NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expects HGH drug testing for 2013, while the Harbaugh brothers prep for the big game.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 1, 2013) (NFL INTERNATIONAL) - The National Football League (NFL) is determined to push ahead with a range of stricter rules for dangerous play and doping to improve player safety, CommissionerRoger Goodell said on Friday (February 1).
Despite facing ongoing criticism from players and their union, Goodell used his annual address on the state of the game to reinforce the league's commitment to making changes.
"The issue of player health and safety has always been a priority and will continue to be a priority," he told a packed news conference ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.
"I'll do anything to make the game safer and better."
The commissioner said he was determined to press for the introduction of a tougher new doping program, including the implementation of blood tests for human growth hormone (HGH).
"I believe HGH testing will happen before the 2013 NFL season," Goodell said.
"It's the right thing to do for the players and it's the right thing to do to send a message to everyone else in sports. The science is there. We need to get to that agreement."
Goodell said the league also wanted to crack down on dangerous tackles, particularly around the head and neck area, and would consider eliminating some low blocks.
"So, taking these hits out of the game can be positive," he said, adding that he wanted repeated offenders suspended to get the message through.
"The most effective way of doing that, and I'm not for it because we want to see all our players on the field, is when there are repeat offenders and they are taking . . . involved with these dangerous techniques, that we're going to have to take them off the field."
Goodell said most of the changes the league wanted to implement had already been agreed with the NFL Players Association during the last collective bargaining agreement (CBA), but the sides were still divided on how to implement them.
Also speaking to the media were the coaches of the opposing teams, brothers Jim andJohn Harbaugh, neither of whom wanted to contemplate defeat, but each knowing that some one in the family is going to lose.
"Yes, you do think about it. Obviously, in any game it's something you think about," said John, the Ravens coach.
"Every coach, every player, everybody in the organization -- when you win, everybody. . . it's jubilation, and when you lose it's just bitter disappointment because there's so much that goes into it. And it'll be no different in this game, probably even on a greater scale because of the opportunity to win the championship," he finished.
The 47th edition of the Super Bowl will be played on Sunday, February 3.