Is there any wonder why Roger Goodell continues to rule over the National Football League with the powers of an absolute dictator when columnists like The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook essentially grovel at his feet? In his piece entitled, “Goodell great for NFL, even if Steelers, their fans disagree,” Cook goes out of his way to make sure Goodell is seen as the greatest thing to happen to the game since its’ invention.
If Cook means that Goodell is great for the NFL because of increased revenues, more viewers and greater popularity then he is absolutely correct. I suppose in America, the idea of making more money and expanding your product is what free market capitalism is all about right? I think I speak for not only myself and my Steeler Nation brethren but also for millions of other fans when I say “At what cost?”
The game of football belongs to this country. It is not soccer and it is not cricket. Is this ethnocentric? Perhaps, but my point is that Goodell wanting to turn this game into an international success is turning off the very fans that have made it officially “America’s Pastime” now. We are not interested in this game becoming like the World Cup or the Olympics. In what Cook calls “Goodell’s Global Vision,” making the game go global is indeed his true mission. Taking the violence out of professional football in the name of ‘safety’ is Goodell’s way of making the game more acceptable to foreign countries that already see us as a ‘war-mongering people’ anyway. He has openly discussed plans for a franchise in London and perhaps even in Ireland, France or Germany. Apparently the Commissioner has not seen European soccer matches where violence seems to be the norm after heated rivalries….
While he pushes for this ‘Global Vision’ he continues to talk about safety. If you really think Goodell is pushing player safety because he cares about the men on the gridiron then I have some ocean property in Nebraska to sell you. Sure he respects them but he is interested in far more. This is about money Mr. Cook and you have fallen hook, line and sinker for it. Goodell ‘wants offensive players to remain safe’ is what he really should be saying. The healthier they are the more scoring there is which makes the millions of fantasy football players giddy with excitement. More fantasy football players mean more money too. What a concept!!
Let’s not forget the lawsuits that are lining up at Goodell’s office door from former players who have been left well less than 100% for their sacrifice. Goodell rambles on about setting up pensions for retired players and brings up the safety issue over and over because he knows the many hours of litigation are coming. Former players know the risks of playing the game and no one appreciates it more than I do. Firefighters and police officers know the risks yet while their compensation is grossly under what it should be, they are at least insured and given decent pension options.
Cook goes on to mention Goodell’s role in the New England Patriots’ “Spy Gate” disaster. Cook suggests that although Bill Belichick and the Patriots were fined $500,000 and $250,000 respectively, the Pats’ stealing of signals was of a slight, if any advantage. Really Ron? Then why did Goodell burn the tapes? If this was no big issue then why not let the fans see the tapes and judge for themselves? Cook goes on to rip the “classless” James Harrison for tweeting about the Patriots demise Sunday night. Imagine being on the field Ron when the other team is calling out your plays before you even run them! I think I would have more than little aggression built up towards that organization so while I agree that Harrison shouldn’t have said anything, I understand his position. Cook mentions that Goodell believes Spy Gate ‘doesn’t taint the Patriots’ accomplishments.’ Riddle me this Mr. Cook, just what have the Patriots won since Spy Gate broke? The answer is nothing.
Goodell needs to start worrying more about his on-field product these days as officiating is at its’ all-time worst and instant replay continues to be used poorly and disrupt the flow of the game. It’s also no surprise that top-ranked defenses are suddenly not dominating the game the way they once did. The Giants and Patriots both ranked near the bottom of the league in total defense yet made the Super Bowl. Shocking this is not as Goodell continues to take aggressiveness and intimidation out of a game that was geared around them.
Writers like Mr. Cook continue to build the ego of a man that thrives on such attention. Articles like his continue to encourage Goodell’s true vision of football played with flags and inflatable bubbles around the offensive players. I find it funny that Cook almost takes pride in the fact that the majority of Steelers’ fans dislike Goodell. I’ve got news for you, most fans in the NFL dislike Goodell and with a passion. In fact the only time anyone wants to see Goodell is when he is passing the Lombardi Trophy to their team.
Yes indeed, Roger Goodell will ultimately get what he and the owners want. A global game recognized by billions while the few million of us who remember the game as it is truly supposed to be are left to the memory of a once proud tradition that is now a freaking circus. Goodell now oversees it like P.T. Barnum and writers like Cook will continue to be his ringmasters.