Earlier this week, an AP-GfK poll concluded that 66 percent of NFL Fans do not believe commissioner Roger Goodell should lose his job over the myriad of player-conduct issues facing the league – and the potential mishandling of those issues by his office.
That was surprising, to say the least; it seemed most NFL fans had an overwhelmingly negative opinion of Goodell, given that he’s presided over the Ray Rice story, the Greg Hardy story and the Adrian Peterson story (not to mention the Ray McDonald story, traumatic brain injury story, Washington Redskins story, drug policy story, Bountygate story, etc.) But then I came across other polls – ones that showed the exact opposite of those findings – and tended to suggest that perhaps it’s time for Goodell to go.
Or maybe not. After all, it’s been more than a month since the second Rice video was released, and given our fleeting attention spans, one could make the argument that the embattled commissioner isn’t actually all that embattled anymore. And since the NFL continues to print money, it’s probable that Goodell will remain in power for the foreseeable future.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Goodell really should ride off into the sunset with the $105 million he’s made over the past five years. I’ve got plenty of reasons for saying that: 66, in fact – one for every percent of folks who think he’s fine right where he is.
1. The first point is Goodell’s first point: “Protecting the Shield.” Goodell’s mission from the onset has been to protect the integrity of the NFL and what it stands for, but what exactly does the league “stand for” as of October of 2014? The values seem to be going in the wrong direction.
2. You can’t be too attached to someone just because he’s already there, that’s how Christian Ponder ended up starting a game for the Vikings this year.
3. Despite Goodell’s increased flags and fines for hits during the game, in December 2013, there were more players on IR. That was a higher number has been steadily climbing over the past five seasons. But still, if you accidentally flick Aaron Rodgers’ helmet with your pinkie you get 15 yards.
4. If four years a term is good enough for the United States of America, why does the NFL have to be a dictatorship?
5. Ray McDonald has now played five games for the 49ers this year. What if he’s guilty? What if he’s super guilty?
6. The new rules against defensive holding make it possible for guys like Logan Thomas to complete one pass – and have it go for 81 yards.
7. Andrew Luck. If he can become a superstar, fans will be far too distracted (and owners will be far too rich) to care about a few players in handcuffs. It’s only when the NFL is boring that off-field issues ascend to their highest. Yes, I kind of have a thing with Andrew.
8. Sam Bradford’s ACL has never torn while anyone besides Goodell has been the commissioner.
9. It’s been nine years since a team has repeated as Super Bowl champions, so does Roger Goodell hate dynasties?
10. The league can’t discipline players like Hardy or Rice right now, they’re busy fining Colin Kaepernick $10,000 for wearing a certain type of headphones during his press conference. You know, the important stuff.
11. Kaepernick was also fined $11,000 for using “inappropriate language” during a game, which seems like bullshit to me.
12. How could Goodell have allowed a team’s fans to play such a large part in them winning a championship? #Illuminati
13. Go ahead and watch Frontline‘s documentary “League of Denial” (or read the book!) and tell me if you still think he should have a job.
14. Goodell’s reported ignorance of Rice is one thing, but what about guys like Hardy, McDonald or Peterson? Their issues seem to fly directly in the face of the principles of Goodell’s own personal player conduct policy.
15. Jahvid Best was a bright young player for the Lions who suffered a concussion in the 2011 preseason but was ready for Week 1. He suffered another concussion in Week 6 and never played again, after starting just 15 career games. Veteran John Abraham was placed on IR this year by the Cardinals after suffering a concussion. We hear much about protocol, but has any progress truly been made?
16. Josh Gordon’s 16-game suspension was reduced to 10 games under the new drug policy, which is nice, though the fact remains that Ray Rice initially received a two-game suspension for brutalizing his fiancée in an elevator.
17. The NFL generated $9.7 billion in revenue last year, but maybe it could have been $10 billion if they tried harder?
18. Papa John’s is the official pizza of the NFL.
19. LaRon Landry just received a four-game suspension for violating the PED policy but for years people have questioned how he could be such a physical freak in the gym. I guess this is how secondary players have to keep pace in today’s NFL.
21. You can hit on 11 and you can hit on 16, but you can’t hit on another human without consequences and Goodell should know that.
22. In a Huffington Post poll about the AP poll, only 22 percent of readers thought Goodell should remain on the job as of Thursday.
23. Because if you asked Michael Jordan, he’d say abuse is only acceptable when it’s directed at your teammates.
24. Twelve players have committed suicide in recent years, including Junior Seau and Paul Oliver, who shot himself in front of his wife and children. Oliver’s family sued the league, saying concussions drove him to suicide.
25. If the league has parity, then why has it been almost 25 years since the Bengals won a playoff game?
26. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman presents an interesting conundrum for Goodell: He’s young, brash, talented and popular. People tune in to see what Sherman could do, and at the same time, he’s a model citizen who’s never had any legal troubles. Yet, he stops Manning from winning Super Bowls, so that’s not good for Goodell.
