Roger Goodell says suspensions will get through to repeat offenders


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not backing down from his stance that players who repeatedly hit opponents in the head deserve to be suspended. In fact, Goodell indicated that more suspensions could be coming as discipline escalates in the future.

“We have to take these hits out of the game that we think have a higher risk of causing injuries, and the focus was on defenseless players,” Goodell said of his mindset toward player safety. “I think we’re going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders. It’s not just the defenseless player being protected, it’s the person doing the striking.”

Although Ravens safety Ed Reed won an appeal after he was initially suspended for a hit to the head, Goodell said he still wants to see players suspended if they don’t get the message when they’re fined and penalized for helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless opponents.

“Suspensions get through to them,” Goodell said.

And Goodell wants to get through to players that if hits on defenseless players continue, the discipline will escalate.

57 responses to “Roger Goodell says suspensions will get through to repeat offenders

  1. Just make sure you have your socks pulled up when you hit that next guy, Ed. You don’t want to REALLY piss off Roger Goodell now, do you?

  2. Goodell just doens’t understand. This isn’t something you can simply avoid. The players who are hit are often flinching, ducking to avoid the hit while the defenders are aiming lower to avoid the head and where the chest once was now the head is. Hitting a fluid target will result in unintended circumstances many times and there is nothing the defender can do about it.

  3. The fine system is a joke. They throw darts at a board to figure out the amount. The system was officially garbage once Jay Cutler got fined for tossing the ball to an opponent after a first down run.

  4. Remember about a year or so ago, Goodell was trying to get 18 games saying the fans wanted it? Well is he listening when the fans say stop turning our game into touch football?

  5. What does he say about how the 49ers defense is being declared a hate group by the government?

  6. Goodell is a joke. Abigger fine for the wrong socks on gameday vs Brady viciously trying to kick Reed in the groin. That sounds fair.

  7. Goodell is a joke. A bigger fine for the wrong socks on gameday vs Brady viciously trying to kick Reed in the groin. That sounds fair.

  8. It’s hard to think of a more dictatorial, unlikable jerk running a sports league in my lifetime than Roger Goodell. Considering that we also have the likes of Bud Selig, David Stern and Gary Bettman running other the three other major sports leagues, that’s no small feat. You’re the worst, Rog.

  9. The same players that complain about the leagues rules changing are the same guys who will be suing the league in 20 years because they forgot to adjust their lifestyle after they aren’t getting paid millions anymore and are desperate for money.

    While I don’t like the rule changes it’s not Goodell’s fault as he is trying to protect the league from future lawsuits to keep it going. I don’t understand why some people still can’t see what’s painfully obvious.

  10. I can’t wait to see all these Goodell haters in 20 years when the NFL doesn’t have America’s best athletes because they never played football as kids because their parents refused to let it happen. All the best went on to play in MLB and the NBA and the NFL is left with what’s left over.

    What are you guys going to say then?

    Ohhhhhh never made the connection that youth football registration has gone down every year for the past 5 years? Never figured out that the word “concussion” scares parents? Never figured out that the direction youth football is taking scares the heck out of the owners because they are actually thinking 20 years down the road.

  11. the NHL started suspending players for hits to the head and the game has cleaned up in just a few years.

    the NFL needs to put something in the “defenseless receiver” rule to exclude receivers that duck into the hit. if you are capable of ducking and therefore “defending” yourself, you are not defenseless.

    otherwise, start slapping one game suspensions on these headhunters and eventually they will slow down.

    i’m all for bonecrushing hits, but targeting the head is not necessary.

  12. People bash harrison for saying you should now aim for the knees to avoid the flags/fines/suspensions, but it seems most of the times these hits happen, the D man is aiming for the midsection and the O man ducks his head and gets conked.

    Maybe harrison is on to something.

  13. You gotta watch how you hit a person in contact football but you can CHOP block someone and tear there ACL and put them out, this guy is a joke! Make the rules fair for EVERYONE on the field or let football be football.

  14. I may be a minority of one, but I’m with The Rog here – maybe defenders should try wrapping up and tackling instead of going for the “kill” shot every single time.

  15. The fine system is a joke. They throw darts at a board to figure out the amount. The system was officially garbage once Jay Cutler got fined for tossing the ball to an opponent after a first down run.

    the fines are actually predetermined, but as we the public don’t have specific breakdowns, it seems to not make sense. uniform violations, tossing a ball into the stands and taunting all carry pretty steep fines ($5-10k for first offense). which is confusing because personal fouls and even fights sometimes only cost $10k for a first offense, but those fines jump pretty high for repeat occurrences. either way, money collected from fines goes to retired players and other charities so its not like the NFL is getting fat off of it. its just slightly funny how these players fight tooth and nail (and holdout) for their contracts but then piss away 5 or ten grand because they’re too ignorant to pull their socks up.

