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A Humbled Roger Goodell Delivers State of the NFL Address

PHOENIX—Deflate-gate and Marshawn Lynch’s unusual behavior with the media at the Super Bowl played as two hot topics in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s State of the NFL press conference Friday at the Phoenix Convention Center.

A humbled commissioner, minus the fake-snow special effects that accompanied his address in Manhattan before last season’s Super Bowl, acknowledged a “tough year.” Goodell revealed that the three London games next season will provide fans a quadruple header of games on Sundays, the league’s consideration of expanding instant replay, and that changes to extra points may be coming.

“We are focusing principally on two questions,” Goodell said of the Deflate-gate investigation. “Why were some footballs used in the game that were not in compliance with the rules? And was this the result of deliberate action?

No matter how many times Goddell was asked about “Deflate-gate” in his presser, he refused to speculate on what might have happened. He wants to wait until Ted Wells finishes his report.

“I want to emphasize we have made no judgment on these points and will not compromise the investigation by engaging in speculation,” the commissioner maintained. “When Ted Wells has completed his investigation and made his determination based on all the facts and relevant evidence, we will share the report publicly.”

As for Lynch, Goodell clearly isn’t happy that the Seahawks running back made a mockery of his Super Bowl media obligations, such as on Tuesday’s Media Day, when he wouldn’t deal with questions, but kept repeating, like a parrot, “I’m here so I won’t get fined.”

“It is part of your job and there are things we have to do in our jobs we might not necessarily want to do,” Goodell said. “I understand that talking to the media might not be at the top of his list, but everyone else is cooperating, doing their part, because it’s our obligation, and like I said, there are a lot of things we don’t like to do in our jobs, but it comes with the territory.”

Goodell isn’t thrilled with Lynch’s approach. But the league will not punish the running back because he showed up and talked, even though the media wasn’t thrilled with his “answers.”

The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement requires all NFL players to cooperate with the media, and if they don’t, repeatedly, they will get fined.

The NFL fined Lynch $100,000 early this year for consistently ducking his media responsibilities.

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