Extra Points: State of denial

Phoenix, AZ ( - It didn't take Nostradamus to predict what was going to happen Friday when Roger Goodell finally met the media for his annual state of the league address two days prior to Super Bowl XLIX.

The sharks were swimming, lambasting the commissioner for what can only be described as his dismal job performance over the past year, which now has the league he pilots perpetually stuck in the mud.

It doesn't matter what the controversy or scandal is these days, Goodell's past ineptitude has robbed him of any credibility, and the default setting for most of the general public is to now assume the NFL is going to get it wrong because the guy at the top has proven to be ineffective time and time again.

Goodell admitted that the 2014 season, during which he's endured heavy criticism for his handling of a number of league matters -- most notably the domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice -- "has been a tough year on me personally."

"It's been a year of humility and learning," he stated. "We obviously as an organization have gone through adversity. We take it seriously, It's an opportunity for us to get better.

"So we've all done a lot of soul searching, starting with yours truly."

That lip service has been heard before and didn't stop the onslaught with one reporter asking point blank if there were any set of circumstances that would lead him to resign.

To no surprise the guy who gets the $44 million stipend and still has the backing of the only 32 people who really matter -- the NFL owners -- almost laughed it off.

"No, I can't (imagine resigning)," he said. "Does that surprise you?"

It shouldn't take anyone off guard.

Lack of self awareness is a tangible Goodell trait as he is seemingly immune to the fact he has become the story.

For instance, on the surface Deflategate is about the New England Patriots but no matter the outcome, the result is going to be questioned because the guy in charge is no longer trustworthy.

One reporter asked the commissioner if his close relationship with New England owner Robert Kraft could potentially impact the league's investigation over the Pats' use of improperly deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game.

"I admire, respect and think very highly of him on a personal level. There's no hiding from that point," said Goodell of Kraft. "Since he knows me so well and knows that I'm not going to do anything to compromise the integrity of the league, I think he has no doubt that I will do the right thing."

Kraft may have no doubt but plenty of others do.

There's an adage that says if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging but neither the NFL nor Goodell has figured that out.

"A lot of the concerns that we had back in August where we didn't have a policy that addressed a very complex issue (domestic violence)," Goodell said. "We didn't have answers for that. We didn't fully understand those issues. Now we have experts in the field. They're in our office. They're helping us understand this."

Talk about disingenuous.

First off the league certainly had a personal-conduct policy in place to address those kinds of matters and Goodell used his power to punish Rice poorly. Claiming there was no policy for a complex issue is moving the goal posts to hoodwink the low-information crowd.

And perhaps more importantly does anyone other than Goodell really need help understanding what Rice did?

On its surface, Goodell's dodge-and-parry routine is insulting as is his insistence that a "new personal-conduct policy" unilaterally approved by the owners without collectively bargaining with the players is some kind of panacea.

"We set out to create a new personal conduct policy, which was unanimously approved by our 32 owners in December," Goodell said. "We made enormous progress. The things we didn't know and where we were in August, are not where we are today. We're in a good place in knowing and learning and having a lot more humility."

Trust me, humility is the last adjective most would use to describe Goodell.

Hubris is a better one as evidenced by this declarative statement:

"This is my job. It's my responsibility to protect the integrity of the game," Goodell said.

By your own standards, you've failed miserably Mr. Commissioner, and that's why Friday's state of the league address was nothing more than a state of denial.