NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to reporters on Tuesday following the NFL’s owners meeting in Atlanta, discussing several topics, including the Saints' bounty scandal and the future of the Pro Bowl.
Goodell said that he has not made a ruling on the appeals of Saints LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Will Smith, along with Packers DE Anthony Hargrove and Browns LB Scott Fujita. The commissioner is waiting for the process to be completed and all of the arguments from the players to be made. He did add that, at some point, proof that the Saints paid players for vicious hits and injuring opponents will be made public.
When asked if he had a response to the lawsuit that Vilma has filed against him, Goodell said he had no comment at this time.
In terms of the Pro Bowl, the commissioner said he is still having discussions with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith on how to make the game more competitive and entertaining. Last season’s all-star game drew a number of complaints from both players and fans, and Goodell wants to improve the quality of play overall. There have been talks that the 2013 Pro Bowl would be played in New Orleans the week before Super Bowl XLVII, though everything related to the game’s future is still to be determined, according to Goodell.
Goodell also discussed stadiums, including the league’s plan to make every venue around the league more Wi-Fi-friendly. Because of technology on cell phones and tablets, fans want to stay connected while attending games live, and the league wants to do a better job of accommodating those demands.
Related to that topic, the commissioner mentioned the new stadium projects in San Francisco and Minnesota, the building renovations in Green Bay and Pittsburgh, and the possibility of a new home stadium for the Falcons in Atlanta. Goodell stated that, with all the new venues around the NFL, it is impossible to guarantee each new building will be able to host a Super Bowl, though that is clearly an incentive for many communities to use taxpayer money to build the stadiums.
On the issue of health and player safety, Goodell said the league believes it will limit injuries with the new rule that will require players to wear knee and thigh pads, starting in 2013. He also said the league is exploring options to assist players following retirement, following the recent suicide of Junior Seau.
"We want to be there to help our players," Goodell said.