PHOENIX - Roger Goodell is not going anywhere.
On the heels of what he described as "a tough year" for the image of the NFL and for him personally, the commissioner was asked if he can foresee any scenario in which he resigns or is fired by the owners.
"No, I can't," he said. And when he heard a slight chuckle from the audience, he asked: "Does that surprise you?"
It shouldn't. Despite the perception that he and the NFL mishandled a slew of issues in the last few months, the league is in strong financial shape. Not even an investigation into the possibility that one of the teams cheated to get to Super Bowl XLIX has been able to derail the NFL's position as the nation's top sports organization.
Television ratings remain untouchable. The secondary market for tickets to Sunday's game is feverish. Whoever wins this Super Bowl will secure a place in dynastic history.
Yet the commissioner was asked if he should be forced to take a pay cut. "That's up to the owners," he said. "They evaluate my performance, they evaluate my compensation every year. I don't argue."
He tried to sound contrite after a year in which he bungled the punishments of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, coming across as deaf to the issue of domestic violence.
"It has been a tough year," Goodell said in his annual address and media conference Friday. "It's been a tough year on me personally. It's been a year of humility and learning. We obviously as an organization have gone through adversity, but more importantly, there has been adversity for me. That is something, we take that seriously. It's an opportunity for us to get better, it's an opportunity for our organization to get better. So we've all done a lot of soul-searching, starting with yours truly. We have taken action."
As for the crisis du jour -- DeflateGate -- Goodell offered no apology to the Patriots for "vigorously" investigating the use of deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game Jan. 18.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft opened the week by saying the NFL should apologize if it is unable to find any concrete evidence that his team deliberately deflated the balls below specifications. Goodell disagreed.
"This is my job," he said. "This is my responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. I represent 32 teams. All of us want to make sure that the rules are being followed, and if we have any information where the potential is that those rules were violated, I have to pursue that and I have to pursue that aggressively."
Kraft was noticeably absent from Goodell's media conference. After they were photographed together at a party, their relationship was drawn into question when Seattle's Richard Sherman wondered aloud if the Patriots would be punished.
"It's not unusual that I work very closely with ownership, particularly someone like Robert Kraft, who serves on numerous committees," Goodell said. "I also admire, respect and think very highly of him on a personal level. There is no hiding from that standpoint. But since he knows me so well and he knows I am not going to do anything to compromise the integrity of the league, I think he has no doubt that I will do the right thing for the NFL."
Goodell sounded less enthusiastic than he has in the past about the NFL expanding the pool of playoff teams. He seemed to indicate a change to the extra point is coming soon.
Goodell said the league is establishing a position of chief medical officer to oversee issues of player safety and health. He said the league wants to return to having games in Mexico and reiterated his commitment to games in London. He pushed for new stadiums in San Diego and Buffalo and spoke about the possibility of a team in Los Angeles.
The overarching tone of the day, though, came from the controversies. Goodell positioned the past year as one of growth. "We're in a good place of knowing and learning and having a lot more humility," he said. "As an organization and as an individual, it's been a tough year, but it's been a year of great progress and I'm excited about the future."