As per usual the Friday before the Super Bowl, Commissioner Roger Goodell gave his annual State of the NFL address, hitting on a number of topics that will point the way to the future for the league.
Below are some of the highlights of the news conference:
“We are focused now on how to improve every area of the game, from the game on the field to the fan experience and everything in between.”
“We will always make sure player safety is a main focus,” Goodell said. “We will continue to address medical issues. We will try to help our retired players, current players and future players by making the game safer.”
“We’re not going to relent on safety,” Goodell added later, saying “medical decisions will override competitive decisions.”
The league’s desire to return to Los Angeles:
“We’ve got to find a way to make it work for both parties,” he said. “We would like to be back in Los Angeles if we can do it correctly. I think that the [labor and TV] foundation can be helpful for coming back to LA. We now have a runway for 10 years. We know what our labor situation is and we know what our TV situation is.”
On the league is expanding its schedule of games on the NFL Network from eight to 13 for next season. It will include more Thursday night games earlier in the season:
“We think that’s great for fans and for teams to get that prime time exposure,” he said.
On playing the Super Bowl in Outdoor Stadiums with Cold Weather:
“I’m a big believer the game is played in all elements,” Goodell said. “It’s a great part of our history. There’s another side that believes when you get to the Super Bowl, the elements shouldn’t play a part.”
On all the Peyton Manning Talk This Week:
“The NFL has such tremendous interest and we’re here in Indianapolis and we all know what Peyton Manning means to the Indianapolis Colts, what he means to this community. I think it’s not unusual that you’re going to have that kind of interest in a great player and a team that has to make some difficult decisions in the next several weeks, so I’m not troubled by it at all. I don’t think it’s distracted from the event,” Goodell said.
On Games in London and the Rams Playing There:
“We’re going to play the London games,” Goodell said. ‘We hope it will be with the Rams and Patriots next year. There are issues that are going to have to get resolved. But we will be playing in London next year.”