Relaxed Goodell back in control and charting new course

Sat Feb 6, 2016 9:00am EST
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By Steve Keating

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A much more relaxed Roger Goodell delivered his Super Bowl state-of-the-league address on Friday than the under-fire NFL commissioner who last year was left to defend his job performance following string of scandals.

A year ago, as the NFL lurched from crisis-to-crisis, there was open speculation whether Goodell was still the man to lead the league following a timid response to domestic violence cases involving players.

Back then, the league was wrestling with a concussion crisis while a relocation debate raged and the Super Bowl was about to be played under a cloud as the NFL conducted an investigation into the use of under-inflated footballs by New England in a win over the Indianapolis Colts that secured the Patriots a spot in the championship game.

But on Friday, having weathered the storm, Goodell was still in charge and charting the NFL course which will, among other things, have the league return to Mexico City for the first time since 2005 for the first Monday Night Game played outside the United States, featuring the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans.

Goodell said the health of players was a top priority.

The National Football League last week said there were 182 reported concussions this past season, a rise of 58 percent over 2014 after two seasons of declining incidents.

Despite the alarming statistics and mounting evidence, Goodell said that if he had a son, he would love him to play football.

"There’s risks in life. There’s risks to sitting on the couch," explained Goodell.   Continued...

Feb 5, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a press conference at Moscone Center in advance of Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports