The NFL commissioner reminisces on the failures of the 2014 season: and how his decision making needs to be improved in order to move forward in a new Bleacher Report’s exclusive with Roger Goodell. And while he does not address the Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson case specifically, he realizes that this season was a teaching process.

“It’s a learning year. We stress that in our organization all the time, about learning and getting better. That’s a focus that we always have. As I look back at this year, I continue to see the game get better, get stronger, get safer. We’re protecting our players from unnecessary injuries. We like the way we’re integrating technology into the game. We saw it with instant replay this year, and we saw it with tablets on the sidelines, and I think that will continue to accelerate and bring technology into the game and innovate further… The last thing I would focus on is our organization and how we take that opportunity to learn and get better. While we’ve had challenges, we’ve learned from them and we are a better organization for it,” Goodell stated.

And when asked about the NFL’s lofty standards in the wake of 2014’s incidents, Goodell responded optimistically: “But that is what I meant when I said people hold the NFL to a higher standard. Yes, maybe that has a negative when you don’t hit that bar. But we embrace that. We don’t want to have it any other way. People expect a lot from us, and we have to deliver on it. That drives us.”

Goodell claims that the drastic events of his nine years as commissioner was wildly unpredictable and no person could have fully prepared for it. “No. I have to admit, I couldn’t have imagined some of the things that have happened over the nine seasons. I don’t know if there was anyone who had a better insight having been in the league for over 25 years… But you never know until you’re in that seat… It’s challenging, it’s exciting.”

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Now, while this interview does not change my opinions about the over-abundance of pass interference penalties — which has hurt the game — it does provide a semi-human face to the commissioner: a person who has been dubbed the villain of sports. But perhaps this scoundrel persona is a moniker that all commissioners have to adopt to get their jobs done: at least, Goodell is indirectly admitting the NFL made some poor decisions this past season.

Fallible humans run organization, meaning mistakes will be made: but the lack of accountability is what has hurt the commissioner and the NFL. Does this place an adequate amount of liability on the league, especially with how they handled situations? Or is the media to blame for still talking about the Ray Rice, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson situations? At least the league has been actively pursuing means to improve their policies: yes, they did so to save face, yet it has made the NFL a stronger organization for it.

For the whole exclusive interview, go over to Bleacher Report.

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