FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Commissioner Roger Goodell on the State of the NFL; Gridiron Greats Lynn Swann and Jerry Kramer Relive Super Bowl Memories

The following is a rush transcript of the February 6, 2010, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace, reporting from Cowboys Stadium, site of Super Bowl XLV. And this is "Fox News Sunday."

 

(MUSIC)

 

WALLACE: It is pro football's biggest day, an unofficial national holiday. From the gridiron to the negotiating table, what is the state of the National Football League? We'll talk exclusively with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

 

Then, glory days. A Super Bowl hero from each team's storied history. Pittsburgh Steelers' great Lynn Swann and Green Bay Packer legend Jerry Kramer, talking football, then and now.

 

Plus, the NFL on FOX gang is here. Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan, our super Sunday panel. This should be interesting.

 

And our power player of the week carries on the family business calling the big game.

 

All right now on Fox News Sunday.

 

(MUSIC)

 

WALLACE: You are looking at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where tonight the Pittsburgh Steelers square off against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV -- a spectacular setting for what each year is the biggest sporting event in America. More than 100,000 fans will be watching here, and in all likelihood, 100 million more of us will put out the chili and chips and watch on television.

 

And hello again from Fox News, today in Texas.

 

While the focus tonight will, of course, be on the game, there are other big issues for pro football, especially whether the league and players will agree on a new labor deal.

 

Joining us now, the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell.

 

And, Commissioner, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."

 

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: Great to be with you, Chris.

 

WALLACE: Yesterday, you held your first meeting since November with the players union. Any progress, and what are the chances that we'll get a full football season in 2011?

 

GOODELL: Well, Chris, I think it's always a positive when both parties are talking. And a number of players, a number of owners participated in the session yesterday. And I think it was beneficial and we've agreed that we're going continue meeting. So, I think, again, that will help us find a solution for the issues that we have to address responsibly.

 

WALLACE: What are the chances, either a lock-out or a full season?

 

GOODELL: My focus is on the next three or four weeks. I've often said, our agreement expires on March 4th. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that's fair for the players, fair for the club, and allows our great game to grow for our fans.

 

WALLACE: Well, the NFL, I don't have to tell you, is a $9 billion a year industry. Television ratings have never been higher. Wouldn't you have to be crazy to cancel this season?

 

GOODELL: Well, we're not focusing on canceling the season. What we're focusing on is getting an agreement that allows us to continue to grow that $9 billion business.

 

WALLACE: I know. But there is something else implied here. Wouldn't you have to be crazy to --

 

GOODELL: Well, again, if there are issues, Chris, that have to be addressed -- part of the ownership has done is responsibly managed their business over the years. And there are issues that need to be addressed in the context of that. You have to address those responsibly so the game can continue to grow, which everyone benefits -- the players, the fans, the game itself.

 

WALLACE: But why -- why do the issues have to be addressed? What's the problem?

 

GOODELL: Well, there are several issues. The first issue is that we have rookie compensation system that is completely out of whack. We believe that money should be going to veteran players and reward them for their performance on the field. We have players that are making extraordinary money before they even hit the NFL fields. That has to be addressed.

 

We have retired player issues. We want to make sure that our retired player issues -- particularly those players before 1993 -- we can address some of their benefits.

 

We have economic issues. To build great stadiums like this, it takes significant private contribution. And then we have to operate those facilities. So, we have to have those cost recognized.

 

So, we want to continue on with the integrity of the game -- which is my number one issue, making sure we have the best drug program in sports. So, there are a number of issues in the context of any collective bargaining agreement that need to be addressed properly.

 

WALLACE: OK. I think it's fair to say, the big issue is money. The owners want to take another $1 billion off the top before they share revenue with the players. But the National Football League, for all the reasons I just said, is hardly General Motors.

 

Why should the players give back things they got in the last collective bargaining agreement?

 

GOODELL: Because the economics are changing, Chris. The way you continue to be a successful business is you don't wait for the car to go off the cliff. You have to manage yourself. And make sure you do it in the right way so you are not making decisions in crisis.

 

You want to make sure you responsibly managing your business -- revenue is not the only indicator. You have to watch the cost side of the business. If you don't want the cost side of the business, then you're going to have long-term problem.

 

So, our issue is to manage our business properly, make sure that we can continue to grow the game by building game, and make sure we can continue to build great facilities, and other investments that we think are going to pay off for everybody.

 

WALLACE: Now, DeMaurice Smith, who is the head of the Players Association, the players union, says if you want concessions, then open your books -- full, financial transparency. To the outsider, that seems reasonable.

 

GOODELL: It does. And that's why the NFL has been transparent. That's why they know all of our revenue down to a penny. They know virtually all of our costs. They have audit rights -- large aspect of their business.

 

So, they know our business. They know that the economics are not working. And they've recognized that. And they have said it in our negotiations.

 

So, it's time to get beyond the negotiating voice and get into serious discussions that are going to lead to solutions.

 

WALLACE: But let me ask you about some specifics, because Mr. Smith says that you're not showing them the profit that each team makes and that you don't show them the cost that aren't involved with players, the non-player costs.

 

GOODELL: Well, in fact, they do see a lot of those costs because they participate in those costs. And when we talk to them about a cost recognition system, we want them to recognize those costs. We offered to show them every one of those costs, and they never disputed any of those costs.

 

WALLACE: What about the profits? Is it true that you don't show them the profit or loss that each team makes?

 

GOODELL: We don't show profit to them. We don't -- we have not claimed that we're not a profitable entity. What we want to do is continue to be a profitable entity.

 

WALLACE: Why not show them the profits?

 

GOODELL: But it doesn't lead to a solution, Chris. I'm interested in leading to solutions. The NBA showed their books to the union just a few months ago. At the end of it, the NFLPA director said baloney.

