On Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media at his annual state of the league press conference. During the exchange, he touched on a myriad of issues; including the difficulties that the NFL has faced.
“Listen, it has been a tough year,” said Goodell. “It’s been a tough year on me personally. It’s been a year of what I would say is humility and learning. We, obviously as an organization, have gone through adversity. More importantly, it’s been adversity for me.”
The last sentence of that quote should strike people as problematic. How is the adversity that he has faced more important than that of the league? Isn’t it the interests of the league that he is supposed to be serving?
He was correct however, in his assertion that it has been a tough season. From Ray Rice, to Adrian Peterson, to “Deflate-gate;” the league has been perpetually embroiled in controversy. How they have handled several difficult matters have not helped to alleviate the issues either.
Case in point is the situation with the deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game. This was also something that Goodell touched on, stating that the NFL is conducting a “serious” and “thorough” investigation.
“We don’t know enough in this case to know who is responsible or if there was an infraction,” he said.
The Ted Wells-led investigation is ongoing, but it has become clear, even to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, that the NFL is trying to avoid tackling the situation until after the Super Bowl (its most premier event).
Over the past six months, this may have been Goodell’s greatest shortcoming: Failure to act in a timely manner. Ever since the Ray Rice situation first came to light, the league has been reactionary; and it has cost them dearly in terms of public perception. Inconsistent punishment has infuriated, and the use of the Commissioner’s Exempt list was a cop out.
The NFL is also twiddling their thumbs when it comes to putting a team in Los Angeles. Goodell has already made it abundantly clear that a team will not be allowed to move to the market before next season.
“We want all of our franchises to stay in their current markets,” said Goodell.
Goodell did confirm that several teams have expressed interest Los Angeles (though he did not divulge which). He then detailed that the relocation process in not an easy journey. He did not however, completely rule out an eventual move.
Despite the various ways in which the NFL has seemingly fallen short, they have excelled at one important factor: They make money. That fact alone is enough to keep Goodell in power; as that fact alone is enough to keep the owners happy. His fate is in their hands; but it is hard to say how much of a grasp they have, as those hands are also filled with plenty of money.