Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the quality of officiating in the NFL and raised the possibility of flex scheduling for "Thursday Night Football" at his annual Super Bowl press conference.
Touching on a variety of subjects Wednesday, Goodell addressed the increased scrutiny on officiating that has taken place following the AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and Bengals. There was a procedural mistake by the officials in that game, which led to a third down being replayed. In addition, there were several debatable calls and non-calls during critical moments of the game, but Goodell said he believes the league's games are being officiated at a high level.
Other topics the commissioner addressed included:
- Goodell raised the possibility that flex scheduling could be coming to "Thursday Night Football" in the not-distant future. Beginning in 2023, there will be flex scheduling for "Monday Night Football" from Weeks 14-18. Flex scheduling has been implemented for "Sunday Night Football" since 2006 during later weeks of the season. This past season, the Ravens-Steelers game in Week 17 at M&T Bank Stadium was flexed to "Sunday Night Football. "
- Goodell said he was pleased with the new Pro Bowl Games format and that it's likely here to stay. He added that the NFL would look to grow flag football globally.
- Goodell was asked several questions about the NFL's hiring practices in regard to diversity. One Black head coach has been added to the ranks this offseason – Texans Head Coach DeMeco Ryans, along with one Black General Manager, Ran Carthon of the Titans. The Cardinals and Colts had yet to fill their head coach vacancies as of Wednesday afternoon. Goodell said "there's more work ahead of us" in regard to the league's hiring practices relating to minorities and women.
- Goodell said the NFL would continue its efforts to expand globally, after positive reaction to the first regular-season game held in Germany in 2022.