In a triumph of synergy, Bob Schieffer hosted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on yesterday's Super Bowl Sunday edition of CBS' Face the Nation. Goodell's solo interview lasted about ten minutes; he was followed by a panel of CBS' NFL analysts.
Look, I love the NFL (Go Giants!). If Schieffer had contained his interview with Goodell to the amazing season the league just finished, whether he thinks Brett Favre is going to retire again (and whether it will stick this time), the NFL's next generation of stars, whether he thought the Colts made a mistake by not going for a perfect season and football immortality, and his prediction as to whether we'd see the triumphant return of the Manning Face before the day was over (answer: yes), the show would have been the perfect start to a great day of football.
But that's not what happened. Instead, Schieffer opened the interview by basically giving Goodell five minutes to spout the NFL owners' talking points about negotiations for their next contract with the NFL Players' Association:
Goodell used that time to play down the NFLPA's concern that the owners will lock them out for the 2011 season (thus making management seem more reasonable) while simultaneously suggesting that the players are receiving too high a percentage of revenues and will need to give some of that up in their next contract, because the owners need to be better recompensed for their investments in new stadiums. According to Goodell, if that happens, "everyone benefits."
Somehow, I don't think NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith would agree with that. Smith might have pointed out that the owners make their own decisions about whether to build massive monuments to their egos, and should suffer if they make poor investments. He could have noted that most NFL players have short careers, high risk of life-altering injury, and can be fired virtually at-will, unlike athletes in the other major American sports.
But Schieffer didn't give equal time to labor and management, he just let management give its side unanswered.