Watch Goodell’s full interview on THE HERD here:

Goodell on why he didn’t attend the AFC Championship Game (CLIP):
We had two great games. I was in Boston two years ago for the Divisional and the Championship games. I try to get to as many stadiums as I can, but you know we had two great games. You’ve got to choose, and frankly the focus should be on the players, the coaches and the great game. That’s the way it was this weekend, and that’s the way it should be.

Goodell on his relationship with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft:
I wouldn’t be doing my job if somebody wasn’t unhappy with a decision that you make or where you’re doing it. Robert and I can disagree about things – we have a healthy respect for one another, but that’s true with any owner. That doesn’t affect my relationship or the fact that we work together to try to make the NFL better, ultimately. That’s the most important thing for us. I can’t agree with everybody at every moment, and I shouldn’t. You know, a lot of these issues can be issues between teams. We, obviously, in many cases have to discipline our clubs. That’s part of the process, and we do that with a large number of our clubs when there are violations of policy. But it’s not personal; it’s professional and it’s to make sure we’re doing everything to protect the great game we have and promote it.

Goodell on if handing the Lombardi trophy to Tom Brady might be uncomfortable (CLIP):
Not for a second. This is one of the great opportunities – we have two dominant teams playing in the Super Bowl. The Patriots and the Falcons have both earned the opportunity to be there – they deserve it – and whoever wins that championship is going to have to earn it because these are great teams, so I’m going to be thrilled. Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats; he has been for several years. He’s on the precipice of at least potentially winning his fifth Super Bowl ring. He’s an extraordinary player, a great performer and a sure-fire Hall of Famer, so it’d be an honor.

Goodell says the NFL has taken a less punitive approach to marijuana:
We’ve had several conversations about this issue and, in fact, two years ago we did take a less punitive approach to marijuana. This is part of it. This is a collective drug program that we have with the Players Association and the NFL. And we’ll always seek to try to find a better way to do things and to see if the policy needs to be modified, as we did two years ago. That will be one of the subjects obviously that we’ll have in the collective bargaining process, which we would like to get into sooner rather than later.

Goodell address safety concerns surrounding Thursday Night Football:
“On safety, we’ve been tracking this every year, and there has not been any, any indication, facts or anything else that would indicate that the level of injuries are up on Thursday night. Of course, playing a game like football you’re going to be sore the next morning. Yes, of course, we always take that into consideration, and that’s one of the things why we walked very slowly into this as we built Thursday Night Football. We started off with eight games, and we’ve built it up. And it’s something we’ll continue to look at – how do we do the scheduling, as an example. Should we have people flying on Sunday night, returning and then playing away on Thursday?

“We try to do whatever we can to make sure we give those players the opportunity to recover from any injuries or even the normal contact that they’re going to have in a game. But also, we hear a lot, and this came up in our negotiations in 2011, that a lot of the players really like it because you have 10 days afterward before the next game, and so it acts as a sort of ‘mini-bye’ was I think the term that was used. So, there are a lot of things you have to balance in there.”