For some reason, Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback column has declared this week to be "Roger Goodell Week". Among other things, Goodell week (is this like when a girl celebrates her birthday for a whole week?) has given us "What It’s Like to Get Called into the Principal’s Office", in which we learned that in order to have any chance at all in a disciplinary hearing, Roger looks for players in trouble to "…beg for forgiveness".
And then, for his Friday mailbag, Peter King asked his legions of readers what their opinion was of Roger Goodell’s tenure as commissioner.
Guess how that worked out.
Here’s the second sentence in today’s column, titled "Can Goodell Save His Job?":
"Will the spiteful, harsh, hateful anti-Goodell rhetoric—and not just from the six states that comprise New England—ever die down?"
After noting that the NFL has doubled in revenue with Goodell at the helm, King says it’s "bizarre" to think that Goodell wouldn’t continue as commissioner.
"The public hates this man."
Fast forward to the actual mailbag part, and PK says "The mail was at least 95% negative."
Of course we’re going to read some samples!
Chris: "What makes me angry, as a fan, are his constant threats to tinker with the game in ways that, frankly, we fans don’t want to see."
Drew (who specifically points out he’s a Steelers fan): "I never thought a commissioner could taint my view on a sport, but he has done that."
(This one’s posted in full)
Thomas: "Using a wins above replacement-type analysis, couldn’t any competent executive have grown the league at an equal or better pace for far less money? I’m so tired of hearing about how great Roger is because he makes money for the owners. They have a great product. They have great players. They have smart owners who were successful in other businesses. They would have made money with a robot as commissioner. Roger has probably cost the owners money compared to what a competent executive could have accomplished."
Grant: "Paul Tagliabue’s reversal of the Bountygate penalties. This was Goodell's former boss/mentor with a short message to Roger: Be a little smarter in the future. Roger ignored this insight."
Jeff: "I am an honest guy. Or try to be anyway. I don’t like liars. But what I really don’t like are people who claim to be honest and righteous but will bend their ethics and behavior when it suits them."
That last one seems to be everyone’s major gripe with Roger Goodell, no matter whose jersey you’re wearing on Sundays – put your money where your mouth is, whether it’s player discipline, making the game safer, league officiating, or anything else.
The Steelers fan mentioned above even name-checked NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who’s only been on the job for two years, as "…a leader that people look towards, someone who has been responsible not only with the players and owners, but also someone who is socially responsible."
Is that too much to ask from the commissioner of the most popular sport in America?