 

And so, what they do is they head off (ph) to a lockout. That's not where we want to be. We want to be in a position where we can find solutions. They know what the economic issues are that need to be addressed. And we need to do that at the table.

 

WALLACE: You crack down this season on hits to the head. And several players, most notably, James Harrison, the outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers who is going to be on the field during the Super Bowl and who you fined $100,000 for hits to the head during the course of the season, a lot of these players say you're preventing them from playing the game the way it's supposed to be played.

 

Here is what James Harrison said this week.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JAMES HARRISON, PITTSBURGH STEELERS LINEBACKER: I just want to tackle him softly on the ground, and if we can, we'll lay a pillow down where I'll tackle them so they don't hit the ground too hard, Mr. Goodell.

 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

WALLACE: So they don't hit the ground too hard, Mr. Goodell.

 

Are you making the game, as some defensive players say, too soft?

 

GOODELL: Chris, this is not something new that's different in our game. For decades, we have made changes to our game to take certain techniques out of the game that we think are dangerous to the players. And it's been very successful. It makes the game safer for our players.

 

We recognize we play a tough game. But you can make it safe and still make it fun and still make it exciting. We want to get back to those fundamentals. When we made these changes, we make these changes with all 32 clubs, all of our football people, input from the players, input from our coaches, to identify those techniques, along with our medical staff, that we think should be removed from the game.

 

They have been done effectively. They have made our game safer. And, frankly, our game has been more popular.

 

WALLACE: Now, I have to ask you the question. I must say when I tell people I'm going to interview Roger Goodell -- this is the question I was asked most often to ask you. If you are so concerned -- and I believe it, about the health of the players, why push for 18- game season? Isn't it just going to result in more injuries to the players?

 

GOODELL: Well, we play a 20-game format right now -- four preseason and 16 regular season games. We switched several years ago from a 14-regular season game and six preseason game to 16-4 concept that we have now. It was done very effectively.

 

What you have to do is you have to improve the quality of everything you're doing. We have fans who do not want to go to our preseason games. They do not meet the quality standard that the NFL represents. We need to fix that.

 

So, making preseason meaningless game into a regular season game makes a lot of sense on the quality side. At the same time, from a safety stand point, you have to make changes in the game, you have to make changes in the off-season, you have to make changes in the training camp period and during the regular season to take unnecessary contacts out. We've identified those issues, we've discussed those with the union and we continue to do that.

 

WALLACE: But I'm enough of a football fan to know one of reasons that I don't like exhibition games particularly is because the starters don't play in the exhibition games. So, instead, those two games are going to become regular season games are two games that the starters really wouldn't have played much in and wouldn't have gotten injured to now regular season games they would conceivably get injured.

 

So -- I mean, it's not like you're just interchanging two games of one sort for another. It's really whether the players are playing full-out or not playing. A recent poll, 18 percent of fans said they don't feel strongly about longer season. Dan Rooney, one of the legendary owners, says 16 games is enough.

 

Is -- aren't the only people who really benefit from adding two games the owners who are going to get more money?

 

GOODELL: No. Absolutely not. Mike, I couldn't disagree with you more. If we are able to grow the game and build the game, that's more revenue, which the players share in.

 

WALLACE: And what about the argument that these are games that -- that players are going to get injured in and they wouldn't have gotten injured in the exhibition games because they wouldn't play.

 

GOODELL: Unfortunately, Mike players get --

 

WALLACE: I'm Chris, and --

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

GOODELL: Excuse me. I apologize.

 

I -- that's exactly what happens, and we have players who get injured in the preseason. And that's what we're trying to do, is address that. Players don't like to play in the preseason games either.

 

I recognize if it was a regular season game, they would play more, and have -- that's why you have to focus on outside the game and make sure that we're doing things in practice, in training camp and OTAs in the off-season to reduce the impact to make the game safer.

 

WALLACE: Three years ago you instituted a new personal conduct policy and I want to ask you about a few of the -- the more notorious cases this year. Ben Roethlisberger. You say that you talked to the -- some two dozen players and that none of them came to his defense.

 

There's been a little confusion, so let me ask you two questions. First of all, were any of the people that you talked to, players, teammates of his on the Steelers? And, secondly, why is the question of lack of support from other players relevant anyway?

 

GOODELL: It wasn't that. What we do -- what I do when I make a decision, and the reason this came out, is I do speak to players. I do speak to coaches. I do speak to other people that I think have a perspective about it, because these issues reflect on the players. So I have a very open policy where I like to hear from the players about their perspective on the issue. I don't take a vote. I don't ask them what the -- I ask what is it that we could be doing to support the players better? What can we be doing? How do you see this type of image? How -- what is it that you think we need to do better as a league to address it?

 

WALLACE: Were any of them Steelers?

 

GOODELL: No.

 

WALLACE: OK. That -- that clears up one issue.

 

Brett Favre. You have been criticized for letting the investigation of whether he sexually harassed a sideline reporter drag on for -- for a long period of time, and the allegation is -- and you well know -- that you were doing this on purpose so that you wouldn't have to deal with the suspension of him while his consecutive game streak was still alive.

 

What about the argument that you let the investigation drag on? You didn't talk to the woman involved, the sideline reporter, for more than a month.

 

GOODELL: We didn't speak to -- to her until one of the later stages because we were looking to gather all the information that we could. We had to gather that from her, we had to gather that from Brett Favre. We had to gather that from various other sources and to make sure we got all the information.

 

When we make these decisions, they are serious decisions. We have to be thorough, we have to be fair, and we have to make sure we have our facts straight. And I went and got all the information I could possibly get and made the determination that I think is in the best interest of the National Football League and the game of football.

