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mesaSteeler
12-27-2010, 06:17 PM
Roger Goodell, the man at the center of NFL's labor quagmire
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2010-12-26-roger-goodell-cover_N.htm
By Jon Saraceno, USA TODAY
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It is past midnight when the man who guards the gates of pro football, glowing iPad resting on his lap alongside a Blackberry device, is handed a phone.

"It's coach," special assistant Pete Abitante tells NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, multitasking in the back seat of a black Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Goodell cradles the phone to his ear and softly proclaims of the day's down-to the-wire games, "Was that a day for football, or what?"

He says little, preferring to listen. The 51-year-old who started his career as an intern for the NFL and whose late father was a U.S. senator learned long ago to pay heed to seasoned advisers and constituents. In Goodell's current job, those include 32 sometimes-agitated team owners. On this blustery winter night, he hears from John Madden, the 74-year-old football sage.

Since he replaced retired Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in 2006, Goodell has embraced his job with a forceful yet collaborative management style, aimed at resolving conflicts and tackling controversial issues head-on. Goodell, the architect of the NFL's controversial crackdown on gratuitous on-field violence, hasn't been intimidated by change, he has embraced it. ("forceful yet collaborative" more like
dictatorial and erratic. - mesa)

More change — and controversy — looms.

In what could be the biggest challenge of his stewardship, Goodell will try to facilitate a peaceful resolution to a labor dispute that threatens the NFL, a $9 billion-a-year business and the nation's most popular professional league. If the league and the NFL Players Association do not agree on extending their labor agreement by March 4, the owners are expected to lock out the players. That could threaten part, or all, of the 2011 season.

"He recognizes that this is the (most important) challenge his tenure has faced — this is the big one," says Art Rooney II, president and co-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sports business expert Marc Ganis says Goodell "does not want to see a lockout, but is prepared" for one.

A labor interruption would be bad news. In 2010, the NFL is averaging 18 million television viewers a game — the most in 20 years and an increase of 22% since 2008.

"What I worry about, what I talk to owners about, is that we cannot afford to get complacent" regarding the NFL's wildly successful business model, Goodell says.

As NFL czar, he sometimes gets an earful from even staunch allies such as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

During the New England-Green Bay Packers game Dec. 19, Kraft showed the visiting commissioner his displeasure about the league's crackdown on unnecessarily rough hits after Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty was penalized.

Goodell proudly told a visiting reporter, "Two months ago, he would've hit him higher." His crackdown continued over the weekend when 16 players, including McCourty, were fined for illegal hits.

But Kraft — the billionaire industrialist, philanthropist and three-time Super Bowl-winning owner — abruptly stood up and turned in the direction of NFL management — including Goodell.

"That is on you people!" he huffed. His Patriots won anyway 31-27.

Goodell defused the moment, saying, "Everybody's an official." As boos infiltrated Kraft's suite at Gillette Stadium, the commissioner turned to his visitor and lightheartedly added, "Do I have good timing or what? You probably don't want to sit next to me right now. You might get hit by friendly fire."

("He defused the moment" Well even more proof that Goodell is in Kraft's pocket. Had it been a Steeler, Goodell would have stopped the game and had the player ejected.

The fix in is folks.

Goodell will do everything he can to make sure his "stanch ally" Kraft, wins the Super Bowl. This means any team playing New England will have to play not only against the Cheatriots but also against the officials and against Goodell as well.

Kraft owns Goodell. There is no chance that another team will will the Super Bowl. - mesa)

A stand against 'thugs'

Goodell maintains an exhaustive and relentless itinerary. His goals for the NFL include the increased emphasis on player safety, enhanced benefits for retirees and technological enhancement relating to the in-game experience via wireless devices.

Other priorities include ensuring appropriate conduct for all league employees and diversity in the workplace — a goal being tested by the league's investigation into Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre for allegedly sending inappropriate photos and text messages to a former New York Jets female employee. (Funny how Farve hasn't been suspended yet. - mesa)

"Roger tries to make the National Football League a better place," says retired player John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group that promotes affirmative action. "He also wants the league to be what it should be in terms of character. He is not going to have a bunch of thugs doing whatever they want wherever they want." (Unless the thug in question is the coach of the Cheats. - mesa)

Goodell worked in the steel industry after graduating from Washington & Jefferson College, near Pittsburgh, with a degree in economics. During college, he was a bartender. "Talk about learning how to deal with people," he says.