  16. Here’s what happened this year. The team that was find second most in 2012 and had the second most penalties made the Super Bowl. What that means is if teams commit the penaties and accept the fines it is a way to be successful as a team. Suspensions would definitely be worth trying because fines are having no effect at all and if anything they are providing an advantage to teams that are willing to risk fines on a weekly basis.

  17. Sometimes these hits are unavoidable. Everything happens in split-seconds, and if the offensive player ducks at the end, or whatever, it’s a fine.

    This is getting ridiculous. Some of the people getting fined (Chad Greenway and Patrick Willis come to mind) are NOT dirty players, but simply in the wrong place at the wrong split-second.

  18. If this is supposed to mean that you’re really concerned about the health of the players then forget about an 18 game schedule! Also get rid of the Thursday night games, the short turn around is too much for their bodies. Don’t be a hypocrite.

  19. i don’t get why the its the responsibility of the defender to avoid the H2H contact when many times the offensive player is ducking his head into the strike zone that causes the penalty.

    now QBs are adjusting and throwing the ball high up in the air because the WR can go up without fear of being hit, and if he is its a 15 yarder. if you don’t want your WRs getting laid out, run the ball

  20. A (legal) helmet to helmet hit that resulted in a concussion (and a turnover), described by John Harbaugh as “football at its finest”, put the Ravens in the Super Bowl. If Goodell really cared about the issue he would change the nature of the helmet itself instead of talking bs.

  21. Who hired this guy and when is his term OVER????

    Worst commish in NFL history. No one man should have all that power.

    I don’t even want a football with his name on it. Hope the city treats him like the jerk he is.

    He will NEVER be Tags….

    Did he even PLAY pro football? No Fun League leader….We HATE you Goodell….

  22. The problem isn’t with Goodell. He’s not my favorite person by any means, but if anything, he’s trying to keep this sport alive. If he allowed players to hit each other as hard as they wanted in whatever way possible, every player (or their family) would sue the league, and “negligence” would be plastered all over every legal document against it.

    Things change. With more research and knowledge about head injuries comes more adjustments that need to be made. That doesn’t just happen with football, either.

    Trust me, I enjoy the fast-paced, hard-hitting nature of football just like everyone else, but this is what it is.

  23. ravenator: “Brady viciously trying to kick Reed in the groin. ”

    Little bit of exaggeration and revisionism there.

  24. How many more Dave Duerson’s and Junior Seau’s do there have to be before some of you bloodthirsty ghouls admit that Goodell is doing the right thing? Maybe he’s doing it for the wrong reasons, and maybe he’s being heavy-handed, but football is a GAME and men should not be DYING because they played it. If the game can’t exist without the players paying with their lives, then it should go away.

  25. The ire directed at Goodell is entirely short-sighted and misplaced. Virtually every big hitter from yesteryear is currently suing the NFL. They want millions of dollars for their current physical ailments. Ailments that are a direct result of the way they hit and tackled while playing in the league. Their entire argument is that the NFL should have saved them from themselves.

    So Goodell and the owners are now doing what former players claim should have been done all along. Don’t like it? Blame your heroes.

    Of course, that would take some independent thought. It’s much easier to remain close minded and blame Goodell for everything that’s supposedly wrong with the NFL.

  26. Technique is lost on you guys… If the defender keeps his head up and his eyes on the target he can adjust his hit point… If a defender leads with the crown (top) of his helmet he can’t see his target and players ;including the defender) get hurt.. demand proper technique at the college level and reinforce it in the pros.. Simple

  27. I remember in 2010 when Charles Woodson landed a punch after the play and Troy Polamalu called his wife with a cell phone from the sideline during an offensive series. Goodell is a big Packers fan and hates the Steelers so they got the same 10k fine for a punch and a family phone call. We need someone to suspend the commish, not the players. He is not fit to serve. Narcissistic personality disorder is a treatable condition and it is a shame to see Goodell suffering without treatment and with responsibilities that only exacerbate the symptoms.

  28. Goodell, please resign.

    Changing the game all the time is getting really old, especially in the name of fake player safety.

    Nobody thinks you are doing a good job.

  29. And Goodell wants to get through to players that if hits on defenseless players continue, the discipline will escalate.

    It wouldn’t be this way if it weren’t for the greed of the players. They make millions a year and want to play smash mouth football. Then after retirement, they litigate for millions more from the NFL because they weren’t protected from themselves. Commissioner Goodell works for the team owners and is merely representing their best interests.

