The weeklong Super Bowl festivities are at fever pitch.
We have heard from the players; heard from the coaches; heard from the owners. Next up, hearing from the Commissioner.
These used to be hum-drum affairs, where Paul Tagliabue, and before that Pete Rozelle, would give you plain vanilla answers, avoiding whatever hot topic was out there.
The NFL would introduce new ideas, talk about football rules, marketing plans, TV ratings, business partners, and things to look forward to. Oh, to have those days again, where the Commissioner would talk and really say nothing.
Not now, not any longer, at least what is ahead for this Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL league office is under siege. Lawyers, lawsuits, probes, police investigations, union issues, drugs, appeal hearings, and challenges to the good old boy network.
We won’t be hearing about 9B-industries, growing TV ratings, new business partners and the like.
A media grown hostile, fueled by the 24-hour news cycle, and blazing storylines in every corner, will confront Goodell going forward.
The war over the concussion lawsuits is indeed not over. The barrage of arrests for domestic abuse can no longer be pushed behind the curtain.
The challenges to the NFL discipline program and the appeals process, is no longer acceptable.
HGH drug testing is in place, but not perfect, and now year long suspensions to players is front and center in lots of different cities.
The Pain-killer lawsuits and allegations will not go away.
We have ‘Deflate-Gate’ on the heels of the ‘Bounty Club’, the ‘Hazing Club’ and ‘Spygate’.
The headlines scream about Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Stan Kroenke, Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel and more. Coverups, defiance, player’s rights and faulty decisions dot the NFL map.
You have stadium issues in Los Angeles, San Diego, St. Louis and Oakland. You have franchise free agency, and the threats of more litigation that LA should be an open market and not NFL controlled.
There is the London factor and the feeling there is another money-grab just across the pond.
Sometimes you wonder if the fun of games is forever gone, even if we get to see Tom Brady-vs-Russell Wilson, the beast and best running back Marshawn Lynch against the brilliance of Bill Belicheck’s defense. Game day has been replaced by Problems most everyday.
Roger Goodell makes lots of money, something like a 40M payday package to be the Lord of All. His job is hard, getting tougher, and he will get no slack from anyone at the Commissioner’s Press Conference.
Nothing super about Super Bowl week’s stories off the field.