NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell received a private tour of Ford Field Tuesday night from owner Martha Firestone Ford, vice chair Sheila Ford Hamp and team president Rod Wood before participating in a Fan Forum with a Q&A session.
The commissioner spoke on a number of issues ranging from player safety to Detroit's potential bid to host the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft, and his thoughts on Mrs. Ford's ownership and her involvement at the league level.
How strong is Detroit's bid to host the NFL Draft and a Super Bowl?
There's obviously a lot that goes into such a bid, and proposals have yet to be submitted, but Goodell does think Detroit will have a strong bid when it's submitted, and as good a shot as any of the other 24 cities he's expecting to try and bring either event to their city.
If it's any consolation, Wood joked that he promised the commissioner if Detroit won a bid to host the draft, the commissioner wouldn't be booed by Lions fans on draft night.
"I assume that (Detroit's proposal) is using the stadium in some fashion and after seeing what I saw today, I think that's a good thing," he said.
"But I think it's also the way they do it with the fans. Obviously, the people in this area are passionate fans and I think that could be a really big positive for us. But it's also pretty competitive, as I mentioned. We have 24 cities out there looking to host the draft. That's a good thing on one level, but it's also a lot of work to try to make sure we try to get to every one of those cities."
What were Goodell's first impressions of the new Ford Field?
"The thing that struck me so much is how much was put in to create a better fan experience," he said. "Everything that Rod did, with the support of the Fords, was really to try and make that experience better.
"They took areas in the stadium that were really not being utilized and created a unique experience."
Goodell made the point that NFL stadiums only have a 10 chances in the preseason and regular season to give a great home experience to fans, and the facility has a lot to do with that. He made the comment that Detroit should feel a lot of pride with Ford Field, and how it will project on national television.
Is there a level of concern that national anthem protests will become a distraction for the NFL?
This is an area where Goodell really seems to be in support of the players and their right to promote change using the NFL platform.
"I think from our standpoint, what we want to be able to do is be able to support our players being active in their communities and trying to make the change that they think is important in their community and work in the right ways, which they do," he said.
"I think sometimes that it overlooks the great work that a lot of our players are doing. So, we're working to try to make sure that we give them that kind of a platform and use that platform to really effectuate positive change."
What kind of mark has Mrs. Ford made on the commissioner's office since taking control of the team?
Mrs. Ford has been very involved in the day-to-day operations within the organization, but Goodell also spoke to her involvement at the league level.
He told a story about when the league had a meeting on the Los Angeles market in Houston a while back, and Mrs. Ford flew from Detroit to Houston at 4:30 a.m., was involved in meetings through 7 p.m. that night, and then flew back home.
"She was active in the meeting, engaged and participated," he said. "I think she's a great contributor at the league level, but I know her passion is Detroit and I know her passion of getting the best people around her to make the right decisions. It's something everyone here should feel great about that she cares greatly about this community and this organization."
View photos of the Ford Family leading NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on a tour of the New Ford Field.