New Orleans — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave his annual “State of the NFL” address in a news conference at the Super Bowl Friday.
In the address, the commissioner continued to stress the need for advancements in player safety, officiating and fan engagement.
He even mentioned Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in his opening statements when talking about how terrific the 2012 season was – with one more game to go.
Goodell held a Q&A with the media for 45 minutes after his opening remarks.
Here are some highlights:
- He expressed his disappointment with the fact that there were no minority hires among the 15 new head coaches and general managers this offseason.
He said it was “not acceptable.”
“The Rooney Rule has been very effective,” he continued. “We have to look to see what the next generation is. We have to take it to another level.”
- The commissioner said both the NFL and the NFL Players Association are on the same page in terms of implementing HGH testing and said he expects to have a process for that testing before the 2013 season.
- Goodell asserted that he does not intend to relinquish any authority for handling off-the-field discipline, though the NFLPA has asked for an independent arbitrator in the appeal process.
“That is not something we’re going to relent on,” he said. “That is the Commissioner’s role. You can hold me accountable.”
- On fines and suspensions for illegal hits:
“We’re going to have to see discipline escalate. When you’re involved in dangerous techniques, we’re going to have to take them off the field. Suspension gets through to them.”
- With the topic of player safety, concussions and an escalation of fines is a big item in the NFL right now, Goodell said the league needs to get back to the “fundamentals of tackling.”
“We need to take the head out of the game,” he said.
- The NFL said in a press conference Thursday that it agrees with the union that an independent concussion specialist should be on every sideline. The commissioner made that declaration publicly Friday and that appears to be in the cards for the 2013 season.
- He also addressed the Super Bowl in New York next year, which will mark the first time the leagues biggest game will be played in a cold-weather stadium.
“Obviously, the game next year is going to have an impact on cold-weather, open-air.”
- Goodell also said that he stands by the decision to take the New Orleans Saints second-round pick — and all other decisions related to the New Orleans bounty case.
“The reason we’re not returning any of the draft choices or reversing any of the discipline is because it occurred,” he said.
- In a lighter note, he talked about the reception he’s gotten in New Orleans this week in lieu of the above-mentioned bounty scandal and his harsh discipline of the Saints organization.
“I couldn’t feel more welcomed here,” he said. “I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade. We have a voodoo doll. The last couple of nights, I’ve been out with a lot of the people I worked with after the Katrina tragedy and we all reflected on how well we worked together.
“I understand the fans’ loyalty is to the team. They had no part in this. They were completely innocent. I support their passion.”
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 4 Comments »