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Goodell’s goal is simple: Take the head out of the game

Roger Goodell AP

The effort to make football safer includes proper management of the most significant and distinctive piece of safety equipment that game uses.The helmet, which was designed to protect the human skull, has become perhaps the greatest threat to its contents in recent years.  Commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to change that.

Goodell’s efforts have resulted in the Neurosurgical Society of America’s “Medal For Outstanding Service,” a fitting prize for a man many current players believe has become Wreck-It Roger.  But Goodell never wavers.  And he won’t be wavering when it comes to efforts to make the game as safe as possible for the brains of those who play it, at every level.

“We want to take the head out of the game,” Goodell said upon receiving the award, via NFL spokesman Greg Aiello’s Twitter page.  “The helmet is for protection.  It is not a weapon.”

It has been a weapon for decades, and Goodell has been struggling to change a culture that all football players willingness accept, despite the risks.  His objective suggests that more rule changes are coming.  Indeed, to truly take the head out of the game, John Madden’s suggested abandonment of the three-point stance becomes inevitable.

That’s the kind of change that would fundamentally alter the game and, more importantly, the way it looks when piped through our HDTVs.  As a result, it’s a long shot that the three-point stance will ever go the way of the flying wedge.

Still, look for Goodell to push for any and all rules changes that can make the game incrementally safer without making it look any different to the ever-growing throng of football fans, both zealous and casual.

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84 Responses to “Goodell’s goal is simple: Take the head out of the game”
  1. steelerchicken says: Apr 8, 2013 2:05 PM

    Make it flag football and we all still watch

  2. chawk12thman says: Apr 8, 2013 2:06 PM

    Good Goal; impractical in reality?

  3. daltex says: Apr 8, 2013 2:07 PM

    Goodell’s goal is simple: Use safety measures to reduce NFL liability AND make the game more offensive and “exciting.”

    That’s the bottom line. All this safety garbage is just that. Ask yourself why RBs can still jerk a facemask during a stiffarm. Ask yourself why peelback blocks are just now illegal. Ask yourself why the rules have protected the bodily integrity of offensive players but are still inadequate to protect the defensive players from the VERY SAME injuries. Goodell is about as transparent as cellophane if you ask me. He wants bball on grass.

  4. steelerben says: Apr 8, 2013 2:08 PM

    For Godell the fan’s message is simple, “Take your head out of your a$$”.

  5. thetroofishere says: Apr 8, 2013 2:08 PM

    Didn’t that defensive coach of the Saints mention the same thing about Frank Gore’s head?

  6. bonato55 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:08 PM

    I hate you Goodell your ruining football which is one of my favorite things in life… Your the worst human being of all time…

  7. bornking24 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:09 PM

    May as well take out all the pads and just add the flags.. Simple rule of pee wee football… Lower your head and lean forward on contact so you fall forward so they don’t target your legs.

  8. lightcleric says: Apr 8, 2013 2:09 PM

    And the end result will be player’s knees being taken out, too.

  9. fanofevilempire says: Apr 8, 2013 2:09 PM

    Goodell should take his head out of his a-s-s.

  10. mavajo says: Apr 8, 2013 2:09 PM

    Didn’t Goodell suspend Greg Williams for trying to do the same thing?

  11. boltfansmith says: Apr 8, 2013 2:09 PM

    Take helmets off! Then no one will lead with head.

  12. mavajo says: Apr 8, 2013 2:11 PM

    “Use safety measures to reduce NFL liability”

    ———–

    Um, duh? That’s called doing business. You think any business actually cares about their employees’ or customers’ health?

  13. xxwhodatxx says: Apr 8, 2013 2:12 PM

    I don’t know about the head,but someone definitely removed Goodells brain.

  14. maddenisfordorks says: Apr 8, 2013 2:12 PM

    “Eliminate the head!”

    -Gregg Williams

  15. kenstabler says: Apr 8, 2013 2:14 PM

    Take your nose out of the game.

  16. Getoffmylawn! says: Apr 8, 2013 2:15 PM

    But I keep hearing coaches telling players to “Get your head in the game.” Which one is it?