 

WALLACE: But were you at all aware of the idea, if I suspend him now, I am wrecking the consecutive game streak?

 

GOODELL: No. I -- and that's not my focus. My focus is to get to the right decision as soon as possible.

 

WALLACE: Michael Vick. Do you view him now as fully rehabilitated, as just another player, or in your mind and the mind of the league is he still on some kind of special status?

 

GOODELL: Well, Michael is in a position where everyone is going to challenge his decisions going forward. He is on a -- in a very difficult position, because people are looking for him to fail in some cases.

 

I personally would like to see him succeed. I would like to see other players succeed and make good decisions. That's why we're supporting them to make better decisions going forward. And I'm rooting for a guy like Michael Vick because he's a young man who's trying to do the right thing and we should support that.

 

WALLACE: Finally, we heard from President Obama the other day on the State of the Union. As we sit here in this incredible stadium for this exciting game, but obviously, as we've been -- discussed, there are problems in the league. What is the state of the NFL?

 

GOODELL: I think the state of the NFL has a very positive outlook. We can get this collective bargaining agreement addressed in responsible way, a fair way for everybody, move this back so that we have an agreement that the clubs feel good about, the players feel good about. We can make sure the game continues to be safe, continues to be competitive, and we can continue to grow.

 

That's great for our fans. That's great for the game of football.

 

WALLACE: We got about 30 seconds left. Just personally, obviously, the big issue here with -- with the whole labor -- possibility of a -- of a shutdown, you've got to know for most Americans there will be a national nervous breakdown if we don't have our football this fall.

 

How much does it weigh on you personally and how much do you think, you know, my term as commissioner is going to be judged on how I'm able to negotiate for the good of the game, the good of the players, to get this -- to get this to turn out the right way?

 

GOODELL: Well, the most important thing you can do here is make sure you get an agreement that works for everybody. You're not going to get everything you want. You need everything you need. And that's what we have to do, is get a system that's balanced and allow us to continue to grow.

 

I understand my responsibility in that. No one wants this game to go on and be more successful than me.

 

WALLACE: Commissioner Goodell, first of all we want to thank you so much for coming in today and taking time out of a very busy week and a very busy day. Good luck with the game tonight.

 

GOODELL: Thanks, Chris.

 

WALLACE: It should be great.

 

Up next, the Packers and the Steelers, two storied franchises, and a legendary player from each team joins us after the break, as we continue from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

WALLACE: And we are back here in Cowboy Stadium, and no, we didn't break out the field. The game tonight features two of the NFL's most famous franchises, the Green Bay Packers, started in 1919, while the Pittsburgh Steelers date back to 1933.

 

Earlier, we sat down with a legend from each team, Lynn Swann of the Steelers and Jerry Kramer from the Packers.

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

WALLACE: Gentlemen, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."

 

LYNN SWANN, FORMER STEELERS WIDE RECEIVER: Thank you very much.

 

JERRY KRAMER, FORMER PACKERS OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: Pleasure.

 

WALLACE: Jerry, you played in and won the first two Super Bowls. Did you ever dream it would be this big?

 

KRAMER: You know, I had an opportunity with a group of guys to buy the New Orleans Saints back in 1971-'72, and we talked to three or four, five general managers around the league about the future of professional football and the growth that they might or might not see, and I got words like "peaking," "saturation," "overexposure," "leveling off", and my Green bay GM said, "Jerry, I don't know. These tickets have gone from $2.40 up to $4. I don't know how much more the fans can stand." So --

 

WALLACE: So what would a dollar that you would have invested then be worth today? Not -- not to rub it in.

 

KRAMER: Wow. Well, it -- normal inflationary spiral is about 10 to 15 percent from that time to today and the NFL salaries have increased 300 times. So, it would be very dramatic in the NFL.

 

WALLACE: Lynn, you played in and won four Super Bowls. Is there one play or one memory that stands out for you? 

 

SWANN: I think -- I think for me one moment that crystallized what we were trying to accomplish and what it meant to the city of Pittsburgh was in the locker room after Super Bowl IX in New Orleans, at Tulane Stadium, when Pete Rozelle presented the Vince Lombardi trophy to Art Rooney. And that one moment, as you imagine, would work 40 years to build this franchise to get its first championship, kind of crystallized things.

 

WALLACE: Lynn, with the NFL, bigger and richer than ever, what do you think of this labor dispute and the possibility of a lock-out? Billionaires fighting millionaires.

 

SWANN: Roger Goodell is trying to win for the ownership. And the executive director is going to try to win for the players. You know, at the end of the day, it may not come down to strategies. It may come down to a little more testosterone on one side or the other.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

WALLACE: A lot of testosterone in that room.

 

Jerry, should the players refuse to give back the money they made in the last contract, even if it means a lock-out?

 

KRAMER: A hard thing to do, Chris. Extremely hard to go backward a little bit. I'm kind of in Lynn's camp. If they could defer some of that money or put more money toward the retirement phase when some of the players are now broke and they've been padding their pockets for a while and wondering what they are going to do next, I think that would be a very wise move.

 

WALLACE: Do you agree with that, Lynn?

 

SWANN: I do. I think for a long time, professional football was America's greatest part-time job. You go play for six months. You have didn't necessarily train that much in the off-season. At time, you had six preseason games and you kind of move it along.

 

I think today, they are professionals. It's a year-round job that they have. It's a career.

 

WALLACE: Commissioner Goodell cracked down on hits to the head this season. Some players say that he is fooling with the essential nature of the game, which is violent. Has he gone too far?

