So when it comes to a marquee quarterback appealing his suspension in connection with New England Patriots employees deflating footballs, the commissioner said
it's on him to rule on the case.
"That's my job," Goodell said Wednesday after the final session at the NFL spring meetings in San Francisco. "We have a process that has been negotiated with the union. ... So it's my responsibility ... and we're going to do it that way, unless there is some other factor that I am not aware of."
The commissioner's comments come one day after the NFL Players Association formally requested Goodell recuse himself from overseeing Tom Brady's appeal of a four-game suspension for the Patriots star's role in what is known as "Deflategate."
The union said an independent arbitrator should decide if the penalty imposed by the league is fair. The union also intends to call Goodell as a witness, it said in its announcement.
When asked, the commissioner wouldn't directly say whether or not he will still be the appeals officer, but his answers indicated he intends -- for now -- to decide on the case.
"The key for us is to be able to allow any information that Tom Brady and his representatives have," Goodell said. "I look forward to hearing directly from Tom on that. And is there any new information or information that he can bring more clarity to or something that wasn't considered in the Wells report."
The Wells report was an NFL-commissioned investigation into what role New England Patriots personnel had in deflating footballs below the NFL's minimum standard.
"It is more probable than not" that Brady was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" of locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski, Wells wrote in the 243-page report.
The team was fined $1 million and will forfeit its first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and its fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft. The two employees have been suspended by the Patriots, who won the Super Bowl two weeks after the controversy became public at the AFC championship game
Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced Tuesday the team would accept the penalties. Goodell said Wednesday the team's decision will have no effect on the quarterback's appeal. He also denied a report that the league had asked the Patriots to suspend Jastremski and McNally.
Brady, when interviewed, has denied knowing about or being involved in the deflation efforts. He said recently at a public event that the team earned everything it achieved during its Super Bowl-winning season.
Goodell makes more than $40 million per year as commissioner of the NFL. He has ruled on most appeals in the past, but at times has stepped aside.
He said it makes no difference if Brady, a four-time Super Bowl winner, is one of the league's most marketable players.
"I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady, but the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis and they apply to everybody in the league," he said.
Goodell said he had been focused on the meetings where league officials and owners have discussed topics like expansion and rules changes
He told reporters he didn't know if a date has been set for the appeals hearing.