SAN FRANCISCO — Roger Goodell has officially gone bye-bye.
The NFL commissioner fielded questions on the usual subjects in his annual Super Bowl week news conference Friday: player discipline, team relocation, marijuana legalization, quality of play and, of course, head injuries.
Goodell’s answers were typically rambling and non-specific, and he seemed to retain the usual amount of denial on the long-term effects of concussions — even after questions about shortening careers, parents keeping their kids from playing football and the fact seven high school football players died from football injuries in 2015.
But here’s the mother of all of Goodell’s denial quotes: “There’s risk in life. There’s risk in sitting on the couch.”
Where is this man’s couch? In the middle of a lion’s cage? Adjacent to Mt. Vesuvius? Under several falling pianos?
Is Roger Goodell’s couch in the fast lane of I-285, cutting over four lanes of traffic to try to make it onto 400 north?
It’s bad enough that the NFL this week announced an expansion of its Thursday night television package for the next two seasons with CBS, NBC and the NFL Network, a deal expected to bring $450 million. Many believe Thursday night games affect both quality of play and increase the likelihood of injuries (and concussions).
Goodell denies that. Of course he denies it. Did I mention the $450 million?
Does Goodell remind you a little of the Dan Akroyd character on Saturday Night Live, “Irwin Mainway,” who defends his dangerous toys, including, “Bag O’Glass”?
I also like this photo sent from reader @B_Schulz_ on Twitter:
And there’s this:
Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who was present for Goodell’s comments, said he’s concerned about player safety but he chose to put football in the same category as other sports: “You have to be concerned about player safety for young women who play soccer, young boys who play soccer, men who play football – all young men and women who play sports where you have that kind of contact. As a parent I’m concerned about it. But in the world of the National Football League, I believe the commissioner and his staff are working very hard to create the most safe environment that we can.”
As for Goodell’s couch analogy, Blank said, “Well, there is risk in sitting on a couch. Probably more people have died from sitting on a couch and getting heart disease and getting obese and eating nothing but Cheetos.”
Well, yeah. But should he maybe have at least said there’s risk in having a sedentary lifestyle and eating nothing but Cheetos?
Blank: “Yeah, that would’ve been another way of saying it.”
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