You don't need Roger Goodell to tell you the highly scrutinized, highly criticized NFL is doing just fine. You will see that for yourself Sunday night when you turn on Super Bowl XLVII and watch the Baltimore Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers. You will see it in the fabulous new commercials. Did you know those 30-second spots are going for $3.8 million? 49ers All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman had a pretty good idea. "The NFL is a big-money business," he said. "I don't think it's going to go away." Goodell, the league's highly scrutinized, highly criticized commissioner, said much the same thing Friday when he delivered his State of the NFL address. "This Sunday will be the conclusion of an incredible season of NFL football," he began. What? You expected Goodell to say the concussion issue is going to ruin the game? That he's worried about complaints from players about the discipline his office hands down? That the screams from some fans that the league is becoming sissified are legitimate? Right. What Goodell said that was newsworthy was that he doesn't really give a damn if the players don't like him. As many as 80 percent -- depending on the survey -- give him a negative approval rating because of his handling of league discipline on player-safety issues. Goodell's response? Tough. He promised to keep fining and suspending those players who refuse to "take the head out of the game. ... Suspensions get through to them. We're going to continue to emphasize the importance of following the rules. When there are violations, we will escalate the discipline." Good for Goodell. The heck with the players in this case. No one is disputing that the players are the show. There would be no NFL without them. It wouldn't be the most successful and powerful league in the world. But too many of the 49ers and Ravens spent too much time this week moaning because Goodell is trying to make the NFL safer. You would think they would applaud. Ah, no. Ravens safety Bernard Pollard made the biggest headlines when he predicted the NFL won't exist in 30 years. He did so, not coincidentally, just a few days after he was fined $15,250 by the league office for a hit on New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker in the AFC championship.
Roger Goodell's stance on hits is on the money
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Feb 2