He is not running for President on the Democratic ticket.
He never competed on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars.
He didn't even make Time's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
And yet Goodell may just be the greatest man alive.
Take a look at his resume over the past several months. He came down hard on Pacman Jones and Chris Henry. He entertained the idea of a prime-time draft. He announced a hugely anticipated contest in England, with plans for another in Germany.
He even teased us with the thought of a 17th regular-season game.
The NFL offseason has been anything but exciting. Thanks to Goodell, the league has made front page news on a weekly basis...at a time when there's nothing going on besides meetings and minicamps.
The Commissioner's decisions have created a buzz—not for their equivocal judgments, but for their bold statements. He stood up for morality by sitting Jones and Henry, two ruffians who live outside of the law. He also showed his faith in the league by supporting measures to keep it fresh and relevant.
A prime-time draft could be the greatest thing to happen to Friday night since TGIF. An NFL game in Germany would bring the league even more publicity. A 17th regular-season matchup would solve pre-season problems, and give NFL fans more opportunities to root on their favorite teams.
Even if none of these visions come to fruition, Goodell has shown a willingness to think outside the box, and an openness to new ideas.
And since that's the case, I think now would be a great time to share some of my own thoughts about the future of the NFL.
For starters, let's get rid of the roughing-the-quarterback penalty. QBs are football players, not floor gymnasts. It's time we stop treating them like Dwyane Wade in the 2006 NBA Finals...and actually let people touch them.
Next, we should institute the college rule that allows players to wear any number they choose—for the simple reason that I want to see what Leonard Davis looks like in a single digit. Also, college-style overtimes should decide regular-season games, network announcers should be replaced with movie soundtracks, and Jim Brown, Dick Butkus, Marion Motley, and Joe Montana should get their own version of Mt. Rushmore somewhere in the Appalachians.
Goodell can even add his face if he wants.
With so much going for him, it's a great surprise that Goodell is not infinitely more popular. He should be appearing on Leno and Letterman and The View. His face should be splashed across SportsCenter and minted on silver dollars. He should have his own flavor of Ben & Jerry s ice cream (Player-Conduct-Policy Sorbet?), his own late-night talk show (Tough Talk: Conversations with Troubled NFL Stars), his own Disneyland ride (the Jolly Roger, one of those swinging pirate ship deals), even his own clothing line (a collection of affordable menswear).
Instead, the greatest man alive toils in near anonymity while others are praised for far less deserving work.
Barack Obama is lauded for his political prowess. Goodell was in Andrew Jackson's famed "Kitchen Cabinet" and prevented Revolutionary War II.
Jim Cramer is recognized for his savvy stock analysis. Goodell bought Apple at three and receives royalties every time someone says "cheers."
Nicholas Cage was celebrated for his work in Ghost Rider, a movie about the devil's bounty hunter. Goodell?
He beat Satan in an arm-wrestling match.
But maybe the Commish's low-key front is just a ploy. Maybe he wants it to be this way. As smart as he is, it would come as no surprise if he has some sort of grand scheme up his sleeve. Perhaps he has plans to star in Spiderman 4. Maybe he'll spend his fall stumping for President. It's possible that he s taking voice lessons for a run on Idol, or brushing off his dancing shoes for a date with the Stars.
No matter what he does, one thing's for sure: Goodell will most certainly be listed as one of the world's most influential people next summer.
His actions prove that he already belongs.