  17. mikemitchy says: Apr 8, 2013 2:16 PM

    Goodell’s goal is a worthy one. Fans will not tolerate seeing Andrew Luck and Tom Brady staggering around in their mid-40s without being able to tell you the team they played for without pausing for a minute to search through their rotting brain.

    It’s not just about lawsuits — it’s about when the brain damage rate and awareness reaches a moral threshold that is considered disqualifying to enough fans that they can’t watch in good faith.

  18. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 8, 2013 2:17 PM

    These guys are phony and when the revenue drops for the NFL because fans aren’t interested in watching a version of the game that resembles flag football, they will stop worrying about safety.

    It’s about safety now but it won’t be when the fans decide to watch something else.

  19. mikemitchy says: Apr 8, 2013 2:20 PM

    Mavajo – Hard to tell if you’re bothered that businesses don’t actually care about their employees (or people in general), or are celebrating it as part of the spirit of capitalism.

  20. west4420 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:21 PM

    You can’t accurately police these new rules. Look at the disaster that is the “defenseless recevier” call. The refs are instructed to throw a flag if a hit SOUNDS bad. Why isn’t there a 5 second quick review to see if it actually was a head shot.

    I watched 16 Bear games and dozens of others last year and it was called incorrectly in every single game along with the misinterpretation of what a horsecollar actually is.

  21. frankg2469 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:21 PM

    Just eliminate or greatly reduce the size of the facemasks.Helmets have slowly evolved into weapons as the facemasks have gone from non-existent,to single bar,then double,all the way to the insane waffle-style fancied by(initially)members of the New York Giants defensive line.It would eliminate trying to take knees out as well.A smashed beak or a knee to the chops at full speed will serve as natural deterrents!!!!

  22. daltex says: Apr 8, 2013 2:22 PM

    “It’s not just about lawsuits — it’s about when the brain damage rate and awareness reaches a moral threshold that is considered disqualifying to enough fans that they can’t watch in good faith.”

    Considering that players consistently join ranks of the NFL while enjoying our CURRENT knowledge on concussions (that is, they assume the risk), and considering the amount of money that even the lowest paid footballers get (several hundred thousand a year), I have no moral qualms about watching football. Hell, I was more disgusted with the Kevin Ware situation that faces many amateur athletes every day…I just dont see it as a moral issue.

  23. rkt4mayor says: Apr 8, 2013 2:23 PM

    Goodell’s goal is simple: ruin the NFL!

    Bring back Tags!

    I am so sick of Roger “18 games and a team in England” Goodell!

    If he was so “concerned” about player safety than why does he keep pushing the asinine 18 game regular season idea?

  24. osiris33 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:24 PM

    Goodell’s goal is simple; funnel $$$ from the NFL owners to his lawyer pals by creating a concussion “problem” that’s as phony as global warming. I can’t believe more owners don’t see how this scam artist is ripping them off under the guise of “saving” them from liability.

  25. rkt4mayor says: Apr 8, 2013 2:26 PM

    Here is a novel concept for all those so concerned about lawsuits: Make all players sign a personal indemnity form stating that they are fully aware that football is a dangerous, contact sport, and they play it and earn millions at their own risk!

    Goodell is a lawyer…you’d think he could figure out the above concept!

  26. hater79 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:28 PM

    Hockey is becoming more and more tempting every day.

  27. mavajo says: Apr 8, 2013 2:30 PM

    “Mavajo – Hard to tell if you’re bothered that businesses don’t actually care about their employees (or people in general), or are celebrating it as part of the spirit of capitalism.”

    ——————

    Neither, just stating reality. It continues to impress me how oblivious people are to plain reality.

