Friday, February 02, 2007

Roger Goodell: State of the NFL Highlights [J. Mark English]

Saying "one incident is too many," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to stay out of trouble and will meet with them to figure out how to do that.

Though the league's black eye this season was the main topic of Goodell's first Super Bowl news conference, he also talked about concussions, insisting a player's health takes precedence over football issues.

Referring to a spate of player arrests and the shooting death of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, Goodell said, "We have to do something about it, it's a mutually important issue."...

....In the past few months, nine Cincinnati Bengals players have been arrested. One player in Sunday's Super Bowl, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson, still faces weapons-related charges and needed permission from an Illinois judge just to travel to the title game against the Indianapolis Colts....

....San Diego linebacker Shawn Merriman made the All-Pro team, will play in the Pro Bowl and was considered a front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year despite sitting out four games for violating the substance policy. Several players, including Miami's Jason Taylor, who was voted the top defensive player, criticized Merriman receiving such honors....

On other issues, Goodell:

• Expressed confidence that the league and union will continue to have labor peace; the collective bargaining agreement runs through 2010. Owners have an option of voiding the CBA in 2008 to possibly restructure the way they and the union do business in the salary-cap era.

• Said the league is conducting its own investigation of urine or blood testing for human growth hormone.

• addressed complaints from retired players about their pensions, saying "we're very concerned to see one of our former players who made this game great have medical issues. We have to sit down and be creative. We need to address that directly with them."

• Reiterated the league's opposition to gambling and "keeping a strong line between the NFL and sports betting. I don't think it is in the best interest of the NFL to have any association with sports betting."

Comments -

I commend Goodell for being open about the "black-eye" of the league. The league is lucky to so far not being suffering the drawbacks for being considered a "thug" league. The NBA has that title right now, but it could quickly consume the NFL.

I wish he had addressed the Union and its relationship to the NFL alumni on a more comprehensive level. When you have Hall of Famers dismissing the NFLPA for its greed and lack of support among the players that made the NFL what it is today...this issue must be addressed, and not ignored.

Otherwise, the league is in great shape. Its hard to imagine a better Super Bowl match-up then one that features the number one offense versus the number one defense. The ratings were through the roof for the championship games, and no reason to believe that the Super Bowl will not carry the same moxy.

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