Goodell emails fans to tout player safety measures


With the NFL facing criticism both from those who say the sport is dangerous and from those who say player safety rules have gone too far, Commissioner Roger Goodell is contacting fans directly.

In an email sent to fans, Goodell highlighted some of the ways the league is trying to make football safer.

“Within the NFL, safety-related rules will always be clearly defined and strictly enforced, and we will continue to work with our players, coaches, and others to identify new and safer ways to play the game,” Goodell wrote.

That may be the NFL’s intent, but the NFL still has a ways to go before it can truly say the rules are always clearly defined and strictly enforced. The new rule restricting players from delivering blows with the crown of the helmet has been incorrectly enforced multiple times this year.

Goodell is viewed by many fans as making fundamental changes to the game, but he tried to frame the recent rules changes within the context of an always-changing sport.

“There have been numerous safety-related rules changes going back decades: from the 1970s when we eliminated the head slap, to the 80s when we eliminated clubbing, to the 90s when we increased protection for defenseless players, to the 2000s when the horse collar tackle was made illegal. When we identify dangerous techniques, we adopt rules to eliminate them,” Goodell wrote.

Goodell may have been motivated to send this email now because of publicity for League of Denial, the book with a companion PBS documentary that accuses the NFL of intentionally covering up evidence that football leaves players brain damaged for life. In his email, Goodell said the NFL takes its players health seriously.

“One of the most important aspects of safety is providing players with the best possible medical care,” Goodell wrote. “We work closely with the NFL Players Association to ensure our players have access to the finest doctors and most cutting edge technology. In fact, a large part of our current Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players is devoted to health and safety protections.”

Many of the fans who received that email will no doubt say Goodell hasn’t done enough to ensure health and safety protections. Many others will say he has done too much.

45 responses to “Goodell emails fans to tout player safety measures

  1. Maybe he should take fan feedback, see how the people who line his and the owners pockets feel. A lot of these rules are anti fanatic.. A lot of us grew up liking football for the physical play and hard hits. We could see a receiver we didn’t like get blown up going over the middle. I get it, you have to protect your investment but in the end everything needs to be in the best interest of the viewer and these flags are taking a toll on a lot of us.

  2. If by player safety, you mean call a bogus call because the defender hits the receiver in the chest to dislodge the ball and gets called for “unnecessary roughness, not allowing receiver to catch the ball”…I don’t care to listen.

  3. I am not sure if medical coverage ends when a player stops playing. If it does, the future costs of medical care could be phenomenal. Since we know that many players have trouble not going broke, it could be helpful to take a percentage of each player’s salary to provide lifelong treatment for former players. That would go a long way to help show the NFL cares about their player’s health…but I am guessing that would be way too expensive.

  4. Nobody likes the safety rule changes. The meatheads think they go too far and the informed, thinking fans think they are just token gestures.

  5. Screw Bettman, er, I mean Goodell! I’m all for player safety but he is ruining the game! Oh and BTW, keep pushing the crushing hits on Madden nothing two-faced about that at all!!

  6. Any time he says something that seems to serve either himself or the owners financially or otherwise, I have a hard time taking his comment at face value.

  7. I am all for player safety but too many times this season I have seen flags thrown for good clean hard hits.Its those hits that have made the NFL the top sport in the U.S. today. If Goodell continues to try and make this league flag football it will lose its number 1 standing in TV ratings ,popularity ect..The players themselves would rather be hit high (as long as it is not in the head) as opposed to having the defender going after their knees and risking a career ending injury.

  8. Player safety is important… except for

    1. Making them play on 3 days rest on Thursday night.

    2. Adding two more regular season games

    3. Playing on turf that is crap (DC) or uneven with dirt (Oakland)

    4. No rule requiring mouthpieces

  9. If Goodell is so concerned about player like he continues to state… why doesn’t he enforce the best equipment, i.e. helmets and why does he insist on Thursday night games and an 18 game schedule… This guy is a crock and don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth…

  10. Why is it that whenever we don’t want to hear from Goodell, he invades our email accounts, Twitter, magazines, etc? But whenever we really want to hear from him or see his leadership – like when the lights go out during the middle of the Super Bowl – or when the replacement refs blow a regular season game – he’s nowhere to be found?

    Roger – from now on, why don’t you let us fans know when we want to see/hear from you? You can go back to brainstorming on new ways to ruin the game.

  11. It may be callous to say this but: who cares? These people get paid millions to play a collision sport. If they didn’t know the risks years ago, they sure know now.

    It’s borderline unwatchable when defenders get penalized for getting a finger on a QBs helmet, making a hard clean hit, or for hitting a player near the sideline who wasn’t out of bounds.

    Making it worse is the refs who are told to throw flags if they think it possibly could have been an illegal hit versus throwing a flag only if the CLEARLY saw it was an illegal hit.

