Hear me out before you call me crazy.
Over the weekend, Peter King wrote a piece for MMQB listing the ways in which Roger Goodell can keep his job. Like most fans of the game, I have my issues with ‘The Rog,” and being from Baltimore, the Ray Rice fiasco will always stick in my craw, but ultimately…
…when was he ever on the hot seat?
King starts by delivering an explanation of how much the public hates Goodell (because the majority of the messages he received say so!) and how the league is essentially crickets when it comes to celebrating his 10th anniversary as commissioner of the NFL, while lightly touching on the owners’ approval of Goodell between the two negative points.
But even the notion that the owners approve of Goodell was a tainted point made, as King denoted that it’s possible they won’t approve if the public doesn’t change their opinion.
It’s easy to say the owners support Goodell, but I can tell you this: Some owners I know clearly do not like that the public face of the most successful sports league in American history gets more tomatoes thrown at it than any other commissioner in the 96-year history of the NFL… But would they if the public tide doesn’t turn in, say, the next year?
Worth noting folks: the public doesn’t vote on the NFL commissioner. The owners do that. The same owners that, as King mentioned, support Goodell.
While that lackluster attempt at making a valid point was iffy at best, King’s next point was the turning point in his argument for me.
Goodell should get credit for a 10-year labor agreement, for more than 20 safety-related rules changes since 2006, for an investment of $60 million in concussion-related research, for the doubling of revenue. No question. Where I most fault his leadership is in the league’s pursuit of the max penalties against the Patriots and Tom Brady in Deflategate.
King proceeds to go on the typical Deflategate rant. You know the key phrases:
– Road vs Home control of the balls (ignoring the Pats bringing their ball boy on the road)
– Brady’s performance had nothing to do with it (ignoring the fact that the rule was still broken)
– 18 months and still going (ignoring Brady’s appeals being the reason it’s drawn out so long)
– The NFL is hiding data (tinfoil hats unite!)
So let’s get this straight: Goodell helped the NFL grow, both financially and in regards to the health and safety of players…. but Deflategate still has your proverbial panties in a bunch? Got it.
But fear not Rog! Peter King knows exactly what you need to do to ‘keep your job,’ despite not actually being in jeopardy of losing it, of course.
“I’d immediately come out against tackle football at the youth level”
King essentially states that Goodell needs to go public and claim that he believes it’s best for the game that tackle football be banned prior to high school level play.
Counter: The point is vague, and Goodell’s opinion will bear little to no weight on the controversial topic. Insisting tackle football be banned prior to high school sports would not only perpetuate the narrative that the league is continuing its crusade to soften the game, but it would also create more controversy around concussions, with many concluding that the NFL clearly knows more than they’ve let on.
“I’d do something different with that paycheck.“
This is hilarious- King suggests Roger Goodell donate $32.1 million of his $37.1 million salary to head trauma research, annually.
Counter: So the commish needs to donate the bulk of his salary because Goodell is ‘getting rich off their backs’ but the owners don’t need to do the same? I can see him donating a portion, but that much is asanine. And didn’t King already mention the accomplishments of Goodell in the medical and safety areas being insufficiently acceptable to date, as Deflategate loomed as a larger issue?
Also, some basic math that always bothers me: NFL players are paid by ONE team. The commissioner is paid by ALL teams. Each team is essentially paying the man $1m+ for a myriad of reasons… how ‘unfair’ is that?
“I’d proceed on weed.“
King wants Goodell to hire Eugene Monroe and Jake Plummer as… I guess marijuanologists? Then “accelerate the process of players being able to use an acknowledged pain reliever for current and future aches.”
Counter: Hey look! Public pressure leading to corporate decision making! Neat!
I’m not saying the science isn’t there, I’m just saying there’s still plenty more research to be done, and we see new side effects and responses each and every day in the crusade to legalize marijuana. To ask Goodell to hasten the process is essentially putting the cart before the horse. To ask him to donate a portion of his salary or have the league fund their own research? A-Okay in my book.
“I’d stop being judge and jury.”
This is quote worthy, and again, based on public pressure:
“I’d have a summit meeting with NFL Players Association executive director De Smith and tell him that, immediately, I’m willing to cede my judge-and-jury role on appeals of discipline under the personal-conduct policy and possibly on integrity-of-the-game matters. But Smith would have to come ready to make a deal. My suggestion: the extension of the current CBA by one year.”
King also suggests the NFL hand over more of their salaries to research player safety.
Counter: So, in essence, the commissioner/owners side of the table should surrender power that was agreed upon in the CBA… in exchange for a 1 year extension? King probably thinks the Cubs should trade Jake Arietta for a 1-year Aroldis Chapman rental, too.
First and foremost, it’s not Goodell’s call to make on his own- the owners have a ton of say in the matter too. And knowing how intense this particular bargaining chip will be in the next CBA, a 1-year extension is a laughable deal.
As for the player safety donations, and to beat a dead horse- King made it very clear already that Deflategate is still the bigger issue that outweighs the current safety measures taken. Would doing more even garner public attention that King deems necessary in order for Goodell to retain his job?
Truth be told, I’m shocked King didn’t add a 5th point- Free Tom Brady, absolve the Patriots of any wrong doing ever, and apologize publically on national television.
Ok, now you can call me crazy for defending the commish.