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Super Bowl final act of NFL's worst season

(APNEWS.MYWAY) — PHOENIX (AP) — Domestic violence. Questionable discipline. Player safety. Confusing officiating. Deflated footballs.

The disturbing headlines that began last February never slowed down for the NFL this season. The problems — most of them made worse by the ineffectual handling — mushroomed into an imperfect storm that hurt the league’s credibility and turned the lead-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl into a time for damage control, not celebration.

“It never ceases,” said Orin Starn, a Duke professor who studies sports in society. “It was one crisis and PR challenge after another and I didn’t envy Roger Goodell at all.”

At the commissioner’s contentious news conference Friday — Goodell fielded one question about whether he thought he should be fired and another about taking a pay cut — he was hit with a barrage of questions that spoke to the wide range of problems that punctured the league’s integrity, though not its popularity.