Arkush: Goodell speaks for an hour, says almost nothing

ATLANTA - For almost 51 years every Friday before Super Bowl Sunday, first Pete Rozelle, then Paul Tagliabue and now Roger Goodell held a press conference late in the morning.

Then last year in Minneapolis, Goodell threw us a wrinkle, moving what has come to be known as the "state of the league address" to a location downtown, about a half-hour from where the media was located, early on Wednesday afternoon.

Most assumed it was the league office attempting to minimize Goodell's exposure to tough but important questions.

Apparently the commish and his minions were happy with the results as he went for it again today, although this time at the media center, making him a bit more accessible.

What was not new or unique was he fielded approximately 20 questions and actually answered less than half of them.

Asked where the league might go to improve officiating, Goodell offered the party line: "Whenever officiating is part of any kind of discussion postgame it's never a good outcome for us.

"We know that, our folks know that, our officials know that, but we also know our officials are human. We also know they're not going to get it right every time.

"As I said they are human.

"We have worked very hard to try and bring technology in to make sure we are doing everything possible to address those issues, but technology is not going to solve all those issues.

"The game is not officiated by robots, it's not going to be but we have to continue to go down this path."

The answer to the problem was predictable as well, but we should note it is the right answer and it sounds like the league knows it has to act.

"Should replay be expanded? It does not cover judgment calls. This was a judgment call. The other complication is that it was a no-call.

"Our coaches and clubs have been very resistant and there's not been support to date about having a replay official or somebody in New York throw a flag when there's no call.

"They have not voted for that in the past, it doesn't mean that they won't. It's something that we're going to put to the competition committee."

Other topics of note were the Falcons' fan-friendly pricing of concessions, on which Goodell offered, "I think the innovation and the courage of Arthur Blank and the Falcons organization who, I think, listened to their fans and had the courage to come up with a different pricing structure, that's something that I think every club has to make those individual decisions.

"But I would tell you other teams in our league, they're watching."

Asked about the likelihood of the league changing its policy on the use of medical marijuana, now legal in a number of NFL cities, Goodell said, "We rely on our medical advisors to give us advice.

"They look at this constantly, they look at the data, they look at the science and they make those recommendations to us on that basis.

"The union and the NFL work very closely on this. Dee (DeMaurice Smith and I spoke about this the last two weeks."

In other words, nothing will change until the current CBA expires after the 2020 season.

And of course there was the obligatory, "Hey Roger, when are you guys going to stop colluding against Colin Kaepernick," and the same ridiculous response aimed strictly at protecting their backsides, legalwise.

"I've said it many times privately, publicly that our clubs are the ones that make decisions what players they want to have on their rosters.

"They make them individually, they make them in the best interests of their team and that's something that we as the NFL take pride in.

"And they all want to win and they all do whatever they can to win."

Obviously that protects them from Kaep's collusion charges, and obviously it's not true.

If it were, at least one of the minimum 13, maybe as many as 15 or 16 teams that have starting QBs not as good as Kaepernick - not to mention backups - would have signed him by now.

But hey, did you expect to hear anything different?

• Hub Arkush, the executive editor of Pro Football Weekly, can be reached at or on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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