 

KRAMER: No. I think what he's doing is absolutely necessary. If you would spend an afternoon with four or five of my old teammates and see the degree of dementia and the mental problems they're having, there wouldn't be any question in your mind about whether we ought to protect those concussions and protect those heads or not. Absolutely not. There is no question about that in my mind.

 

WALLACE: I want to pick up on that with you, Lynn, because before Super Bowl X you spent a couple of days in the hospital with a concussion and there was a big question whether you were even going to play. Was the league too reckless then? Or is it getting too soft now?

 

SWANN: I don't think the league has ever been reckless. I think it's a matter of we now have more information. We know more now than we did then.

 

Sure, Harrison and the guys from the Steelers are upset about the rule changes, because you have officials on the field who are interpreting what's a bad hit or helmet-to-helmet hit when a guy might have ducked his head and there is no way you can prevent that. You know, how they call that on the field will progress and get better. But it's incumbent upon the league and most incumbent upon the Players Association to embrace these rule changes and continue to do the right thing as you move forward.

 

WALLACE: Let me ask you both and start with you, Lynn. Do you have any lasting effects from injuries you suffered during your the pro football career?

 

SWANN: I had my hip replaced. You know, I'm probably looking at another surgery on the knee, some problems happening there. You know, I joke sometimes having played the Raiders five times but I can only remember three.

 

If there is a neurological problem, it will show up at some point in time at my life. I'm hoping I'm not that particular guy. But you won't know. That's why -- that's why decades ago, I advocated for, you know, lifetime health care for players, if you play, you know, in the league minimum number of years, so that when these problems do occur, you have some way to get them taken care of. You would get some help. It would not bankrupt your family.

 

WALLACE: Jerry, any lasting effects from a tough career in the trenches?

 

KRAMER: I had a hip problem, Chris, for the last four or five years and I recently had a stem cell injection about three months and I'm trying to solve it that way. I haven't had mental any lapses of any significance.

 

SWANN: Not that you've noticed.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

KRAMER: But I am acutely aware of any time I have a thought and it doesn't come right away, I'll go, uh-oh, is this it?

 

WALLACE: I'm afraid to say, Jerry, I think that's more age than it is playing football.

 

KRAMER: Than it is concussions?

 

WALLACE: Or at least I got it and I never played a down in football.

 

A couple of final questions -- Jerry, you can't have a Super Bowl without thinking of Vince Lombardi. Would his coaching techniques work today?

 

KRAMER: Coach Lombardi was so fundamentally sound. His philosophies, his principles and his beliefs, Chris, were founded on ancient Greece. And he believed in preparation, and commitment and consistency and discipline and pride and character. And some of the things that are so essential to success in any walk of life. But I've got to believe he could play today and I got to believe he would be successful today.

 

WALLACE: Lynn, your Steelers teams in the '70s were legendary, some of the best ever. How do you think your teams would do against the two teams in the Super Bowl?

 

SWANN: Oh, we'd beat them.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

WALLACE: Are you serious?

 

SWANN: Oh, yes. We'd beat them.

 

WALLACE: They're faster, they're stronger.

 

SWANN: Yes, but we would be bigger, faster, stronger, too. I mean, take our teams -- his team, my team -- put us in five years of college and training that they have today and then put us in the same situation. And we're bigger, we're stronger, we're faster.

 

The question would be: if the guys who play today, would they be able to play our game in the '70s where they could hit a receiver 20 yards downfield? Or if Dick Butkus who's in the middle of the field, and he clotheslined a guy, whether he'd be willing to get up go down the field and try and make that same catch again?

 

WALLACE: Finally, and you sort of knew this was coming -- starting with you, Lynn -- who's going to win tonight and why?

 

SWANN: The Green Bay Packers are not going to win.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

WALLACE: What a surprise.

 

SWANN: I believe in this football team. I believe this football team has many of the attributes that we were just discussing. They will seize the opportunity and take advantage of it, and that will be the difference in the ballgame and the Steelers win.

 

WALLACE: Jerry?

 

KRAMER: The Steelers haven't got a chance. No, it's going to be a great football game. I believe the Steelers have an edge in experience. And I believe it might take a little while for the Green Bay Club to settle down a little bit.

 

We got a sensational young quarterback and we've got a receiving corps almost as good as this guy was, you know? Five guys who were just sensational. Our defense is playing well. The whole team is peaking at precisely the right time. And we're now here in Jerry Jones' backyard to pick up the Lombardi trophy and there's something sweet about that.

 

SWANN: Maybe that's the light at the end of the day, whether it's Pittsburgh or Green Bay, we're taking it out of Dallas.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

WALLACE: Jerry Kramer, Lynn Swann, thank you.

 

KRAMER: Thank you, Chris.

 

SWANN: Thank you.

 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

 

WALLACE: That was a treat. Hall-of-famer Lynn Swann and Jerry Kramer, who shockingly is not in the hall, and clearly deserves that honor.

 

Up next, our special Super Bowl Sunday panel as we continue from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: And we're back inside Cowboys Stadium in Texas, and the Fox Sports pre-game set, where, in the words of Hank Williams Jr., I've been joined by all my rowdy friends on our special Super Bowl panel: quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers, four-time Super Bowl champion, twice the MVP, Terry Bradshaw; defensive end, Oakland Raiders, winner of one Super Bowl ring, Howie Long; an defensive end, New York Giants, one Super Bowl ring, Michael Strahan.

 

We'll get to the game in the next panel, but let's start with the state of the game. Do any of you actually think that the owners will lock out the players? And if so -- and let's start with you, Howie -- how long do you think it will?

 

LONG: I think if it gets to midnight, March 3rd, I think there is probably a good chance not only there will be a lockout, but I think it probably could run into September. The owners seem to have bunkered down, they've kind of put some money away. They are prepared for a long, long lockout.