He joined the NFL in 1982 after writing 40 letters to teams, seeking work. Before college, his late mother, Jean, had fretted about the middle child of five Goodell boys. "She was always after me: 'What's wrong, do you have a learning disability?' " Goodell says, amused while recalling his distractions — sports and a girlfriend. "At college, I thought, 'I've got to prove to everyone I can do this.' I overworked. I still believe in that. So that is what I do."

Working his way up the NFL ladder, Goodell found a mentor in then-commissioner Pete Rozelle.

More hands-on than predecessor Tagliabue, Goodell is a consensus-builder among sometimes-competing forces. Making difficult decisions after listening to diverse opinions is a Goodell hallmark.

"You can see his confidence has grown — there is no question who is in command of the room," New York Giants owner John Mara says. "He seeks input, but in the end he leaves no doubt who makes the decision. Still, you never feel it is a dictatorship."

Even so, some players and coaches have questioned Goodell's disciplinary actions regarding concussion-producing, helmet-to-helmet collisions. His office has issued a series of fines to players who have flouted the rules, notably Steelers linebacker James Harrison for a series of helmet-leading hits (total: $125,000). Teammate Troy Polamalu has said the NFL's top cop is too omnipotent.

Those familiar with his problem-solving strategies say Goodell is anything but "some iron-fisted guy," as Wooten says. Tagliabue says Goodell has the "courage of his convictions," values that once led Goodell's late father, Charles, off a political cliff.

The liberal Republican was appointed to fill Robert F. Kennedy's vacant Senate seat in 1968. Two years later, Charles Goodell — by then on President Nixon's "enemies list" and criticized for his failure to follow the GOP party line — received death threats. He lost his bid for a full term.

"He loved it enough to say, 'I've got to do what's right,' " Roger Goodell says. "He never thought ill of those who criticized him. He did not take it personally. It was courage at its core. I was only 11, but that influenced me. People have a different viewpoint, and you have to respect (that)."

In 1981, at 22 — a year before he went to work for the league — Roger sent his father a note with this harbinger: "If there is one thing I want to accomplish in my life, besides becoming commissioner of the NFL, it is to make you proud of me."

Goodell says he makes a point of listening to supporters and detractors of an issue before rendering a decision. "It's never something he shoves down your throat," says Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes, who has dealt with Goodell on issues regarding retired players' benefits.

'Not what most people would expect'

Goodell tries to befriend and counsel players. Early in his term, player-conduct issues whipsawed him, leading him to toughen policies. In 2007, after quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges, Goodell suspended him. After Vick spent 18 months in prison, Goodell reinstated him only after he says Vick showed genuine remorse and that he had changed his conduct.

Today, Vick, who is with the Philadelphia Eagles and is a candidate for the league's MVP award, calls Goodell a "friend and confidant." The two phone and text each other.

Goodell believes in transparency.Before the Packers-Patriots game, he conducted a town-hall style meeting for 200 New England season ticketholders who peppered him with questions on everything from officiating ("We are going to strive to get better," he said) to the Favre investigation ("The workplace environment has to be safe"). (Well what do you know, Goodell took time out from fining Steelers to visit which fanbase? The filthy Cheats of course! More proof, as if any were necessary, that Goodell favors the Cheats over all other teams. - mesa)

At the game in Kraft's suite, Goodell chatted with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Accenture CEO William Green and gave former Patriots receiver Troy Brown a bearhug. (I think I'm going to throw up. - mesa)

"He is cool, funny and down to earth," says New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who accompanied Goodell on a USO-sponsored tour of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008. "He is not what most people would expect. And he is a good man."

And sometimes a weary one.

