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Troy Polamalu says Roger Goodell has too much power

By Cindy Boren

A day after his Pittsburgh Steelers teammate, James Harrison, was in New York to confer with Commissioner Roger Goodell about the NFL's crackdown on hits by defenders, Troy Polamalu was sounding off in Pittsburgh.

"It's football, you know. If people want to watch soccer then they can watch soccer," Polamalu told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But, honestly, overseas when people are attracted to this game, they're going to see the big hits, they're not going to care about touchdowns and different things. So you're also taking apart what attracts people to this game."

Harrison was in New York to take Goodell up on his offer to discuss the league's recent reinforcement of guidelines about what constitutes legal hits. Harrison was fined $75,000 for two hits in a game Oct. 17 and initially said he was considering retirement over the issue.

"Sometimes I think it just falls on deaf ears," Polamalu said. "I think a lot of players have said a lot of things and I guarantee you he heard everything everybody said.

"But, you know, he's got all the power; that may be part of the problem, that there needs to be some type of separation of power like our government. There should be some type of players involved in decisions over how much people should be fined or what they should be fined for, as well as coaches, as well as front office people.

"I don't think it should be just totally based on what two or three people may say who are totally away from the game. I think it should be some of the players who are currently playing."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted: "Regarding James Harrison meeting, it was consistent with what we have done on occasion with other players. James was given the opportunity to meet with Commissioner Goodell, Ray Anderson, and Carl Johnson yesterday...Purpose of the meeting was to discuss the rules that relate to illegal use of the helmet and hits to the head and neck...Jared Allen and Vince Wilfork are examples of players who in past years have had similar meetings in our office...Such meetings are part of overall initiative to ensure a full understanding of our rules and policies that protect player health & safety."

Purpose of the meeting was to discuss the rules that relate to illegal use of the helmet and hits to the head and neck... about 1 hour ago via web

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Polamalu was asked if he thought game officials were "paranoid" and overcompensating.

"I don't know about the referees' decisions to maybe need to throw a flag but there is definitely a paranoia that is unneeded. Just because we had that weekend a few weekends ago which there were, I think somebody said, five hits out of 1,000. Yeah, I think there is too much paranoia."

By Cindy Boren  | November 3, 2010; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  NFL  
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Roger Goodell and Ray Anderson need to be removed from office. They are ruining the game in their quest to usher in an 18 game schedule. Fans, players and sponsors need to unite in calling for the termination of these two bafoons. We can start by boycotting sponsors such as Coors and Sprint and refraining from purchasing NFL merchandise.

Posted by: JohnDubio | November 3, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Rodger Goodell and his millionaire and billionaire buddies(the owners)can fine players for doing what the league promotes every day of the week and then they turn around and are pining for an 18 game schedule which will lead to more injuries and shorter career's modern day slavery boy's modern day slavery.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 3, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes Goodell is a problem. The players are asked to do the impossible. Not all helmet to helmet contact is on purpose. Players are making split second adjustments trying to hit a moving thinking target. But its all about the money isnt it?

Posted by: gdod25 | November 4, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"But, honestly, overseas when people are attracted to this game, they're going to see the big hits, they're not going to care about touchdowns and different things."

But who, exactly, is attracted to American football overseas? We might ridicule soccer here, but it's still a worldwide sport where our football plays one regular season game in London a season and shows little sign of growth abroad.

It's basketball, a non contact sport, and perhaps baseball, that we've been able to export.

Posted by: Louise9 | November 4, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

How an actual player can possibly be advocating heavy hitting and more extreme contact in the game is beyond me. Is he aware that the odds of him and his cohorts becoming vegetables by age 50 are extremely high?

Heavy hits and violent tactics are NOT the big draws of this game. All they do is turn the sport into a gladiatorial spectacle like boxing. What Am Football has over every other sport is rich complex tactics and extremely dramatic tension.

Maybe when Palomalu is drinking his food through a straw by age 47, he'll wish he played soccer instead.

Posted by: MatiasNino | November 5, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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