The NFL is in a constant state of change. That much has been clear for a some time now. The risk of injury has come to the forefront, and the days of wild, uncontrolled collisions are over. The NFL has adapted to a changing landscape that now involves constant lawsuits and concerned players.
While giving a speech at the University of North Carolina, Goodell acknowledged the NFL's need to continue to adapt quickly to change if it wanted to continue its success.
"If there’s any single reason for the incredible success of the NFL, it’s because we’ve never allowed ourselves to be complacent about anything," Goodell said. "There is a national conversation taking place about football. We welcome it. That’s how we approach our jobs every day: Looking at changes to the game not as something to be feared, but as something we need to do as if the future of the game relies on it. Because it does. The risk of injury in football is well known, but throughout history, football has evolved and become safer and better."
The NFL has been forced to adapt far more quickly than other sports in recent years. That much is obvious. In no other major sport is injuries as prevalent and concerning. Yes, a hockey player subjects themselves to a great deal of hits and physical abuse, but the risk for non-head injuries seems lower because low hits aren't a legal part of the game.
Goodell is correct in his assessment that the NFL must change, but the question then become, how much change is necessary? If the NFL morphs too much, they risk losing fans due to a reduction in the violent aspects of the game, and let's be honest, the violent aspects are a big reason for the NFL's success.
In his speech, Goodell also pointed out that concussions are not a just a football issue. They apply to all sports and all walks of life. If the NFL can do its part in concussion research, that gained knowledge will help everyone, not just football players, and that's important to keep in mind as the NFL continues to change.