A major aspect of the NFL's ongoing initiative to create a safer game has been the increased penalty enforcement on contact to the head and neck areas of players considered defenseless.
An unfortunate side effect of this added protection has been the propensity for game officials to mistake a legal hit for something that's not. The speed of the game invites human error into the equation, and the current rules do not allow these type of impact calls to be challenged.
During his exclusive sitdown with NFL Media's Rich Eisen on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," Commissioner Roger Goodell said he's had conversations on the issue with several coaches this season. Goodell expressed his optimism these penalties soon will be reviewable.
"It's a big call, obviously," Goodell said. "We've had some mistakes made on the field where a player used the right techniques and the flag was thrown.
"You don't want that," Goodell added. "You want to encourage them to make the adjustment, which I think players and coaches have done, and we want to make sure we get it right on the field. I believe that will be a reviewable call. I know the committee is going to study that."
Here's what else we took out of the Goodell sitdown:
» The playoff format could change, but Goodell said "it probably wouldn't happen before (2015)." The commissioner explained the league is currently "looking at every alternative" and confirmed the proposed concept of just one bye team in each conference.
» Could the extra point be in danger? It's not as far-fetched as you might think. "There's one proposal in particular that I've heard about." Goodell said. "It's automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six."
»The NFL continues to see a rise in scoring, but Goodell believes the balance remains acceptable. "You have to constantly monitor that, you have to constantly make changes because teams adjust. They adjust offensively, defensively. And you have to be aware of that."
» Goodell confirmed he'll be among the people (and the elements) on Feb. 2 for Super Bowl XLVIII. "We're in New York. It's part of the elements. I want to be outside, I want to be there. I want to experience the whole thing. I think this is going to be one of the most memorable times in my 32-plus years with the NFL. I want to experience it the right way -- I want the authentic experience."