 

I think with the players, there is a lot at stake. You look at an 18-game schedule potentially. I think we're at the envelope of what players can take, given the size, speed, and strength of where our game is today. And if the league is in fact concerned about the health and safety of its players, going to 18 games is mind-boggling to me.

 

WALLACE: Terry, your thoughts? Is there going to be a lockout? And if so, will it cut into the actual season?

 

BRADSHAW: You know, just my gut feeling is there is. I do believe there will be one. I do think it will extend into the season.

 

I hope that they will -- let me say this, Chris. When you give something -- when you give candy to a baby and try to take it back, that baby pitches a fit. And what the owners are trying to do, take back from the players, that's a hard sell, and I don't blame the players for saying we reject that. But there is too much money out there.

 

WALLACE: Well, I was going to ask you about that.

 

Let me pick up on that with you, Michael.

 

The owners say we made a bad deal last time, we've got to take money back that we gave last time. But when you have got record revenue, record ratings, how much are the owners really hurting?

 

STRAHAN: Well, you know, the owners feel like they need to take some back to grow the game. And -- but it's really hard, as T.B. said, to give candy to a baby and take it back. They're going to pitch a fit.

 

Right now the players are pitching a fit. And I do believe there's going to be a lockout. But as Howie said, it's kind of a combination of everybody here.

 

The owners have put money away. I think the owners definitely can sustain. And it will be interesting, if it does go a few weeks into the season, how many players you see start to either hear a little thing here or there about, hey, we need to get back on track, because obviously, the game is bigger and better than it's ever been, and nobody is going to win with a lockout.

 

BRADSHAW: This stadium, Chris, quickly, this is a $1.2 billion that owner Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, he's got to pay for this thing. And I would think even as successful a franchise as the Dallas Cowboys, man, that's a big note to pay.

 

LONG: I think you are looking at two weeks into the season as being kind of the cutoff point. I think they can make up and get a full season in if the lockout were to extend into two weeks into the season.

 

WALLACE: Let me pick up on another subject. I think you mentioned it, Howie.

 

And let me ask you about it, Michael.

 

An 18-game season. We have got injuries already that are a terrible problem. Obviously, it makes sense for the owners, it make sense for the television networks.

 

Does it make sense for the game?

 

STRAHAN: I don't think it makes sense for the game. I don't think it makes sense for the players.

 

If you talk about long-term player health, you can't say let's add two games, but we really care about your health. You've had over 100 more players on injury reserve this year than you had last year. Guys are getting bigger, stronger and faster.

 

You can eliminate two pre-season games and add them to the regular season, but in the pre-season, those guys don't play those game anyway. But now, if you add regular season games, if you add 10 guys to the roster, those 10 guys still won't play. Your stars are still going to play. I don't think it benefits the player in their long-term careers, and I don't think it benefits the player in their long-term health.

 

LONG: And if you do go to 18 games, which, you know, I can't imagine, but if you do, you have to add an extra week, eliminate OTAs, eliminate essentially two of the pre-season games. And that way, the season is divided up into thirds. You get one third, you get a bye, another third, you get a bye, and then you finish the season up on the third. Give the players a chance to recoup.

 

WALLACE: Let me pick up on another thing with you, Terry. Two pass rushers, a quarterback, obviously --

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

BRADSHAW: You're too far away.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't mess with me.

 

STRAHAN: I'm too far away from, you, T.B.

 

BRADSHAW: What are you going to do, limp over here?

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

STRAHAN: Don't make me mad.

 

BRADSHAW: That's awful bold talk for a one-eyed --

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

WALLACE: You know, it isn't like this in Washington. Brit Hume doesn't act this way.

 

So what do you think of the crackdown on illegal hits? Well, I know what you're going to think, but the illegal hits to the head? I mean, has the league gone too far, as James Harrison, the stud linebacker of the Pittsburgh Steelers, says?

 

BRADSHAW: You're going to be shocked by my response to that. I think, for instance, if they went to 18 games, they'd have to -- they'd have to lax the rules a little bit more. If they protect their quarterbacks more and the receivers more and the running backs more, all of a sudden, the game that is so powerful, you start losing --

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BRADSHAW: Well, of course it's smart football, but is it the football that is generating the ratings today? I for one played in the '70s, where you were body-slammed, you very seldom wore a chin strap. I mean, it was a rough game. And I liked it that way. I like it that way today.

 

To me, the rules favor the offense. And that's only because the more points we score, the better the TV ratings are. And we got that from the AFL, and we stole it -- it emerged in 1970, and that's what gets ratings.

 

WALLACE: Let me ask the two pass rushers, have they gone too far? Have they taken --

 

STRAHAN: I think they have. I think they have. And, I mean, this is actually the result of too many shots to the head.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

WALLACE: A case study here, right?

 

STRAHAN: But I think they've gone too far. I mean, you see some of these hits where guys are trying to get down, and they just accidentally run into a helmet, and the guy gets fined. It's a flag.

 

I think a lot of these things, if it's blatant, you have to fine the guy, you have to flag the guy. But you very rarely see too many blatant. You see guys just trying to play the game the way they were taught to play, and they just happen to hit somebody the wrong way.

 

LONG: You know, we work (ph) the kind of models that don't come with air brakes or ABS brakes. I mean, it's not like you're full speed running -- the game happens at warp speed.

 

STRAHAN: Fast.

 

LONG: And subtle changes, if the quarterback, suddenly, at the last second, after you've already launched -- and they don't like the word "launch," but you do launch into opposing players. When you do launch, the quarterback or the running back or the receiver ducks, which is instinctive thing to do.

 

If I'm going to hit you, you are going to duck. If I come over there and throw a right at you, you are going to move. If your head slides a little bit, I hit you in the helmet --

 

WALLACE: But I'm watching it on high-def TV in sort of slow motion. It looks like you had all the time in the world.

