Goodell: League looking for ways to speed up games

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Houston – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with the media for his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday afternoon. The 43-minute session covered a variety of topics from Deflategate to ways the league is exploring speeding up games.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions during a news conference during preparations for the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Wednesday in Houston.

Here are some bullet point notes from the session.

• Despite a recent health scare, Goodell confirmed former president, George H.W. Bush would perform the opening coin toss at the Super Bowl. Bush handled the same duties during the Lions game against the Texans earlier this season.

• With Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance, Goodell doubled down on the league’s investigation and punishment for Deflategate. Even though he hasn’t visited Gillette Stadium in the two years since the league investigated the Patriots, the commissioner said he’s gladly accept an invitation from Kraft to attend a game in the future. Goodell insisted he doesn’t feel any awkwardness on his end toward the organization or its fans.

• Goodell took exception to a question suggesting the NFL was eager for the Chargers to move to Los Angeles, noting that the league’s other owners made an unprecedented $300 million pledge to help fund a new stadium in San Diego. He’s open to discussing new franchises in both San Diego and St. Louis, but stadium financing would remain a hurdle that needs to be cleared.

• Although not official, Goodell said the salary cap could rise as much as $15 million next season. That would put the cap over $170 million. That would be greater than a 40-percent increase since the new collective bargaining agreement went into effect in 2011.

•Looking to speed up games, the league is exploring ways to make instant replay more efficient, decreasing the time between a PAT and the ensuing kickoff and potentially reducing commercial breaks from five to four a quarter.

• The NFL has no plans to abandon Thursday Night Football. Goodell said safety concerns have been overblown and league studies have found there in no increase in injuries from those games. He also said the games were generally high quality, which goes against popular opinion.

• Goodell claimed to have no knowledge of why all political questions had been redacted from player and coach interview transcripts during the week.

• The league will play another game in Mexico City next season with the Raiders “hosting” the Patriots.