Skip to content

Roger Goodell: The future of football relies on changing the game

20110127_roger_goodell_ceo1_23 Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is making clear once again that he wants to change the game of football to make it safer.

Goodell said in a speech at the University of North Carolina on Wednesday that he believes the future of football depends on changing the game, and he sees that as one of his primary missions.

“If there’s any single reason for the incredible success of the NFL, it’s because we’ve never allowed ourselves to be complacent about anything,” Goodell said. “There is a national conversation taking place about football. We welcome it. That’s how we approach our jobs every day: Looking at changes to the game not as something to be feared, but as something we need to do as if the future of the game relies on it. Because it does. The risk of injury in football is well known, but throughout history, football has evolved and become safer and better.”

Goodell mentioned the importance of reducing the brain injuries that players suffer on the field, although he also stressed that football is far from the only activity that risks brain injury, and he noted a study that found that NFL players live longer than the American population as a whole.

“In recent years there has become a sharper focus on concussions in football and other sports. Let me make an important point here: Concussions are a global issue. Not just a football issue,” Goodell said. “We can and must do more to make the game safer, and in the process we will make other sports safer as well.”

Goodell said health and safety will continue to be his highest priority. And he’s willing to change the game of football to make it safer.

Permalink 82 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories
82 Responses to “Roger Goodell: The future of football relies on changing the game”
  1. broncobeta says: Mar 6, 2013 12:44 PM

    As much as it sucks, he’s right.

    If it doesn’t change we all will be like our grandfathers talking about how awesome boxing is/was.

  2. wahooskinsfan says: Mar 6, 2013 12:45 PM

    “so let’s play 18 games every season!”

  3. jags2daship says: Mar 6, 2013 12:46 PM

    I’m pretty sure the ginger hammer wont be happy until they are playing two hand touch. I never want to see a player get hurt but you have to understand the risks of playing such a physical game. It’s not if you get hurt but when you get hurt and the only way to solve people getting hurt is to destroy the game we love to watch.

  4. tobiasjodter says: Mar 6, 2013 12:48 PM

    He is changing professional football into flag football.

    You can no more eliminate violence in football than you can eliminate it in boxing or Mixed Martial Arts.

    He is attacking the very essence of American’s most popular game by trying to limit “aggression” when aggression is its core value just like boxing, just like mixed martial arts.

  5. Steeley McBeam says: Mar 6, 2013 12:48 PM

    No, it doesn’t.

  6. jessieboom says: Mar 6, 2013 12:48 PM

    ….to an 18 game season. F yea.

  7. xxwhodatxx says: Mar 6, 2013 12:48 PM

    Someone, ANYONE, stop this man!

  8. pacific123ocean says: Mar 6, 2013 12:51 PM

    I call BS on the study that found NFL players lived longer than the American population as a whole.

    Can anybody provide a link, or reference to this study?

  9. kylexitron says: Mar 6, 2013 12:51 PM

    It’s time for Goodell to go.

    a couple more missteps and ego-laden power plays foiled and he will be removed. Guarantee it. He’s awful for the game.

  10. skiss68 says: Mar 6, 2013 12:51 PM

    How bout if its not broke dont fix it!! You really need to stop the excessive fines u are giving out to the players!! They deserve every penny they get because the next game could be their last! Give them community service or make them visit childrens hospitals but stop taking their money!!!

  11. carmelaanthonysoprano says: Mar 6, 2013 12:51 PM

    What a hypocrite.

  12. patriotinvasion says: Mar 6, 2013 12:51 PM

    Football as it was, with big hits and “jacked up” segments on ESPN made it so popular. All it needed was a little boost from Fantasy and the Internet and it became even bigger.

    Trying to take the contact out of the game will only hurt one of the best aspects of the sport. Concussions are nothing new and the players assume the risk just like a police officer assumes the risk of getting shot when he signs up to be a police officer. Let’s leave well enough alone.

  13. talkingheadsknowall says: Mar 6, 2013 12:52 PM

    Let’s start changing the game by getting rid of Roger Goodell (RG1).