 

LONG: Right. That's the problem. The game is not played in slow motion. Sometimes it moves slow motion for you.

 

WALLACE: Are they always like this to you?

 

BRADSHAW: Yes, they are.

 

WALLACE: I'm glad you're on this side of the table.

 

Last question. Overall -- and let's go down the line here, starting with you, Michael -- what is the state of the game and of the league today, as compared to when you were playing?

 

STRAHAN: Oh, man. I think now, from my first Super Bowl in 2000 to now, the way the Super Bowls are handled, when I went in 2007 to being here, totally different.

 

I think you have more women involved in the game. I think this fantasy football has added a different dynamic because people are not just interested in their hometown team, they are interested in players now, because it's about points and building your franchise.

 

So I think what the NFL has done to grow the game and the popularity of game has worked. It got more people interested in the game than have ever been interested before, and I just hope they can keep it going.

 

LONG: I this it's the way the game is covered. You know, Michael talked about the changes from his first Super Bowl to the second Super Bowl. I took a cab to the Super Bowl with Lyle Alzado in 1983. Got stuck in traffic and walked the last three-quarters --

 

WALLACE: As a Redskins fan, I wish you had gotten caught.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

LONG: I think the way the game is covered, you can draw a parallel to the way politics is covered. What was covered in 1963 or 1970 in politics and in sports is totally different now. The 24-hour news cycle, the Twitter accounts, the Internet, everything is fair game.

 

WALLACE: Terry?

 

BRADSHAW: Yes. That's just what I was about to allude to, the fact that it's 24/7 now.

 

I mean, You can't do anything, Chris, anymore in this league without someone sticking a cell phone that you don't know about taking your picture. Interviews are around the clock. I personally would not have enjoyed playing in this environment. I liked it the other way.

 

LONG: What are they doing now?

 

WALLACE: All right, panel. Take a break.

 

But up next, we'll talk about tonight's game and get some predictions from the guys with the rings, Terry, Howie and Michael, as we continue from Cowboys Stadium, the site of Super Bowl XLV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

WALLACE: And we're back now with our special Super Bowl Sunday group.

 

Let's go down the line, starting with you, Terry.

 

We'll get predictions at the end. How do you see the game? What are your keys to the game?

 

BRADSHAW: First of all, both defenses are very aggressive. They like to blitz. They like to come at you. They like to play man-to- man on the outside.

 

I see this game coming down to a big play. I think it's going to be 30-27, but big plays. I think our viewers are going to be excited and are going to be given a game they haven't seen in a long time. But I see a lot of monstrous plays in this football game.

 

WALLACE: Howie?

 

LONG: You know, I hope we get the kind of game in their match-up from last year, week 15, 37-36.

 

BRADSHAW: You're not going to get that.

 

LONG: Well, you know what? You were pretty close. I mean, 37- 36, six touchdown passes, zero interceptions, 800 -- they threw the ball 105 times in that game. I don't expect to see that in this football game. I think it's going to come down to the last possession, and I think it's going to be a great game right here on Fox.

 

STRAHAN: I think it's going to be -- way to go. That's the way to go, Howie.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

STRAHAN: You talked about the whole game right there. I think it's going to be -- it's interesting, because two defenses that are very close. They practice basically against this defense every day. And so there is a lot of familiarity with it.

 

Quarterbacks, two different styles. One is like a big ox back there who just can't go down and makes plays happen when they break down in the secondary.

 

WALLACE: Roethlisberger.

 

STRAHAN: Roethlisberger. Oh, come on, man. Only one guy could do what he does.

 

And the other one, he's nifty, he's smart, he gets rid of the ball quickly, has the best receivers running after the catch in the league. And I think they're going to depend on that.

 

WALLACE: I want to pick up on that with you, Terry.

 

A lot of people think this is going to be Aaron Rodgers' coming out party as a real star in this league. How confident are you that Rodgers can rise to this occasion?

 

BRADSHAW: Oh, listen, this is not a coming out party for him, Chris. Everyone knows he is a fabulous quarterback.

 

The thing he had to learn in the last three years, as a starter for Green Bay, was he had to learn how at the end of the first half, and especially the second half, was lead his team for a come-from- behind victory, which he has now done. He has gotten them here to the Super Bowl. No surprise.

 

If he puts on a big show today, I don't have a problem with that. I expect him to play extremely well.

 

WALLACE: On the other hand, Howie, if Ben Roethlisberger wins, this will be his third Super Bowl championship in six years. That would put him in very elite company.

 

LONG: Yes, and it gets him closer to my partner sitting here to my right, who won four.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's just close, though. Just close.

 

LONG: And you know what? And these two sat down for the pre- game, and I'm really excited to watch that interview.

 

I think the Steelers, particularly the defensive players, the wide receivers, the whole football team, you're chasing ghosts when you play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's Jack Lambert, it's Jack Ham, it's Joe Green, it's Terry Bradshaw.

 

The other players I see have embraced that history. I'm not sure that Ben, up until now -- and maybe age gives you a better perspective. And maybe you sitting down with him for this Super Bowl will give him an opportunity to gain perspective -- you two should have a great relationship. He gets to three, has a chance to get to four, and there's every indication he will get that chance, because it's a great football team, a great organization.

 

WALLACE: Young. Very young.

 

LONG: Twenty-eight years old.

 

WALLACE: Yes.

 

Michael, I think it's fair to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense is better known to most casual fans than the Packers' defense. How do you compare them?

 

STRAHAN: You have -- they're both aggressive, but in a different way. James Harrison scares you if he just looks at you. I mea, I would be scared if I were the offense --

 

WALLACE: That's the outside linebacker.

