Regular readers here no doubt long ago figured out that I am no fan of the current guy in charge of my once-beloved National Football League. Roger Hussein Goodell (I think that’s his middle name anyway) has become Public Enemy No. 1 for most devout fans of professional football for a variety of reasons, a few of which will be mentioned in a moment. With the Super Bowl tomorrow, it seems like the perfect time to exhort our new president to to do something about Goodell.
Face it, as football goes, so goes America. If Goodell succeeds in his mission to destroy the game from within, the country will actually be facing the existential crisis that everybody thought that last year’s election was going to bring about. Millions of people who don’t like football may disagree, but they will change their minds quickly if those of us who love it are one day soon drinking on Sundays during the fall and wandering the streets with no healthy way to channel our emotions. It’ll be something like a zombie apocalypse, but with nachos. And worse breath.
Goodell fatigue set in long ago for most of us, but what may have been the final straw before the uprising happened when he revoked the Super Bowl media credentials for Barstool Sports. Barstool is a hot mess of a site that makes reading about sports fun again. They also love to mock Lena Dunham, which just means they’re good Americans, even if a bunch of them are New England Patriots fans. Barstool’s sin was organizing a goofy sit-in at Goodell’s office during the “deflategate” stuff. Vlad Goodell doesn’t like being questioned, and those who dare cross the line must be punished.
Here are a few of the other, more frequent complaints from the faithful about Goodell, ranked in no particular order of importance, largely because that’s difficult to do. Why?
Everything Goodell does is idiotic or annoying.
1. International Games
In an effort to expand the NFL brand, Goodell has been heavily invested in forcing teams to fly to places where they still mistakenly refer to soccer as football. After a few years of making teams play a “home” game in London, Goodell threw Mexico City into the mix last year. The league loves to “Blah, blah, blah…” about what big successes these are because they get crowds at the games. That can probably be written off to the curiosity factor and the fact that London has a lot of American expatriates living there.
Mexico City is the fourth largest city in the world, with a population of over 20 million. You can pretty much get 70,000 people together anywhere in a city that large just by opening a gate somewhere. It’s not an achievement of marketing as much as logistical necessity just to relieve pressure.
The worst part about the international games is that, as mentioned above, each of these exotic locale offerings is actually a home game for one of the teams, which means that their regular season ticket holders get screwed out of a game. The Kansas City Chiefs fan who has had season tickets in his family since Super Bowl I doesn’t want to fly to London and get his fancy on with tailgate crumpets, nor is he interested in contracting black lung disease from the air pollution in Mexico City. He wants to watch American football in America, dammit.
2. Super Bowl Halftime Shows
OK, these aren’t technically Goodell’s fault, but they are getting worse on his watch.
Let’s be clear about this: the idea of Super Bowl halftime shows are an abomination. The first few Super Bowl games weren’t huge television events. Then somebody figured out that they were the perfect excuse to fill the alcoholic void between New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. Polite society needed another winter day where they could get hammered and not have to offer excuses, so the Super Bowl party was born.
The problem was that people started bringing non-fans (usually girlfriends) to the parties. The NFL didn’t want to alienate anyone, so they started providing entertainment for these non-fans in the form of a halftime show that was actually longer than the game. One infamous nipple and a couple of dancing sharks later, the halftime shows are now almost as long as the regular season. By the time they’re finished, I’ve often forgotten which teams are playing.
3. The Ray Rice Thing
Of all the things Roger Goodell has cocked up as the head of the National Football League, his miserable handling of the Ray Rice incident is probably the worst. Normal human beings were horrified simply upon hearing the details of what Rice did, but Goodell seemed to struggle with what the phrase “knocked unconscious” meant. Our boy Roger had to see more video before becoming properly appalled. What followed were two seasons of the league pretending that the monumental stupidity and failing of its commissioner was actually the failing of every man in America.
4. The New England Patriots
Seriously Roger, what the hell. Bill Belichick and his boy band QB have broken the rules so many times that they should probably be doing multiple terms in a forced labor camp. Instead, the commissioner who’s willing to fine a player for honoring his dead mother hasn’t been able to do anything about the Lou Pearlman of football coaches. Goodell just seems to find ways to make Belichick and Brady mad. Not only do they never have to truly pay for their offenses, but they come back so angry that they punish everyone else with a ten game winning streak. One more run-in with Goodell and Brady may find a way to play through Super Bowl 96 (I’m not doing Roman numerals for that).
The ideal punishment, of course, would be to force Belichick and Brady to watch an entire Super Bowl halftime show.
Also, there really isn’t a petition, but if someone could pass this along to the White House, that would be cool.