  14. Getoffmylawn! says: Mar 6, 2013 12:52 PM

    Randy Marsh had this figured out a while ago.

  15. jwreck says: Mar 6, 2013 12:54 PM

    broncobeta says: Mar 6, 2013 12:44 PM

    As much as it sucks, he’s right.

    If it doesn’t change we all will be like our grandfathers talking about how awesome boxing is/was.
    _________
    Boxing ended because it doesn’t work well in a television format and attending events live isn’t as exciting or important as it used to be. Chances are if the game is changed we will still be like our grandfathers, talking about how great football was, because it will no longer be the same sport.

  16. nyg201 says: Mar 6, 2013 12:55 PM

    Wants to make the game safer… Total BS! How bout those Thursday games.

  17. drewsylvania says: Mar 6, 2013 12:57 PM

    What about the 25 years of looking the other way on head injuries? I guess that was proactive and not complacent?

  18. glac1 says: Mar 6, 2013 12:58 PM

    Facts are facts…. and like it or not…he’s speaking of facts.

  19. jagsfan1 says: Mar 6, 2013 12:58 PM

    Instead of changing the game – can we just change the Commissioner?

  20. yourignorancespreads says: Mar 6, 2013 1:02 PM

    Get this guy out if office now. I’m sick Everytime I see this guy on some headline. I hate what he is doing and I hope others feel the same because he is changing something that we called our own to something he sees as a money maker compared to what it should be. If you are suppose to teach kids by example then all this fool is doing is allowing kids to think that all thy have to do is get into a position of authority in any company and the rules so that they benefit from the changes. What a shame. It’s a sad time in the NFL right now.

  21. usmutts says: Mar 6, 2013 1:04 PM

    This guy could care less about the health and safety of players except to the extent that it adversely impacts the pocketbooks of his megalomaniacal, narcissistic bosses.

  22. blackandbluedivision says: Mar 6, 2013 1:05 PM

    Exactly, because it did a horrible job lasting this long. It has to change now.

  23. catfanatic1979v1 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:06 PM

    I love Goodell when it comes to player discipline and the financial side of things. However, when it comes to player safety he governs like someones overprotective mom. And if he is so concerned about safety, why not alter the protective gear instead of making all of these rules changes? I’m sure there are some materials out there that would help absorb shock better.

  24. fwippel says: Mar 6, 2013 1:06 PM

    Okay, Roger, you want to make the game safer? Start by getting rid of those idiotic weekly Thursday night games which are held for one purpose: to get the league’s network more exposure.

    Until you do that, no one is going to believe that you are taking safety seriously.

  25. 4thqtrsaint says: Mar 6, 2013 1:07 PM

    The headline should have read “Goodell Tries To Publicly Avoid Litigation”

  26. 52crabcakes says: Mar 6, 2013 1:07 PM

    And he is ruining the game I will probably stop watching before I die! It’s football people.

  27. ramitbaby says: Mar 6, 2013 1:08 PM

    The future of football relies on replacing Roger Goodell. Was the NFL struggling before this egomaniac took the job? Am i missing something? One thing I remember clearly, however, is that it was affordable to attend a game under Tagliabue.

  28. SilentMajority says: Mar 6, 2013 1:08 PM

    Why do I even read the comments? Ok, I’m going to type really slow for the people who need it. If you improve player safety and health you can play an 18 game season…safely. I know, that was a really complicated type of reasoning.

  29. cooklynn17 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:09 PM

    Please get a clue: although I am old school and love seeing fools get pasted and lit up (favorite player was Lawrence Taylor) I understand doing everything possible to make the game safer.

    The issue I and most other fans have is completely changing the game. Do not do that! Like eliminating the kickoff, well because the Jacoby Jones kickoff in the Superbowl wasn’t exciting or anything. And it didn’t effect the outcome of the game or anything, this is what I am talking about.

    At the end of the day, its football. People will yesterday, today and tomorrow always get hurt no matter what we do. Cars are safer and are getting safer every year……..people still get hurt and some die. It is what it is.

