Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/5/14
Roger Goodell takes a lot of heat for being stubborn and autocratic, but nobody considers that the NFL commissioner -- named by Sports Illustrated this week as the most powerful person in sports -- might actually just have a vision of football's future that is less arrogant than the majority of the game's supporters and participants.  I actually tend to believe that Goodell's heavy emphasis on changing the game, particularly when it comes to player safety, is actually an indication that he's modest about the future of America's most popular sport. He knows that boxing and many sports before it once owned the North American sports landscape, and he knows extinction is always a potential future scenario, especially when a sport is inherently violent.  Football is not too big to fail, and I think Goodell realizes that.  “If there’s any single reason for the incredible success of the NFL, it’s because we’ve never allowed ourselves to be complacent about anything,” Goodell said in a speech at the University of North Carolina on Wednesday, per Pro Football Talk. “There is a national conversation taking place about football. We welcome it. That’s how we approach our jobs every day: Looking at changes to the game not as something to be feared, but as something we need to do as if the future of the game relies on it. Because it does. The risk of injury in football is well known, but throughout history, football has evolved and become safer and better.” Evolution is the key. Football has wiggle room to evolve. That's an advantage that it shares with hockey. Boxing wasn't as fortunate. Gladiators and bullfighters weren't either.  The NFL will not survive as is. Rules change. They have to as more facts regarding concussions and the devastating long-term effects of injuries are revealed. Professional football is at a crossroads, but the majority of old-school fans are so set in their ways and/or caught up in right now that they don't see that the National Football League is face-to-face with changes that could either revolutionize the game or break the game, depending on who you ask.  Goodell might piss a lot of people off right now, but he might actually be saving professional football in the process.  (SI cover image comparison to Game of Thrones via Reddit)
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

Phillies GM told Ryan Howard team is better off without him

Report: Browns interested in drafting Marcus Mariota

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

Izzo criticizes coaches, players after embarrassing loss

Report: Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

Is Rampage Jackson heading back to the UFC?

WATCH: DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles after win

Michael Vick: Jameis Winston is the future of the NFL

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

WATCH: South Alabama coach bloodied after kick to the face

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.