NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave his annual Super Bowl address in Tampa on Friday, where among other things, he got a chance to praise outgoing Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga. Huizenga completed his $1.1 billion sale of the Dolphins and Dolphin Stadium to New York real estate developer Stephen M. Ross last week.
Huizenga first invested in the Dolphins and the stadium in 1990 and became majority owner in 1994. He is maintaining a 5 percent stake in the team and stadium.
“Wayne has been a terrific owner for the NFL, the Miami Dolphins and that community, not only in football but in multiple sports,” Goodell said acknowledging Huizenga’s previous tenures as owner of the Marlins and Panthers. “I think he's had a huge impact in the Miami area. He’s had a great impact on me personally as well. He's one of those smart guys who knows how to get to the bottom of a problem pretty quick. He’s not afraid to give you his opinion, and he's done that from time to time with me. I think that’s helpful. I think the ownership will miss him at that level.”
Goodell had praise for Ross, too: “On the other hand, in typical fashion, [Huizenga’s] left the franchise in good hands. Steve Ross is a terrific man. He’s a very successful businessman and he’s spent the last year or so learning the business from Wayne. He has good people who he has surrounded himself with and I think that’s the key to everything – surround yourself with good people and put them in a position where they can make the decisions and ultimately, you’ll have a successful franchise.”
Goodell was also asked about the Pro Bowl being moved from Hawaii, where it’s been held since 1980, to South Florida a week before the Super Bowl XLIV next year. Goodell said he expects the game to be on something of a rotation, which will include Hawaii again in the future.
“What we thought, though, would be a very interesting alternative would be to play the game as part of the lead up to the Super Bowl. So we’ll be playing it on Sunday night in Miami in advance of the Super Bowl. That will bring more interest, clearly. It will bring more exposure for our great players, and we think be a positive,” Goodell said.