With former NFL quarterback and dogfighting ring leader Michael Vick set to end his federal 18 month sentence on Monday, I have to say I think the NFL did a very good job of handling the press coverage and hype around the saga.
Yes, like T.O. and Spy gate, it was a saga. After thinking back to how much Vick's situation was hyped, I have gained a whole lot of respect for Roger Goodell.
The role of NFL commissioner, they say, has always been the toughest commissioner role because of the pressure. I can't pin a reason on it but I'd definitely say those who have led the sport throughout its history have had the toughest job. The NFL wasn't always what it is today and, now that it has come all this way, there is a renewed pressure to keep it stabilized.
I attended the NFL draft in April and I truly haven't had a better time anywhere. Not one sporting event that I had been to since then has matched up to the great time I had at the draft in New York City.
The fact that my friends and I managed to snag front row seats may have added to the splendor of being there.
Anyway, while I was there I had the great pleasure of meeting Roger Goodell. He's an average-size man with nice stature and presence, and the image that he has made for himself shone brightly at the draft. I figured he'd be unwilling to take any autograph or picture seekers, or to speak with any fans.
I was dead wrong.
The commish took the time to sign every single signature and smile with fans for every single picture, including with me and a couple of friends in front of the beautiful backdrop of Radio City Music Hall.
I left the city that day with astonishment at how Goodell had presented himself. He clearly gives the best image there is to give for the NFL, even in times of economic hardship and people like Vick about to resurrect NFL careers.
Goodell knows that too much publicity of these stories is bad publicity for his league. He knew it with Pacman Jones, and he knew it with Michael Vick.
I've never seen anyone make such an impact on the NFL as Goodell has in his role. He takes a stand on issues and makes sure things get done the right way. It's great to witness a hard working man like him in the NFL because over the years the league has been filled with too many people not like him.
Too many wannabes who move too fast and don't see what's coming.
Goodell has developed a reputation for stopping guys like that in their tracks and putting on the brakes. His message to these players is "get your act together or you're in for a rough future."
The way he handled the Pacman Jones situation was so cautious and patient. Goodell, I have a feeling, felt the heat from fans to just kick Pacman out of the league. But I also think he knew in the long run that he wouldn't have to do that because it's common sense that guys like him just don't last long in an NFL uniform.
Back to the present. As Vick awaits his release, all eyes will be on Goodell to see exactly how he plans on handling Vick as an NFL player. He should enter as a free agent, since the Falcons recently cut all ties with him.
Where he will go? Who knows? Whether or not he will go anywhere is the real question being asked here.
Whatever may be the situation, Goodell has the smarts and reputation to make sure things get done smoothly.
It seems like he's been making sure of that for a while now.
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