Commissioner: “Goodell doesn’t have anything else he’s dying to do. Some people who have built $17-billion businesses might have a hankering to get into the private-equity business, or cryptocurrency, or some niche thing like owning a business far from football. But Goodell isn’t that guy. He doesn’t have a big hobby, other than golf, and he has no interest in doing that every day.”
King: “Goodell still loves football. Solving football issues, going to games, staying on top of the changing sports landscape…Those are things he relishes. I’m told one of the things that gave him big-time juice was figuring a way to run the league through the craziness of 2020.”
King: “There’s no logical successor. Three successor candidates internally, all age 50 or younger, loom: chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp (point man on the mega-media deals), EVP of Football Operations Troy Vincent (runs officiating and helped keep the game on the field in 2020), and chief strategy officer Chris Halpin (eyes on the future, including international expansion). But Goodell has been such a domineering presence that most of the league candidates have been laboring in the shadows.”
King on potential successors: “None of the four major sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) has gone outside its own game to hire a commissioner for the last 28 years, since Gary Bettman moved from being an NBA executive to NHL commissioner in 1993…The NFL’s the king of the hill, and it’s unlikely the league would look outside for a non-football candidate.”
King: “So I’d look for Goodell to stay on through 2024 or ’25, maybe grooming a successor in the last couple of years. Goodell has been the quarterback and head coach on virtually every decision of substance in the league for almost 15 years.”
ISSUES FACING THE NFL
King on international football: “A few years ago, the league was bullish on putting a team or teams in London or Europe. That sentiment has cooled now; too many logistical problems that ownership feels are off-putting and potentially competitively unfair. Instead, the league wants to conquer non-U.S. markets in two ways – giving each team the chance to be the ‘home team’ for a foreign market…And expanding the schedule overseas by mandating every team play at least one game every eight years outside the United States.”
Halpin to King on what an ideal NFL schedule may look like in 2026: “Maybe four games in London – two from the inventory of games teams voted on this year, maybe two with teams [such as Jacksonville] volunteering for games there. And maybe one in Germany and one in Mexico.”
King on the future of Bill Belichick: “This probably won’t be his last year, and I doubt that 2022 will be. He’s a young 69… The way Belichick is, I doubt sincerely he’d leave the Patriots with a dim future. He’ll view as part of his legacy the shape he left the franchise. That’s why Mac Jones falling to New England at 15 this year was so important to New England’s long-term future.,, I don’t think he hangs on just to break Don Shula’s all-time record for coaching victories if he thinks it’s time to go after, say, 2023 or ’24.”
King on Belichick: “What it all means: Belichick can walk away on his terms, when he wants. And if the team progresses the way he thinks it will, he can walk away feeling good about the future of what he leaves behind.”
King on quarterbacks wielding power: “Players and agents in the NFL watched as James Harden practically mandated a trade from Houston to Brooklyn and poof – it happened. Why not us? NFL players will monitor (Aaron) Rodgers and (Deshaun) Watson, in particular, in the next six or eight months. If their power plays work and they get moved, an unsettling trend particularly for the underachieving teams – Detroit, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, etc. – could sweep the sport.”
King on Julio Jones: “I was told a while ago by a source I trust that the Falcons would accept a hard second-round pick in 2022 (no condition on Jones’ playing time) with no responsibility to pay Jones any of the $38 million he has coming. That seems like the most logical outcome, and my guess is a hard second-rounder is already on the table from some team.”
King on the future of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers: “So it’s May 31, and I’d say this little staredown between the quarterback and the team that swears it won’t trade him is 60 days from getting real…It’s one thing to be rock-solid in your position on May 31, with the season three months away. But it’s another thing when the reality of the stances reach the real time of training camp, and the season. I don’t know how this turns out.”
King on the Packers: “The NFL used to be a league in which GMs pick the players, coaches coach the players and players simply play. But if smart players want more than that, and the alternative is that smart players (Russell Wilson, Rodgers and who knows in the future) want out if they’re ignored, why not allow players to give input? If the alternative is alienating great players to the point where they want out, wouldn’t you consider a different way of doing things? The Packers should.”
King on women in football: “The rise of women will be something to watch in the next decade… I wrote recently that there are qualified women – I named NFL executive Dawn Aponte and former Raiders executive Amy Trask – who could (and should) be interviewed for NFL GM jobs. Now that Kim Ng has broken the ceiling by being named the Miami Marlins GM this year, I think it’s only a matter of time before real interviews and not fake ones take place with women.”
King on licensed sports betting: “Halpin thinks the NFL’s progress in advanced analytics could help bring betting on more complex prop bets to a higher level. If, for instance, you knew that Alvin Kamara was 10 percent better than any back in football in third-down production, you might be more likely to place a quick bet on a third-and-eight play for the Saints. It’s all uncharted territory, but expect gambling to increasingly be a part of the NFL landscape.”
King on the NFL calendar: “I expect the NFL to announce soon its latest attempt to commandeer the sports calendar 24/7/365. The NFL is strongly considering an all-day football-fest on Saturday, July 31. That’s a day every team will be in training camp (most will report on July 27) … The NFL would look for ways to dress it up into an all-day TV and digital-media football show.”
Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.
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, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.
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.