    Players get paid a lot of money to take those risks and I would bet you could cut each player’s salary by 50% and they would still play football. Because if they didn’t someone else would.

    Bottom line, make it as safe a possible but don’t change the very essence of the game.

  30. nirvana504 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:09 PM

    The man is a known liar & has zero credibility. His main focus is fighting the concussion lawsuit, not safety.

  31. misterchainbluelightning says: Mar 6, 2013 1:09 PM

    There is no NFL if parents keep refusing to let their kids PLAY FOOTBALL as kids.

    Which is happening.

    The NFL is DEAD in 25 years on it’s current course, Billionaires invested in the game knows this, but your average fan (buffoon) doesn’t.

    But they sure do have their silly opinions on the matter.

  32. finer9erfan says: Mar 6, 2013 1:15 PM

    I hate what he says. “We have to change the game”. No we don’t need to change it, we need to EVOLVE it. Are there things that can be evolved that limit the risk of players on the field. Absolutely! The equipment can be modified, educating players on ways of taking/making hits, etc. However, when you say CHANGE, you mean to modify a game in a way that challenges the integrity of the sport.

    No sir. I don’t want YOUR NFL.

  33. csilojohnson says: Mar 6, 2013 1:15 PM

    Thanks for the reassurance you will continue to ruin this league. Just think in two years time it will be arena football with a sideline.
    I just wish he would pull the bandaid off quick. Put flags on them next year and be done with it.
    Or just do a punt pass and kick competition. You could have the defense count 10 mississippi before they rush.

  34. romosmicrodongs says: Mar 6, 2013 1:16 PM

    he’s about to ban the zone blocking scheme and low blocks

  35. benroethlisberger7 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:16 PM

    Remember the game that we all have grown to love because soon all we’ll have are those memories. Greed ruins everything.

  36. InFact says: Mar 6, 2013 1:17 PM

    Goodell’s comments will be mined by lawyers in the future who hope to keep lawsuit payouts to a minimum after he convinces owners that 18 games will make them billions more.

    When is a brave reporter going to ask Goodell about his schizophrenic agenda of making football safer while advocating an 18 game schedule occur?

  37. vertskate900 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:18 PM

    What he doesn’t get is that if he keeps up what he’s doing there may be “football” in the future, but it will be a watered down version which no one will care to watch anyway thus ending football.

    Oh and can someone tell me how when a defender leads with his shoulder on a hit and then gets mistakenly called for a helmet to helmet hit with a 15 yard penalty…how that makes the game “safer?” That’s the kind of crap that Goodell is implementing.

  38. steeelfann says: Mar 6, 2013 1:18 PM

    The future of the game, as well as the United States, is getting us out from the suppression of tort law.
    Until we get all of the lawyers out of the senate, we will continue to nose dive. And that is the truth.

  39. marvsleezy says: Mar 6, 2013 1:19 PM

    He is turning this league into flag football!

    Except for that one time, when that really big guy hit that other guy right in the head, and the guy went down hard and didnt get up too quickly.

    But besides that one time, the NFL is now like flag football!!

  40. jjthesportsguy says: Mar 6, 2013 1:19 PM

    Every man who has ever strapped a helmet on has seen and is aware of what may happen to themself by playing football.

    Goodell would make a good mom. “I hope you guys don’t get hurt.” What he doesn’t make is a very good businessman. There is no reason to change the most popular event in the United States.

  41. braven4evr says: Mar 6, 2013 1:20 PM

    Yeah Roger, keep changing the game. Why not make it two hand touch?

  42. titansfan1950 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:20 PM

    Of course NFL players live longer than the average population. You have to be three years removed from high school to play. That means no adolescent deaths are included in the players’ average lifespan. Apples vs. Oranges.

  43. ken0west says: Mar 6, 2013 1:22 PM

    Is the NFL even a top 10 “dangerous” job? I just don’t see how player safety is an issue in the NFL/NCAA. If the NFL wants to support youth safety that is fine, but the men who play the game in college and the NFL know the risks and can make their own choices.

