Should Goodell’s title be commissioner, or dictator?
What a mess of a year.
The NFL is the single biggest professional sports organization on the planet, a multi-billion dollar company, but not even they can get away with the kind of season they had in 2014 and into these early parts of 2015.
Let’s recap what happened this NFL year. A historic rise in domestic abuse scandals, including some of the NFL’s foremost talented players in Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy. Concussions have become the game’s biggest enemy, and threaten to possibly derail American football as a sport if not curved, yet protocols for the NFL have been treated with the same respect that one has for the speed limit. Not so much a rule, but a guideline, and if you push past it a little bit, who does it hurt? Finally things were capped off with one of the biggest shams of an investigation in Deflate Gate that the NFL had done since… well since the Ray Rice elevator tape took six months to get to the commissioner’s office.
So, who stands in the middle of this firestorm of scandal and vitriol from just about every NFL fan? Roger Stokoe Goodell, the NFL’s Commissioner since 2006. Described by many people as “the most powerful man in sports,” and he’s not afraid to flaunt that.
Despite an embarrassing record of accomplishment, from SpyGate to Bounty Gate, to the dozens of domestic abuse scandals, to the controversy over the Washington professional football team’s name, this man has been at the centre of everything, and has yet to pay for a thing.
The NFL has a problem where there is no credibility. Take the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal from 2012. Goodell proceeded to level the Saints organization, suspending four players, three coaches and the general manager of the team. How did this end up playing out? Goodell overstepped his boundaries, screwed up the “irrefutable” facts that he had, and the so-called “Bounty Gate” was labeled a sham.
At this point, you would think that Goodell would have learned his lesson when it came to attacking teams, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Based solely off of hunches put out by teams, the NFL and Goodell put forth a “sting operation” intending to catch the now Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, in the act of deflating their footballs to gain an advantage over their opponents. Instead of simply inflating footballs that would’ve been classified as underinflated, they tried to catch the Patriots with the smoking gun, and surprise, surprise; it blew up in their faces. Over three weeks later, and no evidence suggesting the Patriots did anything has come out, and the only thing that we have confirmed is the NFL’s staggering incompetency, as the referees charged with measuring the balls, simply gave the balls the feeling test. No pump to gauge the air, just a quick squeeze, and their stamp of approval was placed on the ball.
This year has been one of the most embarrassing years to be a football fan in a very long time, and while numerous levels of the NFL, from players, teams, and officials are responsible for this, ultimately the onus falls on Roger Goodell. Please, Mr. Goodell, be responsible for you and your league’s actions. We love this game, but with the way things are going, I’m not sure for how much longer we can support it for. Make that $44 million dollar salary of yours count.