It has been a rocky year for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to say the least and with the Super Bowl in town, Deflate gate, officiating issues, sexual assault punishments at the forefront, all eyes around the nation were focused in on his State of the the League address which occurred at the Phoenix Convention Center on Friday. He talked about many topics while also mentioned that this year was “a year of humility, learning and soul searching.”
Here are five things we learned.
Deflate gate: For the first time since the deflated football saga began with the New England Patriots, Goodell spoke on the issue and took questions. He stated that multiple times that his job is to protect the integrity of the game. That answer was used in how he handles punishment, deals with questions of conflict of interest because of he and Patriots owner Robert Craft’s relationship, and what the league plans to do going forward as a result of the investigation. People said that Goodell hid behind the league’s need to hire more professionals and educate themselves better pertaining the sexual assault case regarding Ray Rice. On Friday, I believe he hid behind the fact that he does not want to interfere with the investigation at hand regarding the footballs. But maintained that the NFL is a “League of rules and they will be enforced if there is a violation.”
Lynch gate: People are making a big deal about Marshawn Lynch’s antics with the media which has gone on a lot longer than just Super Bowl week. I personally think it is a joke and the more we give this attention hungry person this much attention, the more he continues to have a leg up. And don’t tell me this is about him being shy and not wanting the attention. If he carried himself like Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald or Barry Sanders, true professionals, maybe I would believe he didn’t want attention when being forced to talk to the media. But his continuous antics to which he knows he will be fined, doesn’t make me a believer.
Goodell was asked about Lynch and I thought he gave a great answer. He mentioned that there is an obligation to the fans and for all people, including you and I, there are aspects of our jobs that we may not necessarily like, but have to do. He stated that having the privilege to play football at this level comes with this obligation and he believes the Lynch knows this. As for whether or not he will be fined for his antics and not wearing a league approved hat, that remains to be seen.
More Suspense: Goodell basically said without saying that extra points in the game of football have become boring and pointless. The way he put it, they are “experimenting with the extra point being a more competitive play and has now become almost automatic.” People who love football, fear change. I for one would like to see something happen in this realm but I worry that the change could be too drastic. Amongst all the scandal and off the field drama, I would admit that this was one of the things that intrigued me the most during the entire press conference along with the look into expanding the playoffs without “diluting the regular season and conflicting with college football in January.” I am very curious to see what they come up with.
Going with the trend: Being a father of two young kids who currently have no interest in watching football over Mickey Mouse and in an effort to avoid meltdowns, I more often than not, give up my television on Sundays. There are many others out there like me and also others out there that use their phones or tablets to tune into their television programming. Goodell mentioned Friday that the league along with their broadcast partners are “aggressively looking at streaming regular season games.” He added that this would be an opportunity to appeal to their younger audience as well as getting into homes that don’t have regular television service. There are many that have grown accustom to doing this with the college platform and I think it would be a great move by the NFL to get with the times and do the same.
More Arizona Super Bowls: “Arizona earned it,” Goodell said when asked about why the big game has returned to the valley. “The proof is in the pudding and they have done an outstanding job this week. We have more work to do but we could not be happier with the hospitality.” He did not go onto say when the game would once again return after this year but based on how things went in 2008 and now in 2014, it will happen again. “This community has wrapped their hands around every opportunity and have made the Super Bowl bigger and better for our fans and for the NFL overall. So we are thrilled to he here and look forward to coming back.”