After the Packers-Patriots game Goodell arrived home in Westchester, N.Y., by 1 a.m., then returned to a local airport at 8 a.m. to fly to Minneapolis, where he met with business leaders and politicians regarding a plan for a new stadium. He later inspected the snow-ravaged Metrodome and the University of Minnesota stadium, where he watched the first half of the Vikings-Chicago Bears game from the stands. At kickoff, the wind chill was 14 degrees.

"Love it," he says.

He returned home at 3 a.m. — after stopping at Arby's — to be with his wife, Jane Skinner, a former Fox News Channel anchor, and 9-year-old twins Sarah and Susanna.

Last year, Goodell was paid $9.76 million (after a voluntary 20% pay cut — a gesture he made when the NFL laid off 15% of its work force). Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson says he "lectured" the commissioner two weeks ago about his rigorous schedule and self-demands.

"He is driven," Richardson says. "He has a lot of self-discipline — 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. My worry is that ... he will burn himself out. It's in my best interest, and the owners', that he pace himself." (Personally I hope he spontaneously erupts in flames preferably while sitting next to his owner Kraft. I'm so fed up Goodell favoring the Cheats that I will not purchase a Kraft product. - mesa)

Goodell, who often swigs bottled water but also enjoys a glass of white wine, works out at 5:30 a.m.

"Only time I have to myself," he says.

In July 2009, Goodell ascended glacier-covered Mount Rainier with NFL Network analyst and former head coach Jim Mora Jr. At about 12,000 feet about 3 a.m., they came upon a crevasse.

"Only a couple of feet wide but 300 feet deep," Mora recalls. "Roger looked down, which you shouldn't do. Stopped in his tracks. You can imagine a guy being ... a little panicked. Dang if he did not get the courage to take that next step.

"I was impressed and inspired. When you spend three days on a mountain, you learn about a guy. I thought, 'If I can put my life in his hands, I certainly think that the NFL is in good hands, too.' "

***

mesaSteeler
12-27-2010, 06:17 PM
GOODELL'S TAKE ON ...

Collective bargaining agreement issues: "In any negotiation, you have economics, clearly. You have the rookie pool system, which we think needs to be addressed. We need to shift some of that money to proven veterans and retired players. There are several issues well beyond that, too, including our drug program. I am a big believer in (drug testing). Part of my job is the integrity of the game. We need to make sure we have the best drug program in sports."

NFL and NFLPA negotiations: "I have been very clear from the standpoint that we are not where we need to be. We need to get an agreement. We are not as close as I would like to be. We have a lot more work to be done. I have said it publicly and I will say it again: If everyone gives a little, everyone will get a lot, especially our fans. That is something we have to do."

Fan alienation with a possible labor interruption: "We're aware of what it could do to our fans."

Quality of officiating: "You can never stop (focusing) on officiating. You have to continue because the game is faster. The technology is better. We (have) talked about everything, including devices in the ball so you can see if the ball actually crosses the goal line. Technology and innovation are going to help us in that area."

Impact of stiffer fines: "I think it has had an impact on the way everyone is playing the game. (Players) are more conscious of making sure they don't lead with their head and don't hit in the head area. That is a good thing for the game. The No. 1 priority for us is player safety." (Liar, The number 1 priority for Goodell is making sure the Cheats win. - mesa)

Enforcement of personal-conduct policies: "Someone has to enforce that. Someone does have to make a judgment. Someone has to get behind the facts to make sure we are all held to that standard. It is not just for the players. We hold everyone to the same standard. I don't want to raise it, but I've had to discipline a lot of clubs. That's part of the job of being commissioner. You have to make sure you are looking out for the game. No one player, no one club, no one commissioner is above that. It cannot be compromised." (Again more lies. His conduct policy does not apply to coaches who cheat. - mesa)

Proposed 18-game regular season: "One of the things that our fans are saying is, 'We don't like preseason games. We don't like meaningless games and we don't like games where we're not seeing the players we want to see.' That is what we're trying to address." (Liar, he just want to make more money. - mesa)

Playoff restructuring: "That is the issue we raised earlier about maybe re-seeding. That's a possibility."