  44. coltzfan166 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:23 PM

    Ha it’s kinda entertaining to watch you idiots comment about how you hate Roger Goodell. Just carry on as if you know everything :)

  45. sterling7 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:23 PM

    The way it was played in the 60’s and 70’s would be just fine with me.

  46. eaglesooneru2 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:24 PM

    I call BS on the study that found NFL players lived longer than the American population as a whole.
    —————————————————
    It doesn’t surprise me that retired players live longer on avg. most may have bad knees , etc but they tend to have more money plus a degree and opportunities for a career after football that makes living a little less hard. Of course there are broke retirees too so I’m not broad brushing but retired nfl players probably have more savings and access to better health care than the average joe

  47. sadskinsfan89 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:25 PM

    The dudes lost it. Please leave the game alone.

  48. furryarcher says: Mar 6, 2013 1:25 PM

    to those who keep referencing the 18 game season as a point of Roger Goodell’s hypocrisy: he wants to make the game *inherently* safer so that it won’t matter whether there are 16, 18, or 14.2 games in a season.
    and to those who point out that football is an inherently violent game: if football can’t be changed in a way that removes the “inherent” risk of brain damage and other serious life-changing health issues, then it will not survive in a modern society, and the people whose main draw to football is the violence will have to search for another profitable and socially acceptable business that frequently stages violent human-on-human collisions and often leaves the participants injured or disabled.

  49. zar21 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:26 PM

    The future of football relies on changing the commissioner

  50. willyalistentothis says: Mar 6, 2013 1:31 PM

    1. End talk of the 18 game season. It’s hard to take the NFL serious on the safety issue until this issue is dropped for good.

    2. Permit more contact in the secondary. The five yard rule has drastically increased the speed of play in the and has helped produced some of the most violent plays in football. I am shocked that nobody talks about this low hanging fruit. I think it is a case where the $s outweight the safety issue.

  51. guitarmaninks says: Mar 6, 2013 1:50 PM

    No boxing ended because the best heavy weight athletes now play safety or linebacker in the NFL.

  52. skinsfan596 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:50 PM

    Right, he wants to change the game by making it safer, but isnt going to crack down and start enforcing hgh testing and testing for other ped’s. Instead hes gonna suspend guys for taking adderoll. WHAT A JOKE… Goodell needs to go before he ruins the game

  53. boobschannel says: Mar 6, 2013 1:57 PM

    he meant to say the future of his and the owners bottom line – ie: profit margins – relies on changing the game intto the lingerie league

  54. FinFan68 says: Mar 6, 2013 1:59 PM

    He’s wrong. Changing the game as he envisions will lead to the demise of NFL football. Rather than trying to eliminate the violence and aggression via vague and subjectively enforced rules, maybe he should work on eliminating the ability for suing the league. Liability waivers.

  55. sb44champs says: Mar 6, 2013 2:01 PM

    misterchainbluelightning says:
    Mar 6, 2013 1:09 PM
    There is no NFL if parents keep refusing to let their kids PLAY FOOTBALL as kids.

    Which is happening.

    The NFL is DEAD in 25 years on it’s current course, Billionaires invested in the game knows this, but your average fan (buffoon) doesn’t.

    But they sure do have their silly opinions on the matter.
    =============================
    Man, took the bait hook, line and sinker lol

  56. jdvalk says: Mar 6, 2013 2:08 PM

    Two more regular season games and international travel will make the game much safer, right?

  57. thebrownswillalwaysloose says: Mar 6, 2013 2:08 PM

    Extra games, Thursday games, Goodell is such a hypocrite! I get player safety but like boxing, MMA and many other sports the game comes with inherent risk’s involved. The players know this but many of them also know it’s their only chance at any kind of a life. Particularly those who supposedly hold a college degree but can’t string three words together properly. Find ways to make it safe, ie: better helmuts, protection without turning the game into a two hand touch – candy cane league.

