NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday he’s pleased with how things have gone so far in the league’s first Super Bowl week in the New York area.
Goodell, speaking at his annual news conference two days before the sport’s crown-jewel event, said he is aware that other cold-weather cities with outdoor stadiums will pursue future Super Bowls. The owners of the teams will assess such possibilities following Sunday’s game, Goodell said.
“We know there’s interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl,” Goodell said.
Owners have expressed mixed views on the issue of whether a successful New York-area Super Bowl would open the door for other cities with cold winter weather and outdoor stadiums, such as Washington, to be future hosts. Some have said a successful game here could lead to some of those cities being awarded Super Bowls. Others have said they believe this game was awarded to the New York area for reasons exclusive to having the game in New York.
“We see the opportunity for us to continue to expand our game, come into new markets” as potential Super Bowl hosts, Goodell said, pointing out that some cold-weather cities won’t qualify as potential hosts because of other Super Bowl requirements.
Goodell called the New York area a “great stage” for the Super Bowl. He said the league is “doing something innovative and unprecedented” and he called Sunday’s weather forecast “football-ready.” The NFL incorporated special effects into Goodell’s news conference, having fake snow fell behind him briefly on the stage where he was speaking during his remarks.
Asked about the Washington Redskins’ nickname, Goodell said the league has listened to those who believe the name is offensive and respects those views. But he pointed out that polling continues to show most are not offended by the name.
“We are listening,” Goodell said. “We are trying to make sure we understand the issues.”
Goodell said the owners and the league’s competition committee will continue to give serious consideration to expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams.
“There’s a lot of benefits to doing that,” he said.
Goodell expressed confidence that the league’s settlement with former players who sued the NFL over concussions eventually will be approved. A federal judge declined earlier this month to give preliminary approval to the $765 million proposed settlement.
At one point during the news conference, Goodell was asked whether he would be willing to be randomly tested for marijuana, as NFL players are. Goodell responded that he is tested and is clean. He said the league is not giving consideration currently to ceasing having players tested for marijuana.
He defended the league’s benefits and treatment of retired players when asked by San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis why all players aren’t provided free health-care benefits for life by the NFL.
Goodell said the league was aware that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke had purchased a sizable amount of land in Los Angeles. That purchase has intensified speculation that the Rams could be a candidate to relocate to Los Angeles. But Goodell cautioned against overreaction and said the league’s focus remains to help the Rams succeed in St. Louis.