The past 24 hours haven’t been the best for Roger Goodell. If the NFL commissioner hoped the start of pro football’s 2016 regular season would provide a natural moment in time for his league to begin to clean up its image amid criticism over how it oversees player safety and handles player discipline overall, he could use, to borrow a golf term, a mulligan.
Rather than talk about Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos one-point victory on Thursday night over Carolina in the season-opener, the chatter on social media afterward focused on whether officials (and by extension the NFL) did enough to protect Panthers quarterback Cam Newton after he suffered several vicious hits during the course of the game.
The New York Times, meanwhile, ran a story on Friday about Goodell and what NFL players are beginning to do in an effort to try and keep him from wielding too much power. The photo illustration that accompanied the story laid out visually the perception of the problem that Goodell and the league faces:
No doubt, the puppeteer is the quintessential image of the boss wielding power. And we should know. Back in April 1992, Golf Digest took an in-depth look at the man in charge at the time of the PGA Tour, commissioner Deane Beman, and whether the authoritative style that had served him well for nearly two decades might have finally run its course. Under the headline "Can Beman Survive?", it was the first of a three-part series that explored Beman and the state of the tour. And we too used the commish pulling the strings to make a point.
Unfortunately for Goodell, he can take little solace in how things worked out for Beman. Less than two years, he announced his retirement as commish.