NEW YORK — Roger Goodell poked a little fun at himself and the scene of the first cold-weather Super Bowl Friday, and probably breathed a sigh of relief at this weekend’s weather report.
NFL personnel dropped fake snow from the ceiling at the Time Warner Center as Goodell addressed his team owners and a couple hundred media members in his annual “State of the League” press conference. However, temperatures in New Jersey are supposed to reach a high of 49 on Sunday, with kickoff temperature scheduled to be in the 30s when the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium.
In anticipation of inclement conditions, the NFL devised several contingencies for the game — including moving it up to Saturday or back to Monday or Tuesday — but the weather is supposed to cooperate.
“We will kick off at 6:30 Sunday night,” Goodell said emphatically. “It looks like it’s going to be a lot warmer than we anticipated, but this is going to be a great experience. We’re on the world’s greatest stage with the biggest game.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a proponent of holding Super Bowls in cold-weather cities, although he would not commit to bidding for a future game in Foxborough.
“I’m a great supporter of playing this game in all elements,’’ he said. “There are a group of us that really wanted it here, and the NFL has been very supportive of that.”
Goodell spoke for about 40 minutes and then Kraft talked with reporters for about 20 minutes, and they addressed several topics, among them: the chances of having teams in Los Angeles and London, adding a playoff team in each conference, the possibility of centralized instant replay, workplace changes in the wake of the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin situation, the possibility of removing marijuana from the banned substance list, and changes to the Patriots organization in light of the Aaron Hernandez case.
■ When asked if there had been any organizational changes since Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder last June, Kraft said, “We’ve made certain adjustments internally in terms of our own checking. It’s hard to know everything, but I can promise you we’re being as vigilant as we can be.”
Kraft also noted the team hired a new pastor, Jack Easterby, who used to work for the Chiefs and Jaguars and “has, I think, been very strong in terms of his spiritual guidance.”
■ The competition committee will investigate the possibility of a centralized instant replay system, similar to the one used by the NHL, in which all replays are handled by the league office and not game officials. The owners will likely vote on it at the league meeting in March.
“I do believe there’s a possibility that some version of that will occur, where our office can at least be involved in the decision,” Goodell said. “May not make the decision, but at least provide some input and be helpful to the officials on the field to make sure they have the proper opportunity to make the best decision.”
Kraft said he is very much in favor of a centralized system.
“I think games should be standardized, and we should have the same people making the calls,’’ he said.
■ A proposal has been mentioned to add a seventh playoff team in each conference, and having only the No. 1 seed earn a first-round bye. Goodell said it will “get very serious consideration from our competition committee, and then our ownership will vote on it” in March.
“We think we can make the league more competitive, we can make the matchups more competitive toward the end of the season,” Goodell said. “There will be more excitement, more memorable moments for our fans, and we think we can do it properly from a competitive standpoint.”
■ Now that marijuana is legal in Washington and Colorado, will the NFL remove it from its list of banned substances?
“It is still an illegal substance on a national basis,” Goodell said. “It’s something that’s part of our collective bargaining agreement with our players. It is questionable as to its positive impact, but there is certainly some very strong evidence to the negative impacts.
“We’ll continue to follow the medicine. Our experts right now are not indicating we should change our policy in any way. We are not actively considering that at this point in time.”
Goodell also was asked if he would submit to a drug test for marijuana.
“I am randomly tested, and I’m happy to say that I am clean,” he quipped.
■ The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Rams owner Stan Kroenke recently purchased 60 acres of land near Hollywood Park, prompting rumors that he is considering moving his team back to LA.
“I would like to see a team in LA as soon as possible,” Kraft said.
However, any move there is still a long ways off. The NFL would first have to approve a stadium site and construction, then 24 of the 32 owners would have to approve a move.
“There are no plans to my knowledge of a stadium development,” Goodell said.
■ The NFL still isn’t close to having a team in London, but Goodell is encouraged that the three games to be held there next year have already sold out.
“It’s another indication that the more we give fans in the UK of NFL football, the more they want,” he said. “What our next step is, I don’t know. We believe we will continue to grow there, we will have to continue to invest in that marketplace.”
■ Goodell continued to show resistance to changing the Redskins’ name.
“This is the name of a football team — a football team that’s had that name for 80 years and presented it in a way that has honored Native Americans,” he said. “In Native American communities, 9 out of 10 supported the name. We’re being respectful to people that disagree, but let’s not forget that it’s the name of a football team.”
■ And one of Goodell’s top priorities this offseason is to create a culture of respect in the NFL in the wake of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal — respect among players, coaches, game officials, and others — and perhaps to introduce a code of conduct for all 32 locker rooms.
“We’re going to focus on this in the offseason,” he said. “Some of it will be education, some of it possibly could be policy change. But we’re beginning that dialogue and we’re far into that dialogue, and I expect changes as we go forward — maybe not as much in policy as it is in making sure we provide that kind of professional workplace.”