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Volume 25 No. 153
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Goodell Hears Sharp Criticism For By-The-Book SB Press Conference

Goodell was widely panned for the lack of substantive answers he gave for the league's many issues
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

It was "clear from the outset" of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's State of the League address yesterday that there "wouldn’t be any substantive answers to the myriad issues facing the billion-dollar league," according to Tara Sullivan of the BOSTON GLOBE, who wrote under the header, "Roger Goodell's Mouth Moved, But He Said His Usual Nothing." It was "another nearly hour-long filibuster from the man who rarely engages with the public while pretending to be the people’s champion" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/31). NFL Network's Michael Silver said, "I didn't think Roger Goodell said a lot of sweeping things at this" ("Super Bowl Live," NFL Network, 1/30). In Chicago, Hub Arkush writes under the header, "Goodell Speaks For An Hour, Says Almost Nothing" (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 1/31). ESPN’s Ryan Clark: "There's never a solution in the answers. ... When you listen to this press conference, it’s a lot of, ‘I’m going to make sure I fill enough air to answer your questions so I can say I stood up here and I replied to what was asked.’ But it's very seldom I watch that press conference and go, ‘Man, I have so many answers to so many questions that I didn't have 45 minutes ago.’ ... Goodell comes in there with the mind frame that I'm going to answer every question but give you no answers" ("SportsCenter Special," ESPN, 1/31). The Colorado Springs Gazette's Woody Paige noted Goodell "said plenty of nothing" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/30). In Denver, Ryan O'Halloran writes under the header, "Goodell Took Questions, But Gave Few Answers." For many years, this event was "held on Friday," but Goodell may have "moved it to mid-week to get out of the way" (DENVER POST, 1/31). 

ROGER DODGER? In New Jersey, Art Stapleton writes Goodell was "ducking and dodging questions like Staubach" throughout the news conference. He "likely knew what topics were coming, but that didn't make it any less painful" (Bergen RECORD, 1/31). The AP's Barry Wilner: "Goodell generally ducked the rush at his annual State of the NFL appearance as effectively as Russell Wilson" (AP, 1/30). In N.Y., Carron Phillips writes Goodell "would have made a great gymnast," as only a person with that athletic ability "can bend and maneuver in the same fashion that Goodell dodged the tough questions that were asked of him" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/31). ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "I can't watch him fail to address issue after issue and just talk around it or sidestep. I find it disgraceful" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/30). SNY's Marc Malusis: "As good as the NFL is about making money, they're terrible in public relations" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 1/30). But CBSSN's Jason La Canfora noted Goodell handing out "incisive answers" is "just not what he's going to do in that setting." La Canfora: "It was the traditional jiving, shucking, moving, probing, staying out of the way as the arrows are coming. ... It is what it is" ("That Other Pregame Show," CBSSN, 1/30).

NO LOVE FOR SAINTS FANS: In Baton Rouge, Scott Rabalais in a front-page piece notes the controversial no-call in the NFC Championship "got no mention" in Goodell's opening remarks. It was not until he "began taking questions" that he addressed the incident. He "should have addressed it at the top, but this was not a surprising Goodell stratagem." The man "clearly does not want to say anything to tarnish the Rams’ NFC title and potential Super Bowl victory" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 1/31). In Houston, Brian Smith writes Goodell and the NFL "just want another huge problem to quietly go away." Smith: "That doesn’t address or improve anything. And it sure as heck won’t prevent a similar on-field travesty from occurring again" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/31). Eight of the 28 questions asked during the approximately 50-minute address pertained to either the missed pass interference call specifically or about NFL officiating in general (THE DAILY). 

LACK OF ENGAGEMENT: USA TODAY's Nancy Armour writes there will be "no bigger waste of time this week" than Goodell's address. Fans "deserve more than some canned answer Goodell could have given the night of the game." Armour: "It is Goodell’s job to take the hits and ensure the NFL finishes the day without any mud and grass stains on its precious shield. But there’s a way to do it without insulting everyone’s intelligence, and Goodell can’t be bothered" (USA TODAY, 1/31). SI.com's Conor Orr wrote, "The age of the disconnected, legalese-speaking android standing at a podium is coming to an end. It no longer projects stability or power to simply babble on with canned indifference to a growing pile of issues that people genuinely care about" (SI.com, 1/30). ESPN's Steve Covino asked, "Why does he have to be so boring? This whole thing is boring" ("Now or Never," ESPNews, 1/30). In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan notes Goodell "makes dozens of millions of dollars a year," and "this is how he earns it." Souhan: "By telling us obvious lies" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/31). In Atlanta, Mark Bradley writes, "Whenever you saw Pete Rozelle, you’d think, 'There’s the smartest guy in the room.' [Goodell] inspires no such encomium. Goodell will forever seem the office intern who kept getting kicked upstairs until, by luck or osmosis, he was running the place" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/31).

AT THE END OF THE DAY...: In Newark, Steve Politi writes the "simple truth about Goodell’s continued incompetence and the NFL that we can never forget" is that it "just doesn’t matter." The league faces "one controversy after another, and still a record 54 million people still watched the AFC Championship Game." The NFL "keeps humming right along in spite of the empty suit in charge" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/31). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said the NFL has a "really cool formula that allows it to avoid all sorts of controversies without solutions" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 1/30). ESPN's Pablo Torre: "Watching a guy trying to answer to all of his constituency and sounding like a guy who really doesn't have many solutions reminds me ... his job is just to make sure the NFL keeps making money" ("High Noon," ESPN, 1/30).