  12. This guy is so full of it it’s unbelievable. Roger, you are ruining the game, stop with the rule changes. The fans, you know, your actual customers, do not want these rule changes. The media keeps telling us that Goodell will continue with these changes and “we better get used to it.” No one in the media ever asks “Why.” Why is Goodell doing this? The most prevalent answer on this website is to protect the NFL from litigation, but the concussion litigation has largely been resolved, so why is he continuing with these rule changes? The only logical answer I can come up with is that Goodell is one of those “do-gooders” on a crusade to curb the “dangerous” game of football to impress his do-gooding media buddies. I’ve never seen a business go out of its way to antagonize its paying customers to appease the media. If this continues, I can only hope a rival league develops that plays real football.

  13. In response, fans roll their eyes and wonder why the NFL won’t do anything about the things they actually care about, such as sky high prices for everything generally, late/ crazy start times for games, burdonsome stadium ‘safety’ procedures and inability to get Sunday ticket on their cable provider.

  14. To the fans that are blaming Goodell for “ruining the game”. You should look instead, at the players who are suing the league acting as if they didn’t know multiple hits to their head could have long-term effects.

  15. Goodell is so transparently manipulative that it’s kind of creepy.

    Goodell must also assume that we’re all complete morons who can’t see what is actually going on here.


  16. I didn’t get the email. I guess the NFL and Goodell are out of touch with this fan. I wonder if they will ever figure out how to reach me. I know how to do it, but I don’t think they do!

  17. This guy is so full of it it’s unbelievable. Leave football alone Roger. Stop with the constant rules changes, we don’t want them. Listen to the fans, you know, your actual paying customers who are making you and the owners rich. It’s amazing that Goodell seems not to care what the fans think. He is apparently on some crusade to make football “safe,” which can’t be done, to impress his media friends. If he keeps this up I can see a rival league developing that plays real football.

  18. Many of the fans who received that email will no doubt say Goodell hasn’t done enough to ensure health and safety protections. Many others will say he has done too much


    And what everyone will say is that he’s a duplicitous liar and snake. There;s plenty of evidenceto support it as well, and that evidence has been there before this book. Go watch the 2007 Outside the Lines about the NFL/concussions. Goodell sent an NFL physician on camera to deny any scientific link between football and CTE.

  19. @coolzog: As I’ve pointed out here many times before, the “players know the risks” argument is all well and good for the present set of NFL players, but it also sends the worst possible message to the one constituency no sport can hope to lose and expect to survive long-term: The parents of the next generation of would-be players.

    Goodell’s problem is that he’s trying to have it both ways. To would-be plaintiffs in future lawsuits against the NFL, he’s trying to argue that the sport is as safe as it can possibly be made without fundamentally changing its nature – while at the same time trying to convince worried parents that his league is doing its level best to accomplish precisely what he’s telling the would-be plaintiffs is impossible, lest the parents decide “as safe as it can possibly be” isn’t good enough to let their sons continue to play organized football.

  20. Players would be a lot safer playing a 16 game schedule rather than a 18 game schedule .In the end Goodell will weigh the all mighty dollar versus player safety and in the end the league will go with the dollar .Look for the NFL to be going to a 18 schedule next year or the year after because as much as they are claiming to be about player safety the all mighty dollar will ALWAYS win

  21. Roger Goddell to fans: we are making the game safer.
    Roger Goddell to players: you can not have our concussion info now or ever, even though you can be educated with the info.
    WOW, what’s next 18 game schedule, team in london.
    NFL = Crooks.

  22. That’s cool, now he can email me back and explain why he continues to renew the licensing exclusive deal with Electronic Arts when Madden sucks and NFL2K ruled.

  23. I skipped that email and read the one with details on how to claim my winnings from the Nigerian lottery.

  24. He is a punk anymore with all the disciplines which seem to have to failed to curb anything and lastly the justifications seem to be just another hussle. Does anyone really buy it?

  25. @12is3times4:

    It’s pretty simple to have different/safer rules in child/youth leagues where the focus is the entertainment, health and enjoyment of the players. Either that or just play flag football when you’re younger.

    The NFL is a multibillion dollar fan-entertainment business. The players are adults and can decide for themselves if they’re willing to submit themselves to the risks (whereas kids may or may not have informed consent).

    There will always be people willing to take that risk for millions of dollars, so I don’t think you need to worry about a lack of future NFL players…

  26. Too much, it’s a physical sport, if you’re worried about head injuries play hockey…oops nope, baseball… Nope, basketball?

  27. “Identifying new and safer ways to play the game.”

    Meaning, more fines, and more importantly, even more flags, leading to even longer games = more revenue from commercials.

  28. can it roger hockey is just as dangerous. all NFL players know this is a dangerous sport when they came into it. o yea people let’s not forget that he also tried to eliminate kickoff returns

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