Goodell talks weather, concussions at yearly address
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - With no snow in the forecast for the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl, the NFL provided a few flakes during commissioner Roger Goodell's annual state of the league address on Friday.
"All the talk has been about the weather. Of course, we cannot control the weather," Goodell quipped with fake snow falling on him during his opening comments Friday at the Rose Theater.
The scene drew more than a few laughs from the assembled media and the 40- minute session featured questions about future cold weather Super Bowl sites, the delayed concussion settlement with former players, potential playoff expansion and the possibility of a centralized replay system.
"This is a great stage for this Super Bowl matchup and the world will be watching," Goodell added about Sunday's contest between Denver and Seattle across the Hudson River in East Rutherford.
"We are doing something innovative and unprecedented," Goodell noted about playing the world's biggest game outdoors in a cold-weather city. "The forecast is terrific. It's football ready and to confirm we will kick off at 6:30 (p.m. ET)."
Goodell said the interest for hosting the Super Bowl in other cold-weather cities has increased and that the success of this year's game will enable the league's ownership to review it further.
"We know there's interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl," he noted. "We'll review that when we're done (here). There's such a demand for Super Bowls right now. We see the opportunity to continue to expand our game, come into new markets and we find that valuable to the league. I believe we need to get to as many communities as possible. It helps grow our game."
The league's proposed $765 million concussion settlement has been delayed by federal judge Anita B. Brody, but Goodell is confident that it will not become a problem.
"She is taking her time, making sure the settlement ... is going to work the way we intend it to work," Goodell said. "The No. 1 thing is to get the money in place to help the players and their families."
As for changes to the postseason, Goodell said owners are considering adding one team to each conference.
"There are lot of benefits to doing that. We think we can make it more competitive. It will make for more meaningful games later in the season. That's something that attracts us. This will continue to get very serious consideration by the competition committee and then the membership will have to vote on it."
Another issue the owners will consider in the offseason is the idea of a centralized video review system. Some part of the replay process could take place at league headquarters, similar to the way the NHL system works, but the final decision would likely still be made by field officials.
"We created the replay system back in the early '90s for professional sports," Goodell remarked. "We're not afraid to learn from others. We have replay that probably deals with more plays than the NHL, so any system the NFL uses is going to be unique to the NFL."
Once again, the sensitive issue of the Washington Redskins' name was brought up and Goodell continued to stress that the league has had conversations with Native American leaders and no changes appear imminent.
"I've been spending the last year talking to leaders of the Native American communities. This is the name of football team, a football team that has had the name for 80 years and has represented the name in a way that honors Native Americans.
"We recognize that there are some who don't agree with the name. In a native American community poll, nine out of 10 supported the name."
Goodell also spoke about the potential of more international games and the likelihood of a franchise in London.
"I believe the response to the third game in the UK is just another indication that the more we give UK fans football, the more they want. What our next step is (in ownership) I don't know. We believe we will continue to grow there."
The situation involving the Miami Dolphins and the alleged bullying scandal was asked of the commissioner, who said the league's top priority is to "have a workplace that's professional."
Goodell was happy with the league's reduction in concussion-related injuries in the past year and said the league is working on ways to make the in-stadium game experience more satisfying than at home with the advent of technology.
01/31 13:19:54 ET