  28. phillysophic says: Apr 8, 2013 2:30 PM

    goodell – take the legs out of the game. with all of this reckless running around, someone is bound to get hurt…

  29. jamaltimore says: Apr 8, 2013 2:30 PM

    Love how all this brain damage has only to do with head on head colisions. It has nothing to do with the lifestyle of NFL athletes, college athletes and the lives they lead off the football. Not to mention any other family genetic issues. Does anyone just think Jim Mcmahon is loppy because of hits to the head or maybe it’s the drunken life he led. Same with Mike Webster, see cocaine cowboys and you’ll learn all you need to know about the steelers of 70′s being fueld by drugs and booze.

    Then again, this is america where complex problems can no longer be solved but we just put a smokescreen out there to make everyone feel better and most importantly take the sting out of the legal/political worlds issue of the month so the MAN can act like they really care. Goddell is already proven to be a consistent liar but he’s man of the year on head trauma? How much did the owners donate for that award to show up in a legal brief down the road.

    Nothing last forever Roger we should all rememmber that.

  30. johnnytubetop says: Apr 8, 2013 2:31 PM

    I think Goodell and the owners have been off base with some of the rule changes, but I support the overall goal. Defense has changed a lot in the past few decades. The current crop of players will either spear the ball carrier and knock him out of the game, or miss and give up another 10-20 yards. Is it too much to ask for a defender to make a solid hit and wrap up the runner?

  31. WatchThis says: Apr 8, 2013 2:31 PM

    Maybe he’ll take the idiots out of the game on both sides of the tv.

  32. tinbender2000 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:33 PM

    Leather or “Nerf” helmets.

  33. baddegg says: Apr 8, 2013 2:33 PM

    Replace “head” with “fun” and you’ve got it — mission accomplished!

  34. heyzeus143 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:34 PM

    Someone find some dirt on this guy please. Only way to stop him from ruining the game.

  35. bornking24 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:35 PM

    Also… If the Helmet is for head protection only then the pads are specifically body protection only right? Then why aim for that also?? Goodell needs to listen to himself sometimes..

  36. rr2000k says: Apr 8, 2013 2:35 PM

    I think we need to cut the head off the snake.

  37. harrisonhits2 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:37 PM

    “bonato55 says:
    Apr 8, 2013 2:08 PM
    I hate you Goodell your ruining football which is one of my favorite things in life… Your the worst human being of all time…”

    Yeah right, he’s much worse than Hitler, Stalin and other dictators who murdered by the 10s of millions, or the Taliban who throw acid in the faces of schoolgirls, etc.

  38. bonato55 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:40 PM

    DONT PLAY FOOTBALL IF YOUR SCARED TO GET HURT! Football has been played the same way for years, i had head injuries suffered a seizure but guess what it was my life i wanted to play and knew what could happen!!

  39. seahawks4lyfe says: Apr 8, 2013 2:40 PM

    Dear Roger Goddell,

    You are ruining football, plain and simple.

  40. commonsensedude says: Apr 8, 2013 2:43 PM

    Dear editors:

    I believe that there is a misprint in the title of the article about the NFL Commissioner. The sentence:

    “Goodell’s goal is simple: Take the head out of the game”

    should read:

    “Goodell’s goal is simple: Take out the game”

    Yours very truly,
    PFT Reader

  41. datd00d says: Apr 8, 2013 2:46 PM

    I don’t think that Goodell is necessarily trying to make the game more offensive and exciting. I think he is legitimately concerned for the safety of the players – because player safety is the #1 risk for football and the only thing could conceivably put a dent in the greatest sport on planet Earth.

  42. jack3dsd says: Apr 8, 2013 2:46 PM

    is there a way to move pft to the bottom of the pro sports talk app or delete it? the nfl is no more

  43. hater79 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:47 PM

    Rock the Red go Caps.

    Football is the greatest sport in the world, and this piece of garbage wanna be dictator is ruining it.

  44. steelernationisuperiortothelowlyplebsofthenfllolol says: Apr 8, 2013 2:47 PM

    Another oxymoron from the moron.

  45. canmannac says: Apr 8, 2013 2:50 PM

    Didn’t GW get a year for the same kinda crap statement? Where is the movie? the audio? the shame the shame THE SHAME!!!!!!!!

  46. guyljr says: Apr 8, 2013 2:50 PM

    “Kill the head and the body will die. Kill the head and the body will die.”

