People are interested in pro football because it provides them with an emotional oasis; they don't want football to get involved in the same types of court cases, racial problems and legislative issues they encounter in the rest of American life.
There are a lot more TV sets in use on Monday night than on Sunday afternoon.
But I haven't met a player or a coach whose goal isn't to win the Super Bowl.
I'm not saying that the press is wrong to report any internal differences we have, but at the same time, I think it's our job to keep them from becoming public issues, for anything that detracts from the purely athletic aspects of the sport is bad for us.
Considering what Americans have been confronted with in the last ten years, domestically and internationally, it's clear that we need emotional outlets; we have to have some peace from our problems.
At least I'm going into the job with clean hands.
I think the big thing I've had going for me in that regard has been the success of the league. I don't have quite as much control over things as people believe, so I frequently receive more credit than I deserve, and occasionally more criticism as well.
I'm not claiming that football is the nation's salvation in this area, but it's one of them, one little thing that apparently has captured the imagination of a large sector of our society. But when football can't be a relatively pure outlet, a fun thing, then it hurts itself.
Rather than saying that the commissioner is hired by the owners and therefore is subservient to them, you have to look at whether or not the players are getting a fair shake.
In fact, an awful lot of N.F.L. club owners have practically no influence on their players at all, simply because they're not full-time working owners.
Pro football was taking off when I became commissioner, and when a sport's successful and you're its chief executive officer, much of the credit flows to you and you develop a good track record.
Squabbling in public will eventually ruin football; there's no doubt it's hurting us already. Polls taken by Louis Harris - polls as valid as any political polls - indicate that very clearly.
Every franchise of both leagues will remain in its present location.
The most difficult owner for me was the late George Marshall of Washington.
At last, someone came to tell me I'd been selected as commissioner, which gave rise to the line that I took the job with clean hands. I was then taken downstairs to a press conference, and the reporters were as surprised as I was.
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