By Steve Silverman
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Roger Goodell knows how to take everybody's mind off his last foolish decision.
He does this by making his next foolish decision.
This week, his decision to suspend New Orleans Saints players for their role in the Bountygate controversy was overturned by his predecessor Paul Tagliabue.
It was as if grandpa walked in the house, grabbed Goodell by the ear, took him to the woodshed and gave him a good spanking.
But just days after Tagliabue had given Goodell his lesson, he managed to take everyone's minds off that mistake by making another big suggestion to change to the game.
Goodell wants to turn the NFL playoffs into the NBA or NHL playoffs by adding more playoff games.
While it does work well in the two winter sports to start out the postseason with the No. 1 seed in each conference playing the No. 8 seed and eliminating half the teams in the playoffs in each round that gets completed, it's not the way to go in football.
Especially when the side story throughout much of the last three seasons has been eliminating player injuries – specifically concussions – and other serious injuries.
Goodell has the most successful league in the world and he is constantly looking to tweak the game of football.
His idea about eliminating kickoffs earlier this season is simply ludicrous. While the NFL is way ahead of Major League Baseball on all the opinion polls and the average Sunday night football game regularly outrates the average World Series game, you don't see Bud Selig coming out with new rules for baseball every year or so.
Goodell has seen a few badly played Pro Bowl games, so he wants to eliminate the NFL's version of the All-Star game. OK, that game regularly is a walk in the park for the players. Who cares? After a season of banging heads and bodies, the players get rewarded for their excellence with an all-expense trip to Hawaii to spend time with their equals. That's not a bad thing.
You don't have to get rid of the game just because it's a skills competition.
You don't eliminate kickoffs when they are a basic part of the game.
You don't reward even more mediocrity by letting average, below average or even poor teams into the playoffs.
Why the need to change something that is already working so well from an entertainment perspective?
If you want something to work on, go back to the design of the helmets and shoulder pads and work on redesigning them.
There is nothing Goodell can do to make football a safe game. Football will never be a safe game, particularly when it is played at the NFL level.
Every player in the league knows he is taking a chance of getting injured badly by playing the game. Concussions, catastrophic injuries and a shorter life expectancy has been associated with pro football. This part is not going to change by eliminating kickoffs.
Adding playoff teams won't improve a game that already attracts fans in record numbers.
Goodell is a scattershot leader. He seems to let the ideas flow out of his mouth without thinking about them fully. He's nearly at the point where you can't take him seriously.
Has Goodell lost his respectability? Let us know...
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