 

STRAHAN: The outside linebacker. If I were Jack Clifton and I knew I had to block the outside linebacker, James Harrison, I don't think I would sleep very well. I just wouldn't, because he is a beast. LaMarr Woodley is a great complement to him.

 

Whereas, the Packers, you have Clay Matthews, who does it, but he does it in a different way, with the hair flowing. You know, it makes you want to take a brush out there and just brush it straight. I mean, he just does it a lot smoother way.

 

T.B., don't be looking at me because you don't have hair. It's not my fault. Don't be jealous about me because I have hair.

 

BRADSHAW: I don't. I'm better looking than you. That's the first time I've ever said it, Mike.

 

STRAHAN: How did he go from defense to you better looking than me?BRADSHAW: Well, because you turned it on me, so I'm just going to stand up for myself.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

STRAHAN: You gave me a look when I talked about Clay Matthews's hair.

 

WALLACE: I just want to say that on our show, when I get Brit Hume and Juan Williams fighting with each other, I just sit back and let them go. Go ahead, guys. My job is done.

 

LONG: All three of us have carnival mirrors at home, and we're seeing something totally different than America sees.

 

STRAHAN: You know what, Howie?

 

LONG: All three of us.

 

STRAHAN: Howie, you just did that -- you threw that in there about all three, but you know you just meant --

 

LONG: No, no.

 

STRAHAN: Because Howie gets all the ladies. The ladies love Howie Long.

 

LONG: No, no.

 

BRADSHAW: Let me add one thing to this. Both teams are aggressive with their linebackers and their corners, and their safeties blitzing. Nothing unravels a quarterback, I don't care what his status is in this league, more than blitzing. And that's the thing. Which one of these two guys -- and this football team --

 

WALLACE: Let me ask you this. I know they're conference champions going in, an done is going to be a Super Bowl champion. But are -- do you see any weaknesses in either team that can be exploited?

 

STRAHAN: Yes. I think the one weakness that can be exploited is the safety position, because Pittsburgh can run the ball. Green Bay will have to drop their safety down, which is going to open up some things with Mike Wallace.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

STRAHAN: They're going to need a safety to help.

 

WALLACE: Let me just say for my family, if Mike Wallace had a really good night, we'd be very happy in the Wallace family.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

LONG: There you are.

 

WALLACE: I get a big kick every time I hear that. It jumps out, "Mike Wallace."

 

BRADSHAW: Well, you're a Steeler fan.

 

WALLACE: No, I'm not. I'm a Mike Wallace fan. All Mike Wallaces.

 

BRADSHAW: I thought you were a Washington fan.

 

WALLACE: Yes, I am a Redskin --

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BRADSHAW: You're a politician, is what you are.

 

WALLACE: I'm talking about Mike Wallace.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's talking about Mike Wallace.

 

WALLACE: Don't I even get a break on Mike Wallace?

 

BRADSHAW: No, you do. Mike Wallace, sure.

 

WALLACE: Do you see any weaknesses?

 

LONG: You know, I think Michael talked about the weakness in terms of having to force the Green Bay Packers to bring another safety up. I think for me, Woodson playing in the slot is like bringing another safety up.

 

I think the Polomalu-Woodson match-up for both football teams, how Dom Capers, how he uses Woodson, the emergence of Williams and Shields in the secondary, allows him to be a run blitzer, a pass blitzer, cover your slot receiver, cover your tight end. And I think there are plays to be made for Aaron Rodgers. The question is, will he be on his feet?

 

BRADSHAW: I think he will. This guy is so quick getting rid of the football --

 

STRAHAN: Exactly.

 

BRADSHAW: -- and if you identify where the blitz is coming from, they are so skilled at their wide receiver position, that that is why I think big plays --

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BRADSHAW: No, no. I'm not. Trust me. I'm not.

 

WALLACE: I was watching some analysis, I don't know where I watched it, in the last days that said that Aaron Rodgers, one of the things that's amazing about him is he can be on the run, out of position, throwing across his body, feet off the ground, and still can throw a dart (ph).

 

BRADSHAW: Yes, he's amazing. He's amazing. Got one of the quickest releases I've seen since Namath.

 

STRAHAN: And he can hurt you, though. He can outrun these defensive lines.

 

LONG: Pretty quick, yes.

 

STRAHAN: If they give him a little hole, he can creep through that hole and outrun them. Ben is going to stand back there and take some shots and get rid of it, but Aaron can run.

 

WALLACE: And you should be a little impressed that I know this much about your game. What about the fact that Pouncey, the Pittsburgh --

 

BRADSHAW: Center.

 

WALLACE: -- center is out? I didn't need any help.

 

BRADSHAW: No, no. No. Are you OK?

 

WALLACE: I'm OK. I'm OK. Everything is fine. Yes.

 

BRADSHAW: No. Fine.

 

STRAHAN: That was good, though.

 

BRADSHAW: Welcome to my world. Someone's trying to help you.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

STRAHAN: You should go to Washington and do an interview.

 

BRADSHAW: I would be great there, wouldn't I?

 

WALLACE: All right, guys. We've got a minute left. So each of you take about 20 seconds, starting with Michael.

 

Who is going to win? What's the score?

 

STRAHAN: When is this airing?

 

WALLACE: This is airing Sunday morning.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's live, Sunday morning, Michael.

 

WALLACE: You're live! It is Sunday morning.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're live!

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

STRAHAN: We love you, but we're going to give you our pick in about the fourth hour --

 

WALLACE: Come on!

 

STRAHAN: I can't give you mine. All I can say is that these are very -- two well-matched teams.

 

LONG: Oh, bull.

 

STRAHAN: May the best team win.

