Roger Stokoe Goodell was born in Jamestown, New York on February 19, 1959, to United States Senator Charles Ellsworth Goodell of New York, and Jean (Rice) Goodell of Buffalo, New York. He attended and graduated from Bronxville High School. He was the captain of the school’s football, basketball, and baseball teams as a senior. In fact, that year he was named Bronxville High School Athlete of The Year. However multiple injuries kept him from playing football at a college level. In 1981 Roger Stokoe Goodell would again graduate. But this time from Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania with a degree in economics.
Roger Goodell then began his career in the NFL in 1982 as an administrative intern in the league office in New York. At that time he was under the NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Goodell acquired the job by writing letters to each league office and every team. In 1983, he would join as an intern, the New York Jets. However, after one year he returned to the league office in 1984 as an assistant in the public relations department.
Goodell was appointed the assistant to the president of the American Football Conference, Lamar Hunt, in 1987. Under Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, he filled a variety of football and business operations roles. Goodell would climb the ranks until becoming COO of the NFL. As the NFL’s COO, Goodell took responsibility for the league’s football officiating and operations. He also supervised NFL business functions and NFL Ventures at the time.
Goodell was heavily involved in negotiations of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA and NFL owners in 2011. He also played a large part in league expansion and stadium development. He also helped launch the NFL Network and secure new television agreements. He defiantly helped make the NFL get bigger than it once was.
Upon Tagliabue’s retirement, Goodell was one of many candidates for the position. However once in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of ballots, it would be only Goodell and Gregg Levy who would receive votes. The count was Goodell 17, Levy 14. In the 4th round of voting Goodell would fall just one vote short of sealing the deal. In the 5th round of voting Goodell was able to swing 2 votes his way. Making the final vote count, Goodell 23, Levy 8. The only team to not vote was the Oakland Raiders, they didn’t vote in any round for whatever reason. As a result of the voting, Goodell was chosen on August 8, 2006, to take over for Tagliabue and assumed office on September 1, 2006.
Goodell claimed as NFL Commissioner he would both protect the integrity of the game as well as make it safer to play. He claimed to have started as NFL Commissioner with those goals and many others. He claimed he wanted to “clean up” the game and attract viewers. Goodell wanted to modernize the league and make it bigger than it was. He achieved some of those goals but has failed at many.
How does someone like that, end up getting booed at every event he appears at? The answer is scandal after scandal, and problem after problem. What scandals and problems do I speak of? Well to start player conduct, Spygate, the 2011 NFL Lockout, Bountygate, 2012 Referee Lockout, and of course Deflategate. With those kinds of scandals and problems, it becomes easy to understand why he is booed.
The NFL, while under the commission of Goodell, has had more problems, scandals, and issues than any other time in NFL history. He has been caught “partying” with teams on their buses, as well as meeting off record and alone with certain NFL owners. Goodell has also been accused of holding vendettas against particular players, teams, and owners.
During his reign as NFL Commissioner, Goodell has suspended some players for entire seasons and others for only a game or two. Also during his reign, players have been involved in gambling, domestic violence, child abuse, gang affiliation, drug abuse, shootings, and even more than that. A player (now retired) once was even responsible for killing a man at a bar in Philadelphia and that player received no punishment of any kind. Still though, others have been suspended an entire year for testing positive for medications the NFL has banned.
Fans of the NFL as well as players are both dissatisfied with the work of Goodell. Players often complain they are being used and mistreated by Goodell. Having most recently suspended a player for being accused of shoplifting, some are asking, is it time for Goodell to go? Well if you were judging him on what he claimed he would do, then you might say yes. He hasn’t cleaned up the NFL, he hasn’t made it safer, and he hasn’t protected the integrity of the NFL.
Recently blockbuster films and documentaries have attacked Goodell and the NFL. Some groups have organized in an attempt to disband the NFL even. With that information, some might say, it is time for a new NFL Commissioner. But how do you get rid of the Commissioner of the NFL? And maybe a better question is, who would replace him.
I myself would love to see Tony Dungy, Dan Marino, or Troy Aikman become the new NFL Commissioner if Goodell had to be replaced soon. However if he was being replaced years from now, I would love to see maybe Peyton Manning, Mason Crosby, or maybe Donald Driver as the NFL Commissioner. Regardless of your opinion on that everyone can agree that Goodell has defiantly made the NFL a very popular household name, especially around Super Bowl time. But people will also agree that he is booed at the NFL Draft, the Super Bowl, and other appearances he makes in front of NFL fans.
He’s done some good and some bad. He has changed the rules of the game and how it’s played. He has been booed and cheered for at times. You may like him and then again you may not like him. But if you do like him, how much longer do you want him around? And if you don’t like him, how do you get him replaced? The real question, is it time for Goodell to go? My guess is, he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
By: Nathan Walker