Be Careful What You Wish For
Roger Goodell, the robotic commissioner of the NFL, has found himself in quite a jam. The man who fought so hard to be the judge, jury and executioner when it came to disciplining players is under scrutiny for his performance in all three roles. Many people believe his handling of the Ray Rice issue should cost him his job. Though these people may have a very logical point of view they are forgetting something rather important. In short, my message is to be careful what you wish for.
Roger Goodell is in power for a reason. He works for the owners and the owners love him. We love to build Goodell up as a strong dictator while he is just the owners whipping boy. His actions are always to protect the owner’s best interests. Sure he punishes the owners who step out if line (a la Dan Snyder) but he does it only because the other owners are okay with it. The NFL is a business and the brand has never been so strong.
Roger Goodell naturally became the owners dirty deeds doer. Its simply a matter of self preservation. This is most clear when examining the NFL lockout. This was the league’s power play against the Players Association. All of the drama, all of the kicking and screaming and all the fear the lockout generated boiled down to one thing, the owners’ bottom line.
The reason the lockout of 2011 raged for so long is that Goodell placed the owners against their product. There was no desire for a middle ground there was only a desire to get more than the other side. The commissioner could have been the mediator, instead he was the owners’ lead attorney. There would have been no need for outside mediation if Goodell would have done it himself. Roger Goodell risked the 2011 season so he could make sure the players got less than the owners. The players make the NFL what it is. Nobody pays to see Robert Kraft in his game day suit and tie. To Goodell the owners are what the league is about; because the employ him. The owners won their battle giving the players just enough to sign the CBA.
The owners are not going to do away with such a valued pawn. Roger Goodell will continue to rake in the millions. The league will regain its sponsorships and advertising. The country loves football and nobody hates Roger Goodell enough to change that. Let’s just walk down the hypothetical-bricked road and say the owners fire the commissioner. Nothing would change. The league would have a different leader but the job would remain the same. You would have another highly paid worker bee to be the league’s frontman. If you want to really make a difference go after the 32 NFL club owners. Good luck.