 

LONG: Pittsburgh wins.

 

WALLACE: OK.

 

STRAHAN: You're saying that because you're --

 

(CROSSTALK)

LONG: I'm the one that has to make that pick -- Sunday, Saturday, Friday.

 

BRADSHAW: What are you afraid of?

 

LONG: What am I afraid of?

 

BRADSHAW: He's picking Green Bay and he's picking Pittsburgh. I already know because we rehearsed it the other day.

 

LONG: And if you believe rehearsal --

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

LONG: -- then you're wrong.

 

BRADSHAW: I do.

 

I want to know who you're picking. Pittsburgh? I'm definitely Pittsburgh.

 

WALLACE: I am a Redskins fan. You're exactly right. Have you ever watched a game on TV and you don't know who you are rooting for, and suddenly it's third down, and they either make it or they don't make it, and you're happy or you're sad?

 

BRADSHAW: Yes.

 

WALLACE: And then you suddenly go, oh, I guess I'm rooting for? I figure five minutes into the game I'll be looking and I'll say --

 

BRADSHAW: Oh. That is so lame! You mean to tell me you don't have a choice in this game?

 

WALLACE: Not yet.

 

BRADSHAW: Oh, Chris, I don't buy that.

 

WALLACE: I just want to say, thank you, all.

 

BRADSHAW: Bill O'Reilly would have a pick.

 

WALLACE: If any of you want to come to Washington --

 

BRADSHAW: Beck would have made a pick.

 

WALLACE: If any of you want to --

 

BRADSHAW: Hannity would have made a pick!

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

WALLACE: And you can talk politics. You're all welcome.

 

LONG: Let's send him over there. He'll figure the whole thing out.

 

WALLACE: And we'll be watching your coverage of Super Bowl XLV later.

 

Up next, our "Power Player of the Week."

 

BRADSHAW: You're so weak!

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

WALLACE: The Super Bowl is the big game not only for the players, but also for the folks behind the mikes. Today's lead announcer is our "Power Player of the Week."

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

WALLACE: How is doing a Super Bowl different than a regular game?

 

JOE BUCK, FOX SPORTS: Well, it's scary as hell. And I think the more you accept the fact that you're doing this for 100 million people, plus, and you treat it the right way, with your preparation, you just go in and do it.

 

But trust me, I mean, I'd be lying to you if I sat here and said, oh, it's just another game, this is like week eight. This is not like week eight. This is as big as it gets in my world.

 

WALLACE: The last Super Bowl, the most watched television game -- not trying to make you nervous, Joe -- in history. This one is supposed to be even bigger.

 

Do you really feel the nerves?

 

BUCK: Yes, you do in the preparation. You know, I think my preparation is more extensive for this, which I'm telling you that, and you alone that.

 

I think that then suggests that during week eight, I'm mailing it in, and that's not the case. But when you have got two weeks of clips to read and you're preparing yourself the right way, it can become overwhelming.

 

WALLACE: Once the game gets going, obviously you follow the action. But going in, do you have a story line for this game?

 

BUCK: Yes, I think you start putting that together in your head, and you think, to me, it's Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay's passing offense against Pittsburgh's passing defense and the pass rush. And then on the other side of the ball, you know, how well can Pittsburgh run the football and how well can Green Bay stop it? And that's it going in.

 

But just like any coach, I mean, you have to adjust. And they'll adjust. And then we adjust off that.

 

And I just react. I mean, I see it, I react, and I try to say it without messing up.

 

WALLACE: What about the fact that you have these two storied longtime NFL franchises?

 

BUCK: I can spend two weeks thinking about the history of the Steelers and the history of the Packers. But once you touch on that, that you kind of throw away. And now it's Mike Wallace making a big catch down the sideline.

 

WALLACE: And I want you to say that with feeling, "Mike Wallace."

 

BUCK: I will. I will. God, please. I hope I don't say "Chris."

 

WALLACE: For both of our sakes.

 

BUCK: Yes, exactly.

 

WALLACE: Before your last Super Bowl, you said, "I don't care who wins." And I know that you always call the game fair and balanced --

 

BUCK: Sure.

 

WALLACE: -- as we like to say.

 

BUCK: That's the way we do it at Fox.

 

WALLACE: Privately, do you ever root for a team?

 

BUCK: No. You know, once I got into this business, I stopped going to bed in my Cardinal pajamas and sleeping in my helmet bed. I don't think that way.

 

My answer to that was always the guys on the field aren't caring how I broadcast the game. And I don't really care who wins and loses. I've got enough on my mind.

 

WALLACE: You literally don't care?

 

BUCK: Why would I care? I'm not from Green Bay, I'm not from Pittsburgh. We're here now. And whoever wins, wins. And I just hope I get the score right at the end of the game.

 

WALLACE: Did your dad, legendary sportscaster Jack Buck, did he ever give you a piece of advice before a big game?

 

BUCK: No. He gave me advice when I was a kid to start smoking to get my voice down a little bit lower. And then he'd laugh.

 

Beyond that, it was know the rules, enunciate. And unless you think you could have made the play 10 times out of 10, don't be too critical of the guys doing this down on the field, because they're doing it at a level that we'll never understand.

 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

 

WALLACE: Stay tuned to your local Fox station, as the best team in sports television brings you every moment of Super Bowl XLV.

 

But before you watch, go to our Web site, FoxNewsSunday.com. If you scroll down the right side one last time, you will find a link to my wife Lorraine's buffalo turkey chili, which I can promise you is the perfect game-day meal.

 

And that's it for today. A special thanks to our colleagues here at Fox Sports for all of their help.

 

Have a great week. And we'll see you back in Washington next "Fox News Sunday."

Content and Programming Copyright 2011 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2011 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.