|No exceptions: players can't use cell phones on the sideline during games. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren Wednesday night to talk about the usual fare -- player safety, expansion and the like -- in addition to several issues worth mentioning here.
Van Susteren asked Goodell about the league's decision to fine Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for using a cell phone on the sidelines during a game (that's illegal), even though the call was to Polamalu's wife to let her know he was fine after suffering concussion-like symptoms.
Several days after it happened, head coach Mike Tomlin said Polamalu shouldn't be fined.
"[Troy] had a history of concussion-like symptoms and so forth in the past. [His wife] was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in regards to some of those things. It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account. He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine, and that was it."
Common sense lost out to the unbending interpretation of the rules: Polamalu owes the NFL $10,000.
"Well, I think it's always a problem trying to have a rule that applies to everybody," Goodell began (you can view the interview here). "Troy's a wonderful young man and there was concern about his health and there are ways of us getting word to families when there is an injury, and to make sure they understand that the player is okay. But we also don't want to have all our players using phones on the sidelines for texting."
Goodell did concede that "When someone's injured and you're family, you want to speak to the individual. And you want to hear their voice. You want to make sure they're okay. And that's something that probably could've happened by taking him off the field and allowing him access to be able to call his wife."
The lesson? The rules apply to everyone … except, you know, when they don't.
Van Susteren, a long-time Packers shareholder, also asked the commissioner about whether the organization would sell more shares.
"I think so," Goodell said. "As you well know as a season ticket holder and an owner, they are trying to expand the stadium. They will add probably six or seven thousand more seats for fans, which I think there's a great demand for that. And as part of that, we will likely approve another issuing of the stock so you'll have a chance to buy some more."
Van Susteren warned that Goodell shouldn't get any ideas about putting a dome on Lambeau Field. "We take great pride in suffering through that snow and cold," she said.
"You're not going to hear that suggestion from me," the commissioner responded. "I also love to see football played in the elements. That's what the game's all about … and I think the experience of going up there in Lambeau in the elements is a great thing in football."
The New England Patriots will travel to Heinz Field to square off against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan to preview this intense showdown. Watch the game on CBS at 4:15 PM ET.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.