NFL commissioner Roger Goodell annually addresses reporters on the state of the league in advance of the Super Bowl. However, before he addressed the assembled media, Goodell took time to engage fans via the online community site Reddit, answering a variety of questions ranging from celebrations to Frank Gore’s socks.
Not surprisingly, player health and safety was a frequent topic from fans. Goodell repeatedly stressed the NFL’s commitment to trying to balance the entertainment aspects of the sport with the league’s desire to create a safer working environment for the players.
Since the NFL’s inception, we have always made rule changes to balance safety with making the game more exciting. We have proven over the years that we can make the game more popular and better while increasing safety for our players. We will continue to move down that path. The game has prospered since removing the head slap, the crackback block, flying wedge and horsecollar tackles. This past season, 20 of 32 teams started the same quarterback in every game–the highest ever. That’s good for fans as well as the safety of our players.
Among the other health and safety topics that were a part of the discussion, Goodell addressed the league’s desire to evaluate low blocks against defenders. The commissioner also discussed the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal and the NFL’s work to remove bounties from the game. Incidentally, Goodell said the Saints would not regain the 2013 second-round draft pick the team lost as part of its punishment.