  47. classyjacklambert says: Apr 8, 2013 2:50 PM

    …and just to be sure the game is dead, he’s gonna remove the heart as well.

  48. onbucky96 says: Apr 8, 2013 2:52 PM

    I’m confused. Wasn’t that what Greg Williams wanted the Saints to do, cut off the head?

  49. sourdoughsam says: Apr 8, 2013 2:53 PM

    From now on, QB slides are mandatory and RBs can simply let the official know where to spot the ball, rather than take the risk of running it.

  50. wmelch says: Apr 8, 2013 2:54 PM

    Everyone is so worried about the future of the game. Comments like”flag football” and “dress them in tutus” are very entertaining, but are somewhat reminiscent of Chicken Little.

    Here’s what’s going to happen. Everyone is still going to watch their favorite team. The parabolic mikes are still going to pick up hard hits. Defenseless receiver and backs leading with the head are going to be called. Sometimes right-sometimes wrong, but no difference than holding or interference. When it happens against your team, you will complain. When it is called against your opponent, you will declare it a good rule.

    People will complain about replays of these plays taking too long, but nobody is going to turn off the TV after three hours and fifteen minutes because the game has gone on too long. In essence, nothing will be drastically changed, and everyone will continue to enjoy the game.

    Bring on the draft, OTAs and regular season. Play ball !

  51. cmonelisha says: Apr 8, 2013 2:57 PM

    how have all these smart lawyer guys not made a suggestion to coat the outer layer of the helmet with a piece of nerf or felt or something to absorb the blow..its obv that would help a little..they must be pushing a different agenda

    ps your head is attached to your body. unless people start growing detatchable heads in the near future..it will always be a part of the game.

  52. mjkelly77 says: Apr 8, 2013 3:03 PM

    xxwhodatxx says:Apr 8, 2013 2:12 PM

    I don’t know about the head,but someone definitely removed Goodells brain.
    _____________

    And what’s he make? Six hundred to a thousand times what you do? Do the math. What’s that say about your brain?

  53. wilsonwillbreaku says: Apr 8, 2013 3:05 PM

    Goodell is definitely taking the head out of the commissioner’s office…just help these former players with there medical bills after retirement and you won’t get sued all the time. But no, owners are too greedy. They’d rather treat former stars who are suffering like pariahs and alter the game to something unrecognizable to the game we all grew up loving. Its just pathetic.

  54. jimmyt says: Apr 8, 2013 3:07 PM

    Gripe all you want to but he’s right, the helmet should not be used as a weapon.

  55. nebster21 says: Apr 8, 2013 3:09 PM

    Goodell’s Goal TWO HAND TOUCH football.

  56. christophershearin says: Apr 8, 2013 3:09 PM

    just because somebody makes a lot of money does not make them smart… Look at the bank ceos that bankrupted the system, then got bailed out and got million dollar bonus’ for causing the bailout…… That doesnt sound smart to me, yet they still made a lot of money….

  57. csilojohnson says: Apr 8, 2013 3:11 PM

    Too late.

  58. justintuckrule says: Apr 8, 2013 3:16 PM

    I’m changing my tune. I used to be like everyone else hating Goodell but now, I’m gonna thank him.

    Like most of us, I too am a working stiff. I bust my rear all week, get home late at night, read a quick bedtime book to my two little sons, and do it all over each mundane day. On Sundays, when they are saying “daddy daddy let’s play”, I shush them over to some matchbox cars, let them play and then I veg out in front of the TV for 10 hours.

    Now that Goodell has effectively wrecked football, I will choose to recoup these precious Sundays and be more involved with my family. Watching them achieve little milestones is more rewarding than watching people who care nothing about me win a meaningless game I’ll forget about in a week anyway.

    So…thanks Roger. You’ve given me my family back.

  59. jaketdogg says: Apr 8, 2013 3:30 PM

    A simple return to basic fundamental tackling would do much more good than all of these new rules. The Jim Johnson type/ arrow-through-the snow defensive teachings snowballed out of control. Dick Butkus, Ronnie Lott and many other defensive greats never cheap shotted people with the crown of their helmets even when it was legal.

