By ROB MAADDI & BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writers
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Lessons learned from 2020 will be needed as the NFL moves forward, commissioner Roger Goodell noted Thursday in his annual State of the League news conference.
Both were held in person and before a virtual audience and staged outside the Tampa Bay Lightning’s home ground, Goodall said, from battling minority coaching to tackling the epidemic to ties to working with the NFL’s players union Take forward work as major subjects.
“I don’t know when the normal will happen again or if the normal will happen again,” he said. “I know we’ve learned to work in a very difficult environment, and we’ll do it again. It’s the one thing we learned … The club and the NFLPA said that our relationship has never been stronger. I explain. That as a trust that has been built here that will take us forward and be a long-lasting legacy of this season. ”
On the positive side, that legacy may not include some of the other major sports leagues and organizations: playing a full season, uninterrupted, with the championship game on time despite COVID-19 issues.
“It was a concerted collective effort,” Goodell said. “There are a lot of people who had to work together to accomplish this. There were people who doubted, didn’t believe we could do this, we had too many unknowns. We believed that to stay on schedule and work to try to get 256 games as we try to say, ‘avoid asterisk,’ I think we were able to do that. ”
But the downside of the legacy, one that has plagued a league made up of 70% minority players, has been the head coach hiring cycle. Goodell said the league is not satisfied with only two minors appointed to inaugurate seven head coaches: the New York Jets hired Robert Saleh, the first NFL coach known as the son of Muslim and Lebanese immigrants. And Houston David Coolie, the third Black Current head coach of the Making Only League.
“We had two minority coaches and this was not what we expected,” the commissioner said.
Goodell said three African-American general managers were hired, also seeing more diversity among the coordinators, something the NFL might build. Asked if there would be no charge on head coaches until the Super Bowl was discussed, Goodall said everything that would increase diversity would be explored.
Wilner reported from New York. AP Pro Football Writers Teresa M. Walker, Simmi Buttar, Josh Dubow and Arnie Stapleton contributed.
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