Roger Goodell addresses the media Friday in his annual pre-Super Bowl address. (Erik Lesser / EPA )
Although President Obama said he'd have to "think long and hard" about letting a son play football, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he'd have no reservations about letting a son play the game.
Now, neither the president nor the commissioner has a son. They each have two daughters. But with the recent focus on violence and safety in football, the issue has been at the forefront of the national conversation.
“I couldn't be more optimistic about it because the game of football has always evolved,” Goodell said Sunday. “Through the years, through the decades, we've made changes to our game, to make it safer, to make it more exciting, to make it a better game for the players, for the fans, and we have done that in a very calculated fashion.”
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When host Bob Schieffer asked if the risk of a head injury would deter Goodell from letting a son play football, he answered with an emphatic "no."
Goodell and NFL leaders have come under fire for not admitting that there is a connection between head injuries and medical problems suffered by retired players. The commissioner did say on the show Sunday that the league continues to fund research projects to learn more about the risks of the game and how to change the rules to protect the safety of the players.
In his pre-Super Bowl address in New Orleans on Friday, Goodell said the league is looking at creating a "strike zone" that would make it illegal to hit a player in the head or knees.
"It's important for us to find, is there a better way of doing what we're doing?" he said. "We are focused on that with the competition committee. ... There's no question that we're trying to get back to the fundamentals of tackling. The No. 1 issue is, take the head out of the game.
"I think we've seen in the last several decades that players are using their head more than they have in the past. The helmets are better, and they feel safer using their heads. The facemasks. But the reality is, we have to get back to that tackling. Using the shoulders, using the arms properly. And there is a strike zone."
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