  60. mjkelly77 says: Apr 8, 2013 3:37 PM

    christophershearin says:Apr 8, 2013 3:09 PM

    just because somebody makes a lot of money does not make them smart… Look at the bank ceos that bankrupted the system, then got bailed out and got million dollar bonus’ for causing the bailout…… That doesnt sound smart to me, yet they still made a lot of money….
    __________________
    Making a lot of money doesn’t sound smart to you? Don’t be naive. That’s all the Wall Street wizards care about.

  61. keepingitrealdumb says: Apr 8, 2013 3:41 PM

    all you people piling on goodel have no clue what is going on. he is like the CEO of any company .. he is not the boss .. he is employee #1 .. but he is certainly not the boss.

    he works for the owners .. everything he is trying to accomplish comes from the owners. it is the owners who want this .. and goodel is their employee charged with making it happen.

    realize that.

  62. stretchingthecat says: Apr 8, 2013 3:50 PM

    After watching Kevin Ware’s compound fracture, I think David Stern should propose taking the “legs out of basketball”.

    Put them on Segways!

  63. seaeagle707 says: Apr 8, 2013 4:10 PM

    Once the head has been “removed” from the game, will the hands be next? Will the players then switch to wearing shorts? Will the oval, brown pigskin ball, be changed to a round, white and black ball?

    Oh wait, those players use their noggins to propel the ball. Much tougher dudes than our namby-pamby players.

  64. tremoluxman says: Apr 8, 2013 4:11 PM

    Anyone here ever watch a Rugby match? Those guys don’t wear helmets and little if any pads. They kick the living crap out of each other and the game is every bit as rough-and-tumble as the NFL.
    Football has gotten too used to using helmets as weapons. Stupid coaches and gullible players always want to ‘put a hat in the guys chest’. It’s a lazy substitute and a macho ploy used instead of proper and safer technique. The game can be every bit as physical and exciting without the battering-ram approach. It’s getting as ridiculous as the WWE-style fighting in the NHL.

  65. forreels says: Apr 8, 2013 4:16 PM

    If you want to see an example of players really good at not having their head in the game, see the New York Jets….

  66. musicman495 says: Apr 8, 2013 4:22 PM

    Makes sense – he has already taken the head out of the Commissioner’s Office.

  67. macbull says: Apr 8, 2013 4:32 PM

    Fix the helmets, Roger !!!

    …and stop tinkering with the game.

    Players added padding to the outside their helmets dating back to the late 60s as Willie Lanier played 10 yrs with such a helmet, never again having his career threatened by an incident of concussion.

    Same is true for Bills safety, Mark Kelso..49ers OT, Steve Wallace and Colts OG/OT, Randy Dixon…all wore the Pro Cap..an extra layer of padding worn on the outside of their existing helmets.

    ….AND IT WORKED.

    Goodell and the NFL owners know it worked…so why is Goodell pretending that nothing else can be done to make today’s helmets safer?

    That is a question the Sports Media needs to start asking.

    Roger Goodell needs to mandate the use of the Pro Cap and stop his silly agenda, pretending there is nothing else that can be done with helmet safety and he is left to rely on his crazy rule changes.

    Just fix the helmets, Roger…

  68. melikefootball says: Apr 8, 2013 5:20 PM

    I understand safety. In my hart I truly believe Godel will hurt the popularity of NFL football. More and more watch only for the fanatasy leagues, more and more non sale outs. He has his hands into just too many avenaues in the game.

  69. nahcouldntbethat says: Apr 8, 2013 5:25 PM

    Fans were really pissed when they took Christians and Lions out of the arena also. Sissy games after that with nobody getting eaten by a wild animal for everybody’s entertainment.

