With Super Bowl LIV just around the corner, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell still has plenty of other league issues on his plate.
Every football fans’ focus is on Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.
That’s understandable to say the least.
A marquee matchup, a marquee city and a marquee audience.
Still, Goodell had plenty of other topics to discuss and ponder on Wednesday at his annual state-of-the-league address.
One of the NFL’s biggest detriments over the past decade has been their inability to produce minority head coaches. Currently, only four of the league’s 32 head coaches are minorities.
“Clearly we are not where we want to be on this level,” Goodell said at his news conference. “We have a lot of work that’s gone into not only the Rooney Rule but our policies overall. It’s clear we need to change and do something different. There’s no reason to expect we’re going to have a different outcome next year without those kinds of changes.”
The Rooney Rule – named for late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney – currently requires every team to interview at least one minority for a head-coaching vacancy. The league is considering an extension of that policy towards coordinator roles as well.
As expected, reporters also asked Goodell questions regarding former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown. The former Pittsburgh Steeler has infamously run into legal trouble following his departure from the league.
A judge in South Florida released Brown from house arrest this week. Police arrested Brown outside his Hollywood, Fla. home for charges of felony burglary with assault. However, Brown’s lawyer said he was “overcharged” for those counts.
In response to Brown’s ongoing battle with mental health and legal trouble, Goodell said “he wants to help him get back on track.”
Most of Goodell’s press conference was analytical in nature. The commissioner uses these annual gatherings to increase transparency between the league and its fans.
That doesn’t mean Goodell is on the podium wasting his time. On the contrary, he explained how the NFL is considering adding a 17th regular-season game to team’s schedules. However, Goodell has always stressed players’ safety over anything.
He and the league are working to accommodate teams, owners players and fans in case a 17th game does indeed come.
Super Bowl LIV
Despite his occupation and responsibilities, Goodell is a football fan as well.
The commissioner is excited to have two storied franchises represent the NFL’s two conferences on its 100th anniversary.
— Hard Rock Stadium (@HardRockStadium) January 30, 2020