On a conference call with Giants season-ticket holders on Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell said he expects to start the 2011 season as scheduled.
"We're planning — and you saw that when we released the schedule yesterday — to start the season on time," Goodell said. "We're planning on playing a full season. And we're going to negotiate as hard as we can to get that done."
There were 5,500 Giants ticket holders on the line with Goodell, who also has held conference calls with fans of the Browns, Dolphins and Chargers. He has a conference call later on Wednesday with the 49ers.
The 2011 NFL schedule was released on Tuesday night, and Goodell also discussed the proposal of increasing the regular season to 18 games.
"It has actually been brought up mostly in the context of the restructured season of 18-and-2," Goodell said. "If you started the season roughly when we do, which is the week after Labor Day, and you run that out for 18 regular-season games and the playoffs at the same length, you would end up on President's weekend. We think that is of interest."
Owners have said that the 18-game season would only occur if the players agree to it, and the next two seasons will be 16 games.
Goodell was in mediation with owners and players in Minneapolis on Wednesday. Talks adjourned until May 16.
A fan asked Goodell if he can be more assertive in the current negotiations.
"I understand your frustration and I share your frustration," Goodell said. "We went through 17 straight days of mediation back from February into early March and at that point in time the players pushed away and pursued this litigation strategy. I'm a firm believer that this will not get resolved through litigation it will get solved through negotiations. That fact that we are here negotiating is a positive thing, but there has to be a commitment by everyone to get a deal."
District Judge Susan Nelson is expected to rule this week on the players' request for an injunction to end the current NFL lockout.