  58. cowboyhater says: Mar 6, 2013 2:13 PM

    To avoid injured players from going back out to the field too early, you allow teams to increase their roster size to have legitimate back ups to the starters, and increase their salary caps to allow for the additional players. Bottom line… teams force their star players to come back too early because there is not enough roster spots to have nfl starting caliber backups at each position.

  59. jeffa43 says: Mar 6, 2013 2:28 PM

    The future of Football relies on a change in commissioner.

  60. wludford says: Mar 6, 2013 2:30 PM

    The best way to make football safer is to return it to a more balanced game between run and pass. I’ve been watching NFL football for nearly 40 years and I haven’t noticed any decline in injuries- including serious injuries- as a result of rule changes.

    The truth is, the rule changes result in more passing plays, which is when more injuries- including serious injuries- occur. The nature of passing plays expose just about every position to greater risk of injury- from QB to CB to WR to linemen.

    If you take away the rule changes that make passing more favorable, there will be more balance between run and pass- as there used to be- with fewer injuries.

    And fewer ticky-tack penalties, flag-football games, jump-ball/fail-mary endings, and greater team vs. QB-centric play too. All of which is good for the game.

  61. Patriot42 says: Mar 6, 2013 2:32 PM

    As the government becomes more involved in every aspect of our lives it would not surprise me for football to be investigated by a committee and regulated to make it safer and Lord knows what it would become. We need to take back our rights to do what we want without the bleeding hearts telling us how we should live. If I want to jump out of a airplane without a parachute it should be my right.

  62. nflgiant says: Mar 6, 2013 2:40 PM

    The NFL needs to go back to a 14 game season with 2 bye weeks for teams.

  63. pghdc says: Mar 6, 2013 2:41 PM

    Phase in a weight limit! Reducing the weight of the players is the most logical way to reduce injury and improve the health of the players, during and after football.

    Take careful notice that the NFL never says it wants to improve the health of the players. Instead, they always use the word “safety”. You can bet this is on purpose. If the NFL is truly concerned for the players, they would not encourage them to live such dangerously unhealthy lives.

    Phase in a weight limit! Think of the thousands of young men who live their entire youth as obese men. Only a select few will ever play in the NFL. These boys are handicapped for life. The NFL leaves behind it a long trail of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc…

    Football should be a game of strategy, strength, and athleticism.

  64. buffalobill85 says: Mar 6, 2013 2:43 PM

    it has nothing to do with long term safety, and brain injuries. it’s all about the short term. when a league who plays once a week in the national spotlight, it will do anything to avoid injuries to superstars. the league must have damn near had a heart attack when Brady went down in 08. Howard Rozelle does not care about long term trauma, only revenue. and to maximize both short term and long term profits, they’ll need to minimize injuries.

  65. ilovefoolsball says: Mar 6, 2013 2:44 PM

    We should call him Doughboy because all he wants is to make the owners some dough.

  66. tbtrojan says: Mar 6, 2013 3:07 PM

    If he keeps up the changes to the point he’s happy then going to an NFL game will resemble going to see Lynyrd Skynyrd tour in 2013 at $100 a ticket.
    The name is the same and there’s that 1 guy who might have been there all along but you don’t recognize anything else & you feel ripped off when it’s over.

  67. toonloonboon says: Mar 6, 2013 3:18 PM

    “If there’s any single reason for the incredible success of the NFL, it’s because we’ve never allowed ourselves to be complacent about anything,”

    This is a dumb, hollow stmt, typical of what business people in suits would say. So with this logic, my game of beer ping pong might becomse more successful because I run the league like a tyrant.

    Stupid.

    Hey dummy, why don’t you say the truth. The success of the NFL isnt about esoteric things. But about high energy action that appeals to the largest common denominator and the fact that its easy to gamble on. Dummy.

  68. westclaims says: Mar 6, 2013 3:19 PM

    Do you see the irony here? Attorneys screw up the game (concussion lawsuits etc), and then it’s left to attorneys like this guy to fix it. A bit of karma there as well.

