Please dear God tell me the news Roger Goodell is getting a five year extension isn’t true. Tell me this is fake news or perhaps an Onion story! I can’t be the only guy who feels a sense of incredulity, anger and disgust at the news, right? No matter what your religion or belief system is the fact that he escapes karma really bums me out. To borrow a line from the great Jerry Thornton, Goodell is 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
Call me naïve but I thought at some point the owners would care about truth, ethics, good business, PR. Like the Kardashians Goodell won’t go away and that’s repulsive. He can survive lying about concussions, smearing the Saints, abusing Article 46, never face a tough interview, do a favor for the Ravens on Ray Rice, go easy on Josh Brown because he’s the Mara’s lackey etc etc etc. Tom Brady was unfairly smeared as cross between Satan and a cheating weasel. No matter what you think of the Patriots Brady did not deserve that. The media still acts as if he’s credible. No one ever calls him on his BS. How has karma not gotten to him yet?
The conventional wisdom says he’s good at his job, but the fact that he’s the public face of all these PR blunders proves the opposite is true. Yes he’s made the owners money, but the league is so popular a trained monkey could do the same thing. Goodell’s tenure has been scandals, lies, abuse of power and process, blunders and PR headaches. Prior to 2016 the NFL was pretty much recession proof. The way they watered down the product, blatantly lied to the public, took political stances when they should have stayed apolitical and antagonized the fan base actually caused ratings to drop last year. I’d be happy if they made real changes to their process but the constant turd polishing he does is so off putting.
Thursday night football has always rubbed me the wrong way. Football is a once a week gladiator sport. TNF games are often sloppy and unwatchable. Players need a week off to nurse their injuries, get treatment, practice and prep for their next opponent. Making teams play 3-4 days apart goes against the fundamental DNA of the sport and I hate. The great tradition of Monday night football has been usurped my Sunday night games. Now the games on ESPN have been anti-climactic in comparison to the Sunday night ones.
Goodell has helped turn the NFL into a poor man’s version of Arena ball. Passing records have been seriously diluted in the past 12 years. 30 touchdown passes and 4,200 passing yards is now standard fare for quarterbacks. Marino’s ’84 season looks UGH in comparison to recent seasons from Peyton, Brady and Aaron Rodgers. If a defensive back so much as breathes on a receiver it’s a PI call. Spot of the foul penalties and the zebras explaining every call to the nth degree has made the games intermittently spotty and unwatchable. Great defenses like the ’85 Bears and 2000 Ravens have been legislated out of existence. Not every 42-41 game is fun to watch. Games where the D is pitching a shut out can be tons of fun, but that fact is lost on Goodell and the owners.
The cumulative effect of all these things under Goodell’s watch has turned me off too. My desire to watch non Patriots games is down 95 percent. Unless the league makes some changes I’m not going to tune back in. Perhaps the owners will see the light, but I’m not optimistic.
Erik Manzelli - Cheif Sports Columnist for Tozofit.com
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