The most powerful man in sports! That is what many say about Mr. Roger Goodell. Are they right? Is it correct to say the “boss” of the most popular sport in America is also the most powerful? In a word, yes!
It is ironic that Roger got a degree in economics while in college and now heads what is arguably one of the last monopolies on earth. NASCAR is the only other one I can think of. Like the France family in NASCAR, what Roger says is law. There is no “supreme court” to hear your argument. His word is law. PERIOD!
Given the NFL commisioner has such authority, as do the commishs of other major sports, it is important that such a responsibility and trust be placed with the proper person. Is it? Is Mr. Goodell good or bad for the sport that we all love? Regardless which of the 32 teams you are a fan of, Roger has a huge affect on your team.
Let’s take a brief moment and look at the history of Mr. Goodell. As I said, his degree is in economics. Until I did some research on him during the lockout negotiations, I mistakenly thought he was an attorney, although with all of the new rules and laws he has helped institute since becoming commissioner, you could not tell it. Here is a breakdown of the good, bad & other.
- Roger started out as an intern and worked his way all the way to the top. You have to give him credit for that and recognize he has experience at all levels of the business.
- I believe his intentions are pure. One of his first goals was to “clean up” the league of thugs. I think he has made considerable progress in that area.
- We have to give ample credit to Roger for his role in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations. When a league’s union contract expires is a lousy time to be the commissioner. I have no doubt without Goodell, the season would have been severely shortened or canceled altogether.
- To become the commish, Goodell was voted in by his peers and unanimously approved by the team owners. This sounds like a great idea for team ownership as well.
- Critics of Goodell, and they are out there, say that Goodell has been inconsistent in penalizing players for infractions. I think there is reasonable evidence to substaniate those claims. It appears Goodell has been particularly harsh on some, others have gone unpenalized or barely slapped.
- Being only human and growing up and supporting New York teams, it is only reasonable to believe there is a certain amount of biasness in making decisions regarding his “hometown” teams.
- Goodell is a huge proponnent of expanding the NFL out of the United States. The London game and the Bills playing one game in Toronto has become an annual event and sells out in mere minutes. Games have also been played in Mexico. I listed this under “other”, but if you are a season ticket holder of the home team of a team playing out of the country, it is a horrible thing. The NFL still collects your revenue for that home game that you likely were unable to attend.
- Goodell is also determined to take drug testing to a higher level. Is this good or bad? It depends on how it is instituted and governed, therefore is listed under “other”.
- I cannot be certain how much influence Goodell has in making rule changes, or the enforcement of said rules, but this could very well be listed under “bad”. Regardless, the NFL has rightfully earned it’s new name of the “No Fun League”. Penalizing players for 5 second celebrations is absurd. Calling a roughing the passer penalty for a defender jumping up and trying to block a pass only to come down and inadvertanitly hitting the QB’s helmet is downright assinine. Whoever is responsible for these ridiculous rules is most certainly bad for the sport. By the way, thanks to the enforcement of “frivolous” penalties and extensive reviews, the typical 60 minute football game now takes well over 3 hours.
Before you vote whether Roger Goodell is good or bad, keep in mind it could be much worse. Just how much is up for debate. Look no further than NBA commish David Stern or worse yet, MLB commish Bud Selig. The NFL has been very fortunate in it’s past leadership with commishioners like Paul Tagliabue and Pete Rozelle. The jury is still out what legacy Goodell will leave.