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The Lack of Credibility of Roger Goodell

So who does Roger Goodell work for?

Well, none of us were born yesterday.  Goodell works for the owners.  His paycheck comes from the NFL.  That’s the owners.  When we hear Goodell parroting the party line of ownership in support of an 18 game season, we know he is a lackey.  He twists and contorts the fan wishes. An interest in not getting extorted for preseason games gets morphed into making those two games part of the regular season.  NO.  STOP.  Fans don’t want to see an 18 game season, unless you are one of the 23% in the minority who mistakenly thinks more is better.  All the fans want is to stop getting charged for preseason games as a hidden cost for their season tickets.  And as a side result, season’s ticket/PSL holders recognize that economically, the hosing gets cut in half if they bring two games from preseason to the regular season.    

But make no mistake.  Goodell takes us for morons when he says that we want 18 games.  He is posturing and trying to sell it.  Because that is part of what the owners are fighting over in the labor impasse.  The posturing is pitifully weak and disingenuous.  Throw in this trumped up demand, then make it a part of your last minute concession in an effort to secure better terms on the other issues (like percentage of revenue).  That is what is really going on here.  The league knows what the marginal returns on an 18 game season would be.  Paltry. It is a tangential joke.  

What is not a joke is that an 18 game season may be the ‘cost’ of a settlement.  And by that, I mean that it could not only stop a resolution, it could also be a part of the 2012 season as part of the deal.  One step back to go.. three steps back.  The Union may realize that an 18 game season means larger rosters and more .. union members.  Aha!  A growth business.  Never mind that these members will be playing all year long killing themselves and turning ‘Football’ into ‘Survivor.’     

The upshot of all of this is that Goodell has lost all credibility.  It is almost embarrassing to see a smart man lie through his teeth, trying to turn half-truths into facts.  Passing off the preseason con as a wish for 18 games is ludicrous.  We must reiterate that NEVER EVER has a player or coach (or an owner, for that matter!) stood there after the final game of the regular season and said that we needed more game/s to decide who was worthy.  In fact, they all to a man go out of their way to say the exact opposite, that if they missed the playoffs, that they had more than ample opportunity to get it done and fell short.  By that point in the season, the players are almost all suffering injuries of one form or another and the coaches have been going for months without much sleep, so two more weeks is not what any of them want, unless it means a shot at the title.

(Funny how we talk about how the dilution of player talent wil hurt the game.  What about a longer season’s impact on coaching turnover?!  Great.  Another reason why this idea of a longer season is madness.) 

Goodell as Commissioner has the power to do some arm-twisting.  He can call in favors.  He can also ask for a few too.  But lackeys don’t get respect and they certainly don’t twist arms.  The irony here is that if Goodell wanted to cement his place as the Commissioner, he would realize that HIS JOB THAT THE OWNERS HIRED HIM TO DO IS TO LEAD, WITH OR WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF THE OWNERS.   

The owners are their own worst enemy.  These powerful men are used to winning in business, not conceding.  Yet a lockout is a loss.  Especially if it leads to lost games, revenue and customers.  IF GOODELL WANTS TO SERVE THE OWNERS’ BEST INTERESTS, HE’LL STRONG-ARM BOTH PARTIES TO MAKE CONCESSIONS AND GET ON WITH BUSINESS.    

In any negotiation, to close a deal, you have to be willing to walk away.  Goodell needs to be willing to get fired for doing the right thing.  Do us a favor Roger and grow a pair.  The owners may not be pleased with you at the outset.  But you’ll save the season amidst this anemic economy, and they’ll thank you later.