International expansion: "The reason we are playing in London ... Toronto ... Mexico …and in the Far East is because there is tremendous interest in our game. We had a league in Europe and the fans became so interested in (the NFL) that they understood these (players in NFL Europe) were not the best players in the world."

Re-establishing a Los Angeles franchise: "We want to be back in Los Angeles. It's going to take a couple of things. First off, (financing) a stadium."

Improved compensation and benefits for retired players: "Get a rookie compensation system that makes sense and get that money to retired veterans or proven veterans. Some of that (rookie) money needs to be shifted to those two sets of players."

The Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger investigation: "I do expect a ruling before the end of the season. … We have worked exhaustively to make sure we find out all the facts on this. The workplace environment has to be safe; it has to be professional; and people have to be able to do that without being harassed. "

On whether he considered banning Michael Vick for dogfighting: "I assume most people thought what (he was involved with) was horrific, as I did. It is very easy to come to that conclusion and dismiss it, and say, 'That is the end of it.' What I am interested in, honestly, are people who want to change and want to be a success story and can make a bad incident and do something positive with it. I was convinced, during the process of his reinstatement, that he did understand that."

***

OTHERS ON GOODELL:

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick: "I stay in touch with him probably twice a month. If I have to travel, I give him a heads-up on what I'm doing or what I have going on in my life. He is a regular guy who I can talk with anytime about anything. He believed in me enough to give me a second chance. He challenged me to be the best citizen that I can be. I consider him to be a role model. He cares not only about me but about players around the league. It's nothing (phony). He is real and genuine." (and he holds my financial future in his hands do I have to be nice to him. - mesa)

New York Giants owner John Mara: "When you try to fill somebody's shoes like (predecessor) Paul Tagliabue, that is a tough task. I think Roger has done that very ably. If you were to ask all 32 clubs if they believe we made the right decision four years ago, you would be hard-pressed to find any who feels we did not. His popularity among owners, and the respect he has (engendered), is tremendous." (Nothing like given a knob job to Goodell. - mesa)

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "He has keen insight about himself that is rare; has self-confidence without being arrogant. He has very strong convictions and expectations regarding the integrity of the sport." (Integrity of the sport? Except when it come cheating coaches. - mesa)

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson: "Of the 32 owners, there are billionaires and multi-millionaires. He has been able to manage (us) extremely well."

Third Rail
12-28-2010, 09:17 AM
The Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger investigation: "I do expect a ruling before the end of the season. We have worked exhaustively to make sure we find out all the facts on this. The workplace environment has to be safe; it has to be professional; and people have to be able to do that without being harassed. "


Translation: "We're going to wait until the season is over to make any kind of decision, since Brett is likely to (finally) retire for good. After that, there will be no need to take any real action. Brett is still out golden boy and even though he sucked this season, we wanted to make sure he was still allowed to play since he always brings in big ratings and sells out stadiums."

silver & black
12-28-2010, 10:02 AM
You have to wonder when the owners will do something about this idiot.

TRH
12-28-2010, 12:33 PM
why is the Favre "investigation" taking so long???? This just smells of turd, the whole thing....
They swiftly launched an investigation into Ben, who could have just been set up from an attention-grabbing ho looking for 15 minutes and settle on suspensions for "misconduct".
Yet, here's a leader of the league, married, sending juvenile text messages and pictures, yet "nothing". Married man, a supposed league ambassador, trying to hook up w/a cheerleader? Thats not "misconduct" ?
Once again, Goodell is picking and chooosing who he penalizes. This is my main beef with the Goodell organization. Not fair and balanced.

silver & black
12-28-2010, 01:15 PM
why is the Favre "investigation" taking so long???? This just smells of turd, the whole thing....
They swiftly launched an investigation into Ben, who could have just been set up from an attention-grabbing ho looking for 15 minutes and settle on suspensions for "misconduct".
Yet, here's a leader of the league, married, sending juvenile text messages and pictures, yet "nothing". Married man, a supposed league ambassador, trying to hook up w/a cheerleader? Thats not "misconduct" ?
Once again, Goodell is picking and chooosing who he penalizes. This is my main beef with the Goodell organization. Not fair and balanced.

