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.