March 25, 2012; Palm Beach, FL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during an press conference at the annual NFL meetings at the Breakers Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
To use the term tumultuous, in describing Roger Goodell’s tenure as commissioner, might be an extreme understatement.
Although he has played a major part in making the game we love into one of the most successful corporations running, is that what we really wanted?
Is that what we as fans truly needed? Is that what was truly in the best interest of the fans?
Truth is that I have had my doubts for quite some time. Even prior to the owner’s lockout of the players in 2011, there has always seemed to be an undermining motive to his actions. The constant over-preaching about the integrity of the shield. It initially sounded great. Then it slowly began to turn into a way to kiss the owners’ rear ends in a “secretive” way. Perhaps it became an inside joke, so to speak.
We’re just the ignorant dollar-wasting fans, right?
Hold up for a second. Why is it that you keep over-stating the obvious, Roger? May I call you Roger? Or, am I, as a diehard fan of the league, completely out of line for attempting to hold you accountable for your actions?
You have gone far out of your way to ensure that the “integrity of the shield, coupled with the safety of the players,” are the two main focal points of your legacy as the commish.
Please forgive me, Mr. Goodell, but I am now forced to call your bluff. The prospect of you reading this is not the motive behind this article. My hope is that enough diehard NFL fans, regardless of team affiliation, will read this and do as I have today. My hope is that they too will make their voices heard.
A business. A multi-billion dollar business. A business that has decided that we as fans are pawns. A business that will continue to grow exponentially over the coming years; with the help of said “pawns.”
That is what the clay of the NFL has been molded to become. And it is easily on it’s way to becoming just that type of business.
In the game of chess the pawns are considered to be the least influential of pieces. I don’t even play chess. But Goodell has made it clear that the designation of my piece, regardless of financial investment in the league, has very little to do with how we are able to influence the decisions of the NFL.
I ask you this Mr. Goodell, what about us? What about the amount of time, money, and resources we have put into the NFL in an effort to ensure it’s success? Let’s face it, without the fans the NFL would slowly, but surely, drift away into oblivion.
Do I see it happening, you ask? If you factor in the lack of respect for the fans, the player lockout last year, the officials lockout this year, the handling of bountygate, the fines incurred by the players for doing their jobs, the greed of the owners that are paying your salary, the countless number of concussion lawsuits facing the league, the stadium experience suffering due to ticket prices and being in the comfort of your own home…….. wow, forgive me. What a run-on sentence; even for me.
Between you and me (wink, wink), it would seem that you have led this league astray. You have catered to parties which do not include the fans and, in many cases, the players as well.
Despite my knowledge that the owners pay you, isn’t it the fans that put their hard earned dollars into keeping this league afloat? It would seem as though we have been asked to deal with it and shut our mouths. I mean to say, “the fans aren’t going anywhere.”
Need an example? Well, let’s go, my “friend.” I say my “friend” after watching, what could be considered, by my novice estimation, pseudo hug after pseudo hug during the first round of the draft. Would I, as a fan, receive the same greeting if we were to meet in person?
Despite being one of the biggest Chargers’ fans of all-time, I saw right through your “cool handshake” with our first round draft pick Melvin Ingram.
An innocent hug and a handshake. It would seem like an obviously easy opportunity to take advantage of a young man achieving a dream they’ve had for the better part of two decades. Of course their elation would overcome them and allow for a great scene between both parties.
After all of the rambling that proceeded this moment, let us just get down to the true fact of the matter. And I say this respectfully while having a certain degree of understanding of your position.
The fans aren’t going anywhere. I think that is a phrase that has become paramount in the negotiations that involve the NFL. The league’s front office, in addition to the 32 team owners, have begun to make it clear that we are expected to just sit back and take it.
I must admit that in a lemming-like fashion, it is most likely that I will continue to support the NFL for the rest of my life. Who am I kidding? I bleed football. Especially NFL football. I like college football but to me it’s not the same.
But as I gaze into the future, am I the exception? Are there enough fans roped into buying the product that you are selling?
I love football. I love the NFL. But I hate what it seems that this league is becoming. I understand that the teams and the league need to make money. After all it is a business. But eventually the customers of any business will begin to realize that they are not appreciated.
The question remains….. how long will the fans of the NFL put up with the obvious devaluing of their love of the sport? The fans made NFL football into America’s new past time. Not you Mr. Goodell.
I challenge you to reply to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not like the way I receive the form emails that I can’t even recall how I signed up to get. You schedule meetings with players, coaches, and owners all the time. I am not asking for a meeting. I am asking for a genuine email from you addressing me as a fan. Enlighten me. But please do so without belittling me any further.
Honesty is always the best policy. Or would an honest response not be in the best interest of the fans, and furthermore, the league?
P.S. I chose that picture envisioning you saying that is how much the fans matter. I hope I am 110% wrong. I truly do.