  30. The balance between hard hits and head hits on defenseless players is tough, but worthy of addressing. If I was negotiating a contract for a CB or LB I think I would put something into the contract that covers hard hitting ‘fines’ that are not intentional or so far out of balance that they would not have been a penalty five years ago. Contractual language or Insurance for game suspensions and huge fines might help keep the aggression going.

    Tough issue but at least we are actually talking about the game here……

  31. Did he mention if Ray Lewis will get suspended for the Super Bowl – allegations of PED use. He suspended Ben for 6 games for allegations. Oh wait Roger hugs and loves Ray Ray. Goodell is a joke. What a lame leader.

  32. I understand player safety. The question I have is you have allowed one side of the ball the offense to have all the advantages, yet the defense not only has most rules go against them the fines and suspensions lie mostly on that side of the ball. The league office has taken away half the game, in the defense. Do we really want games that look more like the pro bowl score 85-67, that was the most boreing game ever. Do we need this every week?

  33. I found it interesting to learn in these comments that Roger loves the Packers and hates the Steelers, when most of us hate both the Packers and the Steelers.

  34. The owners need to redirect this clowns career ASAP as in march at the owners meetings. Worst commish in the history of football.

  35. It’s a bit hard to buy into the “player safety” mantra when you force teams to play on Thursdays, fly to London for “home” games and push for an 18 game schedule.

    Correct me if I’m wrong wasn’t a condition of the current labor agreement that the league wouldn’t pursue the 2 extra games?

    Surely Roger Goodell wouldn’t lie to us!

  36. This is a direct result from the ex-players lawsuit against the NFL. Goodell wouldn’t be so adamant about penalizing players for these hits if he weren’t worried about the future of the NFL and the payouts they will have to make to players who feel they deserve extra for putting their health on the line.

  37. ^

    I won’t even mention the fact that the NFL is known to have buried a report on the dangerous nature of concussions and that Goodell himself once stood in the United States Congress and perjured himself by saying that there is no connection between playing football and brain trauma.

    This is your champion?

  38. Doesnt he mean repeat defenders? Its just more war on defense to increase scoring under the guise of safety. I understand fans like high scoring games but at what point will it be uninteresting since neither defense can stop anyone?

  39. They need to get rid of those heavy-duty helmets. They’re using them as weapons. You give fragile or not so tough metal helmets and will change the way tackle. The only reason they have those hard helmets is bc they’re using them to gain advantage and that needs to be controlled.

    The NFL is to blamed for it, they wanted a rough game, but now it’s too rough.

  40. Helmet to helmet hits should be mandatory reviewed on replay. Too many offense players lower their heads into a previously “good safe target” chosen by the defender. When you’ve committed to a hit, it’s impossible to make a change. Just too unfair to the defense, and it changes the outcome of too many games.

  41. It’s fun to hate roger goodell. I get it, and also enjoy it. Though I must ask, how does blaming 1 figurehead who “calls the shots” for many other suits sitting atop their perches fix anything? it doesn’t. The problem here is where THE CULTURE of American football is heading, and the downward path its traveling. Live like billionaire hip-hop music moguls, then when the short career you made the conscious decision to pursue AS A GROWN MAN ends, and you forfeit that lifestyle because you pissed everything away…… blame someone else and sue. As a football player today you can make your bed, sleep in it, then when it gets less comfortable… You can find someone else to “fluff” it with the money they are STILL working hard to earn. While you do nothing but sit on your ass whining and feeling entitled.

  42. Goodell, how about addressing the fact that Ray Lewis admitted to using PED’s to rehab over the last several weeks?… comment?

  43. A little common sense would help but that would be too much to expect from someone who obviously had his bell rung too many times. Most HTH hits are not deliberate, someone tries to avoid getting hit and in the process they hit or get hit in the head. There should be no penalty or fine in those cases. On the other hand, if there’s a deliberate HTH then suspend the player two games without pay. FB is a contact sport, let them play as long as they are not deliberately trying to hurt someone.

  44. Tackling head first is moronic it will take many years but once the sixth graders now get in the NFL you’ll see proper tackling. Until then someone will die soon

  45. “You gotta watch how you hit a person in contact football but you can CHOP block someone and tear there ACL and put them out, this guy is a joke! Make the rules fair for EVERYONE on the field or let football be football.”


    You do know chop blocks are illegal and carry a 15 yard penalty, correct?

    Apparently not since you made this comment and others agreed.

    Cut blocks are illegal, but chop blocks have been illegal (at all levels) for a long time.

    Chop block = One defender engaged high while another goes low.

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