  69. jr507 says: Mar 6, 2013 3:22 PM

    This man “cares” so much to protect multi-millionaires, yet has no problem with us working stiffs spending $5k on PSLs, $3k/annum on tickets, not to mention paying unconscienable prices at the concessions stand.

    Forgive me if I don’t lose sleep for the poor modern athlete when your average head-of-household would gladly chop years off his life in exchange for their millions of dollars which would allowing one to meet any of his family’s needs (like increasing cost of living, education, etc).

  70. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 6, 2013 3:33 PM

    This is the sad and pathetic result of allowing attorneys to take over every aspect of our lives.

    So clumsy or stupid as to spill hot coffee on yourself ? Obviously the seller’s fault and they should owe you a couple million.

    Play a game where concussions are common and you know full well what the dangers are ? Oops no such thing as informed consent, lets just all sue the league because we’re too stupid to manage the millions we’ve been paid so that we have money after football.

  71. melikefootball says: Mar 6, 2013 3:39 PM

    All the power to players but the money is out of bounds and is now starting to show. Look at the players redoing contracts which will catch up to teams. Look what is cost to attend a game pushing many out of the stadiums. your team could change drastically each year the way the money is flying around. i understand the making of money but where does the line get drawn.

  72. nolagirl says: Mar 6, 2013 3:40 PM

    Can someone please give this guy a Deacon Jones’ headslap, y’know… just for old times sake.

  73. mogogo1 says: Mar 6, 2013 3:46 PM

    One day Goodell will be viewed as the man who destroyed pro football. To save the game, he has decided they must destroy the game. And it has nothing to do with player safety, but everything to do with protecting the NFL from litigation.

  74. azarkhan says: Mar 6, 2013 3:52 PM

    Yes, let’s make pro football more like pro wrestling. Let’s see what kind of audience you have then, Roger.

  75. sfn155 says: Mar 6, 2013 4:19 PM

    Did his “study” count the millions of people who die or get life shortening illnesses before they would even be old enough to be eligible for the NFL?

  76. szwhtsup123 says: Mar 6, 2013 4:20 PM

    Women’s golf anyone?

  77. treesloth16 says: Mar 6, 2013 4:33 PM

    ‘The future of my $30mill job and legacy relies on making football as profitable as possible. We propose 18game schedules, 4 games within 20 days, competition with international teams 16hr flights away, and making scoring proliferative.’

    How is safety involved here? Goodell’s ridiculous.

  78. mjkelly77 says: Mar 6, 2013 5:00 PM

    Short-term thinking imbeciles. You’d rather see the league fold under pressure from billion dollar litigation. A decade from now you’ll all be saying how you agreed with the strategic forward thinking of Commissioner Goodell, the man who saved the NFL. Idiots.

  79. FinFan68 says: Mar 6, 2013 8:24 PM

    To avoid injured players from going back out to the field too early, you allow teams to increase their roster size to have legitimate back ups to the starters, and increase their salary caps to allow for the additional players.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The NFL is not against an increase in roster size. The union is. The teams have X to spend on players per year via the salary cap. Whether they spend that money on 53 players or 63 players makes no difference to the teams. An increase in roster size would mean less money is available per player (fewer big contracts) so the union would not go along with it.

  80. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 6, 2013 10:53 PM

    Goodell the self proffesed savior of the modern NFL? Give me a break.

  81. sechristbmw says: Mar 6, 2013 11:50 PM

    Money is all this man cares about.

    $31 million in pay last season. That’s what this is about. Save the NFL from lawsuits behind the safety guise.

    Sure take away kick offs, take away punt returns, take out the three point stance- that’s what the fans want…

    Change the fabric of the game and make it Goodell ball.

  82. chi01town says: Mar 7, 2013 7:48 AM

    The NFL has been here for almost
    100 years before Goodell and his safety bull sh#t. He is the one that
    opened the door for all these X players to say ( I bumped my head )
    Now they want money that they didnt earn. I for one will not pay to see the players play catch. IF the NFL dont get rid of Goodell then Goodell will get rid of the NFL

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!