A good friend of mine, Chad Knoblock, has been a fan of the blog for awhile, and he wanted to contribute a piece. Being the good guy I am, I said sure. So of course he titles the article “Heil Führer Goodell!” Care to explain yourself, Chad?
Ok, so comparing Roger Goodell to Hitler may be a bit much. But you could most certainly call his reign a dictatorship. It’s been nearly 6 years now that Goodell has held the title of NFL Commissioner, being voted in to succeed the beloved Paul Tagliabue. “Beloved” is definitely not the first word I would use to describe Roger Goodell or his tenure thus far. I bet many players and fans alike could come up with a few choice words to describe Goodell. The sentiment amongst players is that he has too much power. Fans feel that in a few years time he’ll change the name to the “National Flag Football League”. So is he ruining the NFL? Does he deserve to be overthrown? No and no. He’s actually a genius.
First, you must know going in that I am from south Louisiana and am a lifelong Saints fan. I certainly, more than anyone, should have disdain for the man who basically suspended the entire New Orleans Saints organization. Not really. Do I think the year long suspension of Payton was a bit harsh? Sure, but looking at Goodell’s body of work since 06’, I can’t say that I was surprised in the least. He has been strict on players and coaches alike from the beginning. He has a vision of what he thinks the NFL should be. Here is a statement Roger made the day he was voted in: “The league has always tried to find a better way to do things, that has been a hallmark under Commissioner Rozelle and Commissioner Tagliabue, and I hope to continue to do that. . . . My theme wasn’t that it was the time for the status quo. It was that we had to keep innovating and trying to do things better.” He has been doing what in his view is best for the league since Day 1. His mantra, as we all know, has become “Protect The Shield”, and no one can say he hasn’t done that. The NFL is the most prestigious sports league in the world. In an age where technology and information flow like never before, he has had new challenges that the previous commissioners didn’t quite share. With the media always circling overhead, ready to muddle the image of anyone and anything, protecting the shield hasn’t been an easy task. Not to mention the ridiculous lawsuits filed in several districts in different states claiming the NFL has been ignoring evidence which suggests that repeated head injuries could cause long-term medical issues. SERIOUSLY? HEY, if you walk out onto a busy freeway you’ll probably get hit by a vehicle. You should thank me, I may have just saved your life!
Sorry for getting off subject. The point is that despite what uninformed fans and ignorant players think, Goodell has done an excellent job thus far. They knew these lawsuits were coming and he knew they would have to be dealt with. What was his first line of business after getting the job? It was instituting his now famous Personal Conduct Policy. Although unpopular with players, the strict stance that he’s taken on player safety was the perfect way to combat the lawsuits and it certainly didn’t hurt the league’s image. If anything it painted a picture that the NFL cares about its players and retirees. To those who say the game will be no fun to watch if he keeps going in this direction…you’re wrong. Football is explosive and violent, and that will NEVER change. Goodell has no control over how children are taught, and how high school and college coaches teach the game. Our hard-hitting, in your face sport of American Football isn’t going anywhere. For example, the number of viewers for the Super Bowl had went up and down until 2006. Since Roger took office the ratings have consistently gone up every year. This isn’t a coincidence. How about this: the average numbers of viewers for last year’s World Series was 16.6 million, and for last year’s NBA Finals the average was 17.3. NFL games were watched by an average of 17.5 million viewers last season. This isn’t the Super Bowl either, this is regular season games. The NFL has grown into a 9 billion dollar business with Goodell at the helm. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Don’t say that the NFL markets itself or that Goodell isn’t needed. Sure, it’s the players who fans are filling the seats to see, but don’t think the NFL would be where it is now without Goodell’s guidance. You think the players could run the league? Here’s a tweet from an NFL player a few months ago: “Roger Goodell is getting over never seen anything like it 20 million for looking over the league with tremendous help I guess the NFL is banking,” he continued. “The NFL is not a company it’s a nonprofit organization that makes a lot of profit.” When one of his followers pointed out that Goodell is running the biggest sports league in the country, the player took offense. “Thats the stupidest thing i have ever heard the players make this league dont ever forget that,” he wrote. Wow. I won’t say who tweeted this. I don’t want Falcons fans to get pissed…Oops! I’ve said too much already. Back on topic, do you seriously want this guy and morons like him running the league?
This is why there is a Players Association that takes care of the players and Roger Goodell takes care of his “Shield”. And I think he’s doing a pretty damn good job of it. He isn’t ruining football nor will he. He has been a part of the NFL for roughly 30 years now. It has been his entire life. Maybe you don’t agree with every decision he’s made; hell, I know I don’t. But he is, in essence, the quarterback of the NFL. He will make decisions you don’t like and has and will continue to get criticized for every single one. Just don’t let his genius go unnoticed. He’s been clutch in the pocket and he’s impossible to sack. So what if he has all the power? It’s in the right hands. I personally think Roger Goodell has done wonders for the NFL, and more people should open their eyes and see it as well.
Heil Goodell!! (Roger if you read this you think you could let Sean come back a little early? Pretty please?)