NFL comissioner Roger Goodell looks at artificial snow falls on stage as he speaks at a news conference Friday. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
New York – Fake snow fell on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s head during his annual state of the league press conference on Friday.
“Of course, we cannot control the weather,” he said with a wry smile. “I told you we were going to embrace the weather; here we go…The forecast, despite what you see behind me, is terrific. It’s football-ready and just to confirm, we will kick off at 6:30 (Sunday).”
Temperatures are expected to be above 40 degrees with winds between 10 and 15 mph, which is far better than what had been forecasted even a week ago. Still, Goodell indicated it will be a while before the Super Bowl is played in another cold-weather, outdoor venue.
“We know there’s interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl,” he said. “I think the ownership will sit back and review that when we’re done, but we have a very aggressive process in how we select cities.
“The ability to host the Super Bowl is more and more complicated, more and more complex because of the size and number of events. The infrastructure is very important. There are over 30,000 hotel rooms needed even to host the Super Bowl so there are some communities that may not be able to do it from an infrastructure standpoint, but we know the passion’s there.”
The next three sites are Glendale, Ariz., Santa Clara, Calif., and Houston. The next opportunity for a cold weather city to host would be 2018 – Minnesota, with its new stadium, Indianapolis and New Orleans are in the running to host. Goodell said he didn’t think many cities would get multiple bids going forward, which could eliminate Indianapolis and New Orleans.
“I believe we need to get to as many communities as possible and give them the opportunity to share in not only the emotional benefits but also the economic benefits,” he said. “It helps the NFL, it helps our fans and it helps grow our game.”
Goodell said the league continues to study expanding the playoffs from 12 teams to 14 teams.
“There’s a lot of benefits to doing that,” he said. “We think we can make the league more competitive. We think we can make the matchups more competitive towards the end of the season. There will be more excitement, more memorable moments for our fans. That’s something that attracts us.
“We think we can do it properly from a competitive standpoint. This will continue to get very serious consideration by the Competition Committee and then the ownership will have to vote on it.”
On instant replay
The NFL is considering going to a centralized replay system similar to what the NHL uses where all plays are reviewed at the league offices in New York.
“We think there’s plenty of room for us to improve the game of football and officiating, in particular,” Goodell said. “What we all want is consistency, fairness in our officiating, and we believe that we might be able to achieve more consistency when we bring instant replay with us -- more of a centralized version and decision-making process -- and that’s something the Competition Committee is going to consider over the next two months and come back to a recommendation for the membership.
“I do believe there’s a possibility that some version of that will occur where our office can at least be involved with the decision. They may not make the decision, but can at least provide some input that would be helpful to the officials on the field to make sure they’re seeing every angle, to make sure they have the proper opportunity to make the best decision.”