I agree with you, BUT...... Ben is not one of the greatest players of all time who is in his last year (probably) of his career. It isn't right, but that would be my guess as to why Goodell is "lingering" on the Favre investigation. I think most people would like to see him go out without the "black cloud" over his head. The guy has been nothing short of amazing over his career, no matter what your/our opinion of him and his many "un-retirements" is.

Ben has many more years to play. Ben has also been "accused" of "indescretions" more than once for the same thing.

I agree that there should be no favoritism shown, and everyone should be held to the same standards of accountability, but that just isn't the reality of the world we live in.

TRH
12-28-2010, 09:07 PM
I agree with you, BUT...... Ben is not one of the greatest players of all time who is in his last year (probably) of his career. It isn't right, but that would be my guess as to why Goodell is "lingering" on the Favre investigation. I think most people would like to see him go out without the "black cloud" over his head. The guy has been nothing short of amazing over his career, no matter what your/our opinion of him and his many "un-retirements" is.

Ben has many more years to play. Ben has also been "accused" of "indescretions" more than once for the same thing.

I agree that there should be no favoritism shown, and everyone should be held to the same standards of accountability, but that just isn't the reality of the world we live in.

I hear ya, but Goodell isn't doing himself any favors. Its not just here that Goodell is starting to be hated and closely looked at as a fraud. Its all over the place. Media, papers, and fans elsewhere have been picking up this story in the last couple months.
And its not just the Favre incident. Other incidents involving bar fights, weapons and more.....and nothing more than a slap on the wrist, sometimes not even that.
If the NFL won't come down on Favre, at least karma and reputation will. He'll now be forever remembered as the dirty old loser texting cheerleaders. The "black cloud" is unavoidable at this point. Especially when the cheerleader has now hired an attorney on the matter. God knows whats coming on this front, but it can't be good news for Favre.
It's highly disturbing that incidents are not being treated equally. But then again, on the field penalties/incidents/fines aren't either. Considering Goodell is in charge, i wouldn't expect anything less than what's going on now.

silver & black
12-28-2010, 11:17 PM
I hear ya, but Goodell isn't doing himself any favors. Its not just here that Goodell is starting to be hated and closely looked at as a fraud. Its all over the place. Media, papers, and fans elsewhere have been picking up this story in the last couple months.
And its not just the Favre incident. Other incidents involving bar fights, weapons and more.....and nothing more than a slap on the wrist, sometimes not even that.
If the NFL won't come down on Favre, at least karma and reputation will. He'll now be forever remembered as the dirty old loser texting cheerleaders. The "black cloud" is unavoidable at this point. Especially when the cheerleader has now hired an attorney on the matter. God knows whats coming on this front, but it can't be good news for Favre.
It's highly disturbing that incidents are not being treated equally. But then again, on the field penalties/incidents/fines aren't either. Considering Goodell is in charge, i wouldn't expect anything less than what's going on now.

Yeah, Favre is going to be remembered in a bad light by many. Too bad he didn't just retire for good at the end of last year. This year has done serious damage to his legacy.

I'm hoping Goodell's inconsistency in meeting out punishment and his obvious favoritism for some, will be his undoing, but I won't hold my breath. I don't understand why the owners can't oust him... or won't.

lionslicer
12-29-2010, 05:02 AM
Giggidy

TRH
12-29-2010, 02:25 PM
ruling has come in. $50K fine...no suspension.
I just laugh and laugh and laugh. Even if he doesn't play another game, a "suspension" had to be dished out. Remember that little thing called the "NFL misconduct policy".
Whatever.
Some guys get fined. Some get suspended and made an example of. $50K to Favre is like 100 bucks to most of us. At least most people try to hide their bias.....Goodell doesn't even care...him and his cronies just go ahead and make it obvious and let it all hang out. And basically, they can say "What are you going to do about it?". The answer is = Nothing. Nobody's going to do anything.
It's going to take a prominent owner with allies to come out and make a VERY strong stance against his brand of Communism.
Another mockery of the system. Disgusting. Just downright disgusting.