NEW ORLEANS — Any hopes for Boston, or any other cold-weather city, hosting a Super Bowl will likely be contingent on how the New York/New Jersey area handles Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.
“Undoubtedly the game next year is going to have an impact on future decisions for open-air, cold-weather sites,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at his annual state of the league news conference Friday. “We believe, though, in the New York/New Jersey market. We think it’s going to be a fantastic event.
“I have said many times before, and I believe the membership has supported this through their vote of awarding the Super Bowl there, that not only is the community prepared for this, they have a great stadium with two teams.
“The plans that have been developed for the Super Bowl, I think, are extraordinary. They’re just beginning to be released. And we will be prepared for the weather factors. This community can do that.”
Some players and coaches don’t like the idea of holding the NFL’s ultimate game in poor weather. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said this week the idea of a cold-weather Super Bowl was “stupid.” Goodell embraces the elements — probably because he has no choice.
“The game of football is made to be played in the elements,” Goodell said. “Now, we hope they’re not extreme, but we’ll be prepared for that if that’s the case. Some of our most classic games were played in extreme weather conditions. Some of the games that I look back as a fan and say, ‘That was fun.’
“So I’m confident that the people of New York and New Jersey, the two teams [and] the host committee are going to do an extraordinary job next year. We’re looking forward to it.”
Some of the other topics Goodell hit on:
It was “not acceptable” that there were no minorities hired among the 15 new coaches and general managers. “The Rooney Rule has been very effective,” he said. “We have to look to see what the next generation is. We have to take it to another level.”
He’s hopeful the NFL and the NFL Players Association will have HGH testing before the 2013 season, though Goodell has said that before.
The NFLPA wants Goodell to relinquish some of his power to discipline, but he doesn’t intend to. “That is not something we’re going to relent on,” he said. “That is the commissioner’s role. You can hold me accountable.”
Goodell intends to make suspensions more a part of the penalties for players that are repeat offenders when it comes to unnecessary roughness. “We’re going to have to see discipline escalate,” he said. “When you’re involved in dangerous techniques, we’re going to have to take them off the field. Suspension gets through to them.”
Goodell said the NFL needs to get back to the “fundamentals of tackling” with the top goal being, “We need to take the head out of the game,” he said.
There will be independent neurologists on the sideline next season.
Goodell was “disappointed” that 78 percent of players don’t trust their team’s medical staff. “I think we have tremendous medical care for our players,” he said. “These are not just team doctors. These doctors are affiliated with the best medical institutions in the world. Now, we will always seek to improve it. We will always seek to figure out how we can do things better, provide better medical care, but I think it’s extraordinary.”
Goodell has no regrets about the sanctions imposed on the Saints in the bounty scandal. “Let me just take a moment and get back and make sure everyone is clear on the record: There is no question there was a bounty program in place for three years,” Goodell said. “I think that that is bad for the players, for the game, and I think the message is incredibly clear, and I don’t believe that bounties will be part of football going forward. That’s good for everybody. I do think that message has come through clear.”
Jim Harbaugh isn’t just coaching against his brother John on Sunday, he’s also coaching against his son: Jay Harbaugh, his oldest, is a coaching intern with the Ravens.
“I’m really thankful and proud at the same time that Jay is doing what he loves to do,” Jim said. “That is a real blessing and he’s doing it with the Baltimore Ravens, a tremendous organization, great coaches around to mentor him and teach him, especially John being there and hiring him.
“I hear he’s doing a phenomenal job, which again, I’m really proud of. This week I haven’t been calling him or anything. I’ve sent him a few texts just letting him know how I feel about him, and I don’t want to give reason for people to think I’m talking to him.”
John said his nephew has been “far better than we anticipated and I knew he would be great at what he does.”
In a break from tradition, Jim and John held their final press conference of the week together, with John essentially serving as moderator.
Even though the Ravens have 14 players on their injury report and the 49ers 13, all listed were deemed probable for Sunday . . . In an impromptu news conference, SWATS owner Mitch Ross — the man who said Ray Lewis used the banned substance deer antler spray as part of his recovery — said former Patriots and current Ravens defensive back James Ihedigbo is one of his clients. Ross said he sent “chips” from his company to Ihedigbo when he played in New England. But the NFL does not ban the chips, which are essentially holographic stickers placed on pulse points to allegedly give the user more energy.