Here at SeedSing we have commented many times on recent scandals in the NFL (here, here, here, and here). The general consensus around our virtual office is that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not very good at his job. Players like Tom Brady, and teams like the New England Patriots, may not be totally innocent, yet the ineptness of Goodell masks any improprieties. With the season only days away, many thought that Goodell's never ending follies would take a back seat to some real football action. That is what we hoped.
ESPN occasionally stumbles into actual journalism from time to time, usually with the people associated with Outside the Lines. Today looked like one of those stumbles with the piece Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what Split the NFL and Patriots Apart well researched and written by Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham. The article goes through a history of deception by the Patriots, and the cover ups orchestrated by Commissioner Roger Goodell's office. Nothing really new was introduced in the piece, it was just confirmation of the Patriots rule bending and Roger Goodell's complicity in the spying scandals. Now at the start of the NFL season, the media and general public are once again debating on how badly Roger Goodell managed another crisis.
Many people think that ESPN piece once again condemns the New England Patriots to the branding of being cheaters. I was living two blocks from the St. Louis Rams stadium during the 2001 - 2002 season. I would never say that I was a huge Rams fan, but as the scholar David Puddy says "Gotta support the team". I was shocked, but not surprised, that the Patriots beat the Rams. All of these years later I honestly think not giving Marshall Faulk the ball more is what cost the Rams, not an illegal videotape of practice. Maybe the Patriots did cheat. It does look like there is a long paper trail to help indict the team. Many Patriot defenders (like some of our heroes, Bill Simmons and our very own Ty) will go on and on about how every team tries to get an edge. That may be true, but then why do we not hear about the San Diego Chargers spying. It would be nice to have the Cincinnati Bengals implicated in some beneficial cheating if it means we could win a playoff game. My point is that the Patriots level of cheating was well beyond that of an average team. The bigger the operation, the more likely you will get found out.
The Patriot's alleged cheating is minor compared to the cover up instituted by the NFL in relation to the spying allegations. The ESPN piece insinuates that many of the owners were aware of the issues with the Patriots, and those owners did little to stop the indiscretion. Why would any owner allow any other team to break the rules and achieve greater success. I would hope that all the owners want to maximize the income their teams can bring in. The idea that the owners want to "defend the shield" seems very counterproductive. If the Patriots were getting a leg up in multiple Super Bowls because of cheating, the cheating will be exposed. It takes a lot of people to pull of a major cheating operation, people will talk. People did talk. The Patriots made extra money while the other idiot owners were complicit in hiding the truth.
The Patriots and the other owners may look like cheaters and enablers, but Roger Goodell is the jester in the NFL's court of idiocy. The commissioner has been fortunate enough to be in power during an era of unprecedented revenues, this is not due to Roger Goodell. Since day one, Goodell has looked vastly over matched and has an ego that is far ahead of his competency. The ESPN piece paints a picture of a guy who can kiss the asses of his billionaire bosses, but cannot handle basic human conversation away from the comfy confines of his echo chamber. Every organization has scandal, Goodell seems surprised by the reactions to his ineptness in dealing with the scandals related to America's most popular sport. That is not the mark of a leader, it is the mark of an out of touch dictator. Roger Goodell has had the support of his billionaire bosses, and the loyalty of a sycophantic sports media. With all of these benefits, he still makes any minor crisis into a big one. Many have thought that ESPN decided to run their article to make Goodell and the NFL brass look good in light of the setback they had in federal court with the Brady suspension being thrown out. This article does not make Goodell look good, it makes him look worse than the incompetent stooge many already take him for.
If Roger Goodell is so smart, and so good at his job, why does he act in this manner. Sports media personalities I respect, like Dan Patrick, seem to go out of their way to defend the business of the NFL over the players. Goodell has people everywhere trying to make him look competent. I understand that these media personalities (I can not call them journalists) need access in order to get ratings. It is better to lose your integrity to the commissioner than it is to any player. I can not help to shake the idea that Roger Goodell hates the NFL. If he is so great, and so smart, than his actions must reflect the desire to bring football down. The ESPN article shows a paranoid, desperate, non-thinking man. Roger Goodell is either an incompetent danger, or a subversive one. The Patriots may have bent the rules, the owners may have turned their heads, but Roger Goodell has kept it all alive. Why is he still the NFL commissioner?
Why does Roger Goodell hate the NFL?
RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing and host of the X Millennial Man podcast. He is available to be the next NFL commissioner. His Playstation 2 memory card has quite the resume on it. Come tell RD why he is wrong by writing for us.