The NFL ran an experiment of sorts in Super Bowl XLVIII, allowing New Jersey to host the Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium. Roger Goodell (or at least the league's owners) apparently didn't love the results of that experiment. At a recent fan forum in Baltimore, Goodell addressed the dilemma of football vs. the elements.
"We want the game to be played in perfect conditions," he said, per the Baltimore Sun. "Do you want the elements to impact it? I personally love football in the elements. I think that's what makes it so special. So I love that part of it, but I also understand the issue of wanting to put on an event where we probably have 150 to 200,000 people. It's really tough to do, and it put a lot of stress on smaller communities. If you guys want to make a bid, I'm sure the ownership is going to take a good, hard look at it."
It's hard not to sympathize with Goodell on this issue. Fans love snow games. Just look at the reaction to the absolutely insane Snow Bowl that the Eagles and Lions played back in 2013. And teams with outdoor stadiums in cold-weather markets would love to be able to host the Super Bowl. However, the thought of the NFL's championship game being lost on a flukey play due to cold or otherwise adverse conditions isn't one that most fans want to entertain. Super Bowl XLVIII kicked off at 49 degrees, the coldest Super Bowl kickoff temperature since Super Bowl VI (a balmy 39 degrees at kickoff) in New Orleans, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's website.
Goodell also addressed teams tanking or, rather, his belief that no NFL team does it.
"I don't think any team tanks, I really don't," he said at the Jets training camp in New Jersey. The irony of Goodell making these claims at the Jets' camp is rich, as the Jets have been met with some sideways glances for some offseason moves, including the late release of wide receiver Eric Decker despite a less-than-ideal receiving situation.
Goodell also said: "I think teams, depending on where you are, go through transitions. They are looking to sort of say, 'We need to build more talent here, we'll do it through the draft. Let's let some of our veteran players go and develop some of our younger players.' That's always been part of football. That's always been part of sports. ... Every team does that differently."
What Goodell is describing is, of course, the dreaded "rebuilding phase" that every team must sometimes confront. Although some teams may get worse, it's the argument that it's all part of a grand design on the part of the front office. It may be a form of tanking, but it isn't intentionally losing games to lose them, which is the point that Goodell is trying to convey.