  70. monkeesfan says: Apr 8, 2013 5:54 PM

    The helmets are not the problem – the problem is football is scaring itself into thinking there really is a problem, when in fact there isn’t. Head injuries are not as prevalent as we think they are; what’s happened is we’ve made the assumption that brain wreckage is worse than it actually is. Improving the safety of the game needs to be intelligently done rather than done for the sake of assumptions about brain wreckage that aren’t necessarily based on definitive data.

  71. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 8, 2013 6:08 PM

    The only head that needs to be removed from the NFL, is Goodell’s!

  72. randygnyc says: Apr 8, 2013 6:32 PM

    It’s laughable to suggest that they take away the helmet completely. Think about all the ancillary contact. And I’d also speculate that most football concussions occur when a players head hits the ground. It would be way worse without a helmet and would usher in an era of less and less contact. The only viable solution is having players acknowledge the risks and accept the consequences. These past 4 years our country has been pussified by obama.

  73. gonavybeatarmy says: Apr 8, 2013 6:38 PM

    This clown is out of his depth. He is merely Mara’s tool.

  74. wmelch says: Apr 8, 2013 8:14 PM

    I can only assume that everyone whining about the recent changes in the rules will not be watching games, will have no interest in football and hence will refrain from commenting on any football-related issues, including the draft, personnel changes and of course, the games themselves.

  75. wwwmattcom says: Apr 8, 2013 8:41 PM

    Remember when people could tackle? Now if you don’t launch your head into someone, you ain’t trying. What’s a bigger name? Barry Sanders or Brandon Jacobs? Don’t get bigger, get faster and elusive. I could watch Barry run around people all day.

  76. thetooloftools says: Apr 8, 2013 10:30 PM

    I totally agree with Goodell. If the players are going to sue the owners for injuries (concussions) caused by traumatic head shots then they MUST be made illegal. The players brought these regulations on themselves. Maybe The NFLPA will think twice before you have your lawyers take on the owners in injury issues. What is done is done. The owners are trying protect themselves from further player lawsuits. I don’t like it, but the players lawyering up basically demand action by the owners.

  77. 80wise says: Apr 8, 2013 10:44 PM

    It’s time for the fan to step-up. Quit complaining and boycott the NFL. If you don’t like where this league is going, then stop watching it. I haven’t watched an NFL game in 4 years and I don’t miss it. My season begins and ends with the college game. Screw the NFL.

  78. charger383 says: Apr 8, 2013 10:48 PM

    Football will not recover from this goofball

  79. silvernblak says: Apr 8, 2013 11:11 PM

    Once the fans stop coming to games and with every new and stupid rule money gets lost, there will no choice, either kill Good-hell or give the fans who pay the bills what they want! Im a little selfish on this topic, i want both!

  80. bearsstillsuck says: Apr 9, 2013 2:33 AM

    Just remove the face mask already.

  81. curtdog63 says: Apr 9, 2013 4:52 AM

    A hate when I hear people say get back to the basics. I dont care what level of football you played on, you would know that on defense you will almost never get a perfect form tackle. Guys are flying by full speed you basically trying to get them down anyway possible. So you can save all that bending and shooting up with you hips crap, with your helmet between the numbers nonsense. Ray Lewis himself had 100+ tackles last year and maybe 3 or 4 was perfect form tackles.

  82. WatchThis says: Apr 9, 2013 12:11 PM

    Football’s become a different game because of the missile-style launching players do with their helmets. Rugby players survive, because this doesn’t happen there. Is rugby a pansy sport because of it. No.

    Maybe NFL players should return to learning how to tackle.

  83. WatchThis says: Apr 9, 2013 12:16 PM

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is either watching on tv, not an athlete or isn’t yet a good tackler.

  84. malleng says: Apr 9, 2013 5:07 PM

    Although it will never happen, the best answer is probably less pads then more. It’s true that the helmet has become and possibly always has been a weapon. When you put one on you feel invulnerable, but you’re not, its just a false sense of safety. In the old days of football and still today in rugby, guys don’t bash their heads into each other cuz it would freakin hurt! You can still tackle with smaller helmets and the game would probably be much safer with something like what you see some soccer goalies wear. Won’t ever happen, but seriously, helmets are part of the problem, not the solution.

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