NFL notebook: Goodell aims to share blame on player safety
BY Associated Press
Saturday, February 02, 2013
2/02/13 at 2:56 AM
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to share the blame.
"Safety," he said at his annual Super Bowl news conference, "is all of our responsibilities."
The topics of player health and improved safety dominated Goodell's 45-minute session Friday. And he often sounded like someone seeking to point out that players or others are at fault for some of the sport's problems - and need to help fix them.
"I'll stand up. I'll be accountable. It's part of my responsibility. I'll do everything," Goodell said. "But the players have to do it. The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it. Our medical professionals have to do it."
Injuries from hits to the head or to the knees, Goodell noted, can result from improper tackling techniques used by players and taught by coaches.
And asked about the New Orleans Saints bounty investigation, Goodell replied: "My biggest regret is that we aren't all recognizing that this is a collective responsibility to get (bounties) out of the game, to make the game safer. Clearly the team, the NFL, the coaching staffs, executives and players, we all share that responsibility."
Drinking and driving by NFL players is another problem Goodell wants to address.
"The reality is we have to do a better job of educating people in the NFL that this is a priority: 'This is for your safety, for the safety of the people in your car and for innocent people that are out there.' There are services designed to help them," Goodell said. "... We have to make sure that they understand those services, and most importantly, take advantage of them."
Taking after mom: Jack Harbaugh's influence on his sons is well known. The football world learned Friday that Jackie Harbaugh played just as big a role when John and Jim were growing up.
Perhaps even bigger.
"She was with us every day. Dad worked a lot," John Harbaugh said Friday during a unique joint news conference with the opposing Super Bowl coach, his brother Jim. "When he was around we would hang out with dad, but mom took us to practices and all that. Mom was with us all the time."
The Harbaugh brothers are notoriously fierce competitors - just watch them on the sidelines Sunday - and Jim said that comes from their mother.
"There's nobody in our family that has more competitive fire than my mother. She competes like a maniac," Jim Harbaugh said.
But it was their mother's fierce loyalty that has left the biggest impact.
The Harbaughs moved often as Jack Harbaugh climbed the college coaching ranks, and Jackie Harbaugh made sure her children knew there was always one constant in their lives.
"No one would fight harder for us than our mom, no matter what the situation was, or teach us how to have each other's back and be there for one another," John Harbaugh said.
Concussion legislation: As Super Bowl weekend arrived in New Orleans, lawmakers in the nation's capital hailed the NFL's decision to endorse legislation aimed at regulating youth sports equipment.
The federal Youth Sports Concussion Act aims to ensure youth sports equipment is manufactured according to safety standards derived from the latest scientific research.
"We can absolutely make it safer for athletes of all ages to enjoy the sports they love to play," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who is sponsoring the bill along with Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). "I'm glad the NFL is supporting our efforts to protect young athletes ."
The bill also would increase penalties for equipment companies making false injury prevention claims.