HOUSTON — If you think NFL games take too long to play, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell agrees with you. And he’d like to do something about it.
Goodell said the league will look at several ways to improve the pace of NFL games by seeing if the instant replay system can be sped up, by shortening the time between extra points and kickoffs and reducing the frequency of television timeouts.
“We have been focused on this long before this year,” Goodell said Wednesday at his state of the NFL news conference during Super Bowl week. “What we’re trying to do is make our product as exciting, our games as exciting and action-packed as possible. We have not dismissed any theories about how we can engage our fans.”
Goodell said it’s possible the referee will look at a tablet instead of the replay machine during replay reviews, and also said it was possible the league would use a clock between extra points and kickoffs to shave some time off games. He said the league is also looking to cut down on the number of television timeouts in each half.
Goodell addressed several other league-wide issues:
* He announced that the NFL would hold a game next season in Mexico between the Patriots and Raiders.
* The league remains “very committed” to its Thursday Night Football package, and cited statistics that run counter to a perception that the quick turnaround for Thursday games results in more injuries. He said injury rates are actually slightly lower in Thursday games compared to games played on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
* Goodell declined to address his feelings on President Donald Trump’s recent executive order for a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. He also said he was unaware of the league omitting any references to Trump in transcripts of interviews with players and coaches. Trump himself was quoted in a New York Times article that was posted online Wednesday, calling Goodell a “weak guy. When he made the Ray Rice deal, everybody said: You’re stupid. You’re weak. And it was such a weak deal. So now he’s going overboard with their star, [Tom] Brady . . . The commissioner is a dope. He’s a stupid guy.”
* Goodell said an investigation into domestic-violence allegations against Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was ongoing. “I am not putting any pressure on our investigators. We have highly-trained investigators on this. We want them to be thorough and we want them to be fair, and when they come to a decision, they’ll let us know. But right now, there is no timetable.”
He added that there is still an ongoing investigation into former Giants kicker Josh Brown’s domestic-violence case that resulted in a one-game suspension in 2016. The Giants subsequently released Brown after court documents revealed he had admitted to frequently abusing his wife.
* Goodell confirmed that former president George H. W. Bush, who was recently released from a Houston hospital, will perform the opening coin flip for the Super Bowl.
* Goodell said no decision has been made on Las Vegas as a potential destination for the Raiders. Reports of a recent collapse of a stadium financing plan may complicate the move.
* Goodell said any move by a team into the San Diego market, which was vacated when the Chargers moved to Los Angeles last month, would only be made if stadium issues could be resolved.