The NFL has been embroiled in some form of public controversy or another nearly every day in since early in 2014. Between the Ray Rice incident, the Greg Hardy incident, the Wes Welker and Orlando Scandrick suspensions, the Adrian Peterson incident, the Ray McDonald incident(s) and more, there's been a constant stream of both bad player behavior and what's been roundly seen as questionable responses to that behavior from the league office.

Looking back on the year that has passed in an interview with Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "It's a learning year. We stress that in our organization all the time, about learning and getting better. That's a focus that we always have."

Goodell noted how good a year it's been for the league on fronts that don't include public controversy, telling Freeman about how the league has gotten safer (as Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent detailed last week, unnecessary roughness fouls are down 26 percent from a year ago, illegal hits on defenseless players are down 68 percent, illegal hits on quarterbacks down 43 percent and total fines are down 24 percent); integrated technology with more instant replay, tablets, better headsets and NextGen Stats; and continues to be watched by more and more people on more and more platforms every year.

But Goodell also admitted what's clear to everyone at this point: it's been far from a perfect year for the league. Mistakes have been made. "I look back and I wish I did everything better," Goodell said. "That's how we operate. I can't isolate it to one thing." When there were so many mistakes made that you can't even isolate one thing that was done poorly, that's never a good situation for the league to be in.

Still, Goodell looked forward, saying, "The general public expects a lot from the NFL, and we have to deliver on that. We have embraced that. We don't run from that. We embrace it. And we have to deliver on that. When we fall short, we acknowledge it and we go and try to do better."