Kickoffs can make for thrilling plays and exciting TV. Yet Goodell presides over a league that has seen growing scrutiny over players' head injuries. Increasing numbers of cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy are emerging in former NFL players.
Reconciling player safety with preserving the game is a "balancing act," Goodell told TIME.
But he's apparently been receptive to outside-the-box ideas.
During a meeting between Goodell and NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay, Goodell brought up a radical idea to replace the kickoff, proposed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Greg Schiano. Schiano's proposal was essentially to replace kickoffs with punts. After a touchdown or field goal, instead of the ensuing kickoff, the scoring team would get the ball on its own 30-yard line, where it's fourth and 15. The team would have the option to try to get a first down or punt. If it fails to get the first down, the other team gets the ball on downs.
"It's an off-the-wall idea," Goodell told TIME, "but it's different and makes you think differently."