27. Last year Eli Manning threw as many interceptions as Nick Foles threw touchdowns, but Foles threw 25 fewer picks. Eli is still more famous. This is somehow Goodell’s fault.
29. A CBS poll about the AP poll found only 29 percent of fans think he should remain as commissioner.
30. According to PBS, 30 players have suffered a concussion in 2014.
31. A player has rushed for 100 or more yards just 31 times through five weeks, and just 13 players rushed for 1,000 yards last year. If you don’t think that Goodell has helped make the running back an endangered species, you haven’t been paying attention to new penalties against cornerbacks, safeties and anyone near a QB.
32. At the end of the day, Michael Vick missed just two seasons due to his hobby of killing dogs. Some would call the punishment “harsh” considering it was his first offense. Others would say that everyone deserves a second chance. But if you killed dogs and worked at Google instead of the NFL, nobody would question it if they said “Yeah, you can never work here again.”
33. Almost a third of NFL players will develop debilitating brain conditions after their playing careers are over, and twice as often as the rest of the population.
34. If 66 percent of fans think Goodell shouldn’t lose his job, that means one-third of them think he should. It’s not like you have to have a 100 percent approval rate, but what is acceptable?
35. How many players have been suspended for substance abuse violations in 2014? It’s 35 and counting.
36. The August 28 domestic violence memo issued by Goodell that detailed a six-game ban for a first offense and one year ban for a second is a good start, but it wouldn’t have been necessary to “start” if the league had decided to address this issue in, say, 2010?
37. Steve Gleason, 37, was diagnosed with ALS back in 2011. His reflection on Goodell is twofold: He may or may not be suffering this disease because of how he played the game, and he inadvertently alerted the the league to the bounty scandal in New Orleans.
38. Those new Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniforms.
39. A survey conducted by Seton Hall University showed that Goodell’s support has dropped from 27 percent to 12 percent.
40. Overall, 40 players have been suspended as of Week 6. Seems like there’s a myriad of bad things happening in the NFL – some of which we’ll never address.
41. At the owners meetings this week, Goodell showed a 40-minute video about domestic abuse. That’s substitute-teacher behavior if ever I saw it.
42. In that same AP-GFK poll, one number that didn’t make the headline: 42 percent of fans do not approve of how Goodell handled these issues. Which still seems kind of low.
43. That same poll also found that 43 percent of people don’t think Rice should be allowed to play again. That’s a far cry from the 100 percent of Goodells who initially said he should.
44. Final numbers may vary, but reports have often suggested that Goodell earned $44 million for his services last year. I would’ve done the job for no more than $30 million.
45. Bill Simmons was suspended for three weeks simply for making comments about the NFL, but nobody is around to do anything to Goodell or his henchmen.
46. Hey, a racial component! Forty-six percent of white fans believe Rice should be banned for life, compared to 19 percent of black fans.
47. The Ravens had Rice and Ray Lewis but ugh, Joe Flacco is a Super Bowl-winning QB. Where was Goodell that day?
48. If the league has parity then why have the Lions advanced to the conference championship just once in the Super Bowl era?
49. Jacksonville currently has an NFL franchise; Los Angeles does not.
50. Next year will give us “Super Bowl 50,” rather than “Super Bowl L.” Roger Goodell does not care about Roman Numerals.
51. In 2007, after more than 50 players had been arrested, Goodell swore to eradicate the illegal nonsense. But a study by the New York Times found he was more lenient on domestic violence cases than any other issue.
52. In 2013, Ray Lewis retired a hero and the league will never forget that, but they will forget that thing that happened about 15 years earlier? What was that about again?
53. The Raiders have won 53 games since making the Super Bowl in 2002. Like, holy shit, Roger. Help ’em out or something.
54. Fifty-four percent of the NFL’s payroll went to five individuals, including Goodell.
55. Fifty-five percent of people believe Goodell lied about when the NFL saw the second Rice video.
56. If he resigned, next year Goodell could be a 56-year-old millionaire, buy a franchise, move them to LA and stack stacks like Heisenberg himself.
57. The NFL is the only organization that makes the NCAA look well-organized and just.
58. The NFL could make $59 billion and still would it ever be good enough for Goodell? This 2013 story by Outside the Lines details the hardline stance that Goodell has taken when it comes to putting the bottom line first.
59. The continued existence of “Thursday Night Football.”
60. Because his resignation would make a great episode of 30 for 30.
61. In a poll released in January of 2014, 61 percent of NFL players didn’t approve of the job that Goodell was doing. This was before the Ray Rice disaster.
62. There is still an NFL team named the Washington Redskins.
63. If nearly 63 percent of voters don’t think Goodell should keep his job just days before the AP poll came out, then who are we to believe?
64. A Star Tribune poll found that 64 percent of voters thought Goodell should be fired.
65. It took a federal judge to get assurances that the NFL’s concussion settlement would be adequate to cover players for the next 65 years.
66. He just kind of seems like a dick.