I love the NFL as much as anyone. Yes, I am a die hard member of Steeler Nation, but I love the camaraderie that watching NFL football with other fans brings in. It is a great time; there is no other sport like it.
However, I think that the golden goose that is the NFL is about to be slain thanks to one man: Roger Goodell. I cannot believe that Dan Rooney, one of the most respected owners in all sports, was the lead supporter for Goodell after Paul Tagliabue’s retirement.
At first I trusted that Goodell was the right hire; after all, Mr. Rooney did back him, right? Pete Rozelle built it, Tagliabue grew it, there was no way Goodell could mess this up.
Man was I wrong.
We have been given signs of Goodell’s ineptitude since he came in May 2006. This week, at the NFL owners’ meeting in Dana Point, he stated that he would like to see an 18-game season. That for me was the last straw. Here is the short list of all Goodell’s “accomplishments” that I could think of:
1. Player conduct policy: He has been at best inconsistent with suspending players for bad conduct. He gives Adam “Pacman” Jones a full season off while he has not been convicted of any crime but gives felons like Terry “Tank” Johnson eight games?
What about people convicted of drunk driving like Jared Allen? Just two games. I could go on and on with this (the way Goodell did not handle Matt Jones was horrible too; three games for substance policy but not for possession of cocaine? What about the way the Water Pill guys were handled too? Just absurd).
Goodell is schizophrenic in his rulings. Who knows what will happen to Donte Stallworth? Only that inept commish knows. I realize that it is not all Goodell’s fault but as the commissioner he could have stepped in and nipped in the bud before it became as absurd as it has now.
2. Spygate: Why did he destroy the evidence? Why not wait until all the facts are out there? Also, taking a draft pick away was a lenient penalty; Bill Belichick should have been suspended without pay for four games.
That would have hit the Pats where it hurt. I could care less about putting asterisks next to Pats’ wins but there should have been full disclosure. Goodell looked worse than the Pats did here.
3. Playing regular season games in England: The less-than-stellar practice facilities, the travel, and losing a home game and sticking it to ticket holders for a fan base that could care less about our football. NFL Europe did not work; it was the only thing in Tagliabue’s NFL that LOST money.
Why should a team be punished and lose an all-important home game and play in front of fans who do not completely get our game? I feel for this year’s victims, the Patriots and the Bucs.
Wait until your team feels the sting; as long as Goodell is in power, your team could lose an important home game because they had to play in Germany or China.
4. Fear of a work stoppage in 2011: The more I think about it, I think there will be a work stoppage of some type in 2011 because Goodell will not be able to get both the owners and the players’ union to agree on a new CBA.
You know it’s bad when the only thing both sides would likely agree on will be a salary cap for rookies. I just don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel because Goodell will not be the collected mediator that Tagliabue was.
5. NFL Network and Direct TV: I am lucky to live in an area which provides NFL Network as a part of its cable package but why in the world has this not been solved yet? And why does the NFL not have a cable TV package like MLB, NBA, college football, etc.? Why give the monopoly to Direct TV? I mean, why do you make people who don’t want a dish get something that they only plan to use four months of the year? I still think the NFL is the only reason why Direct TV even stays relevant. I could be wrong here but I know a good deal of people who but the dish just for the Sunday Ticket. Why not some kind of cable package or does Direct TV have incriminating information on NFL honchos?
6. The 2009 rules, or as I call it, “let’s take the bite out of the hitting.”: Instead of fixing the OT rules to where the coin flip should not be so crucial, pass interference rules which should 15 yards like in college football, or replay rules which will lessen the chance of another Ed Hochuli situation (you know, the rules that really need mending), under his watch there will be no more hitting in football.
I am being factitious here of course but why don’t we just put flags on players and get it over it with? No more wedges on kickoffs? No more hitting the QB low (the Brady rule)? No more crackback blocks on the backside of a play (Hines Ward rule)? New definitions on a defenseless receiver (the Ryan Clark rule)?
Football is a violent game; that is why most of us love it. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt but when you have men who weigh 240 lbs run into each other at full speed, someone will get hurt. Player safety is important. but, this emphasis on player safety brings me to my next point….
7. Adding two more games to the schedule: So Goodell is worried about player safety but now wants to give the players two more chances to injure themselves. Beautiful. Goodell wants to kill the golden goose now.
The 16-game season is perfect. Yes, most of us loathe preseason but not because it’s preseason, it’s because the owners charge FULL PRICE for meaningless games.
Why doesn’t Goodell convince the owners to lower the ticket prices on preseason games? I mean, MLB owners don’t charge full price on spring training games. Neither do NBA owners.
Pressure the owners to lower ticket prices on preseason games Goodell. Do something to help the NFL for once. Or resign. If you really love the NFL, resign please.
As strange as it sounds, Goodell’s schizophrenic ineptitude could soon mean the Hall of Fame for Paul Tagliabue. Most thought that Tagliabue was conservative and was no Pete Rozelle.
I now know that compared to Goodell, Tagliabue was simply great. The same Hall voters who denied Tagliabue entrance into Canton might soon realize how great Tagliabue was if Goodell is allowed to run amok and destroy football as we know it.
The NFL’s current CBA runs out after the 2010 season. Enjoy the next two years of football because with little hope of a new CBA in sight and Goodell leading the way, it might be the last two good years we fans get. I hope I am dead wrong.