NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell engaged in a wide-ranging interview with NBC Sports announcer Mike Tirico on Wednesday morning at the Visit Detroit Annual Partnership Meeting, touching on various subjects including the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit and, inevitably, the state of NFL officiating.
Given the local sentiment in Detroit — a city that often feels aggrieved by NFL officiating decisions — it was fitting that the topic arose during the discussion. Despite this, both Tirico and Goodell emphasized the unfair expectation of perfection placed on NFL officials, while acknowledging that everyone else in the game is allowed their share of mistakes.
“They’re doing an extraordinary job; they aren’t perfect. You know, they’re making decisions out there in a matter of seconds, but what we’ve seen in a variety of circumstances this year, without getting into any specifics, is they get it right and they’re still criticized,” Goodell told Tirico. He added, “They are the hardest working people I see and they take great pride in it.”
While it would be unreasonable to expect Goodell to criticize officials publicly, particularly during the playoffs, his defense of their efforts is welcomed. Further, it echoes his remarks prior to last year’s Super Bowl. Nevertheless, the NFL and the Commissioner will likely use the offseason to look at ways to improve NFL officiating through rule changes, technology implementation, and potentially, personnel changes.