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Posts tagged ‘Roger Goodell’

NFL Timetable of Contention

When the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012, the football season was officially over. Diehard football fans were left to fend for themselves finding other things to fill their Sundays and Monday evenings. What promised to be a long, dull offseason, though, has turned into anything but. So far, the offseason has been a juicy cornucopia of OMG, jaw-dropping moments that have served to supply football fans with an almost daily fix of excitement rivaling any game day. All the stories prompted me to document this offseason into what I call the 2012 NFL Timeline of Contention:

March 8-9 – Colts release Peyton Manning and the next day jettison about 80% of their 2011 offensive production with the release of RB Joseph Addai, QB Curtis Painter and TE Dallas Clark. They also lose WR Pierre Garcon to free agency. This was on the heels of having fired long-time Vice Chairman Bill Polian and GM Chris Polian.

March 12 -– The day before free agency begins, the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins were zapped with steep salary cap penalties for violating a non-existent salary cap limit in the uncapped 2010 season.

March 9-19 – After the release of Peyton Manning, wild speculation begins in the media as to where he will end up. In the running were the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans and a late running favorite, the San Francisco 49ers. Countless sport talk show hours were spent analyzing, evaluating, and predicting the most likely landing spot for the star quarterback. Many thought the 49ers were the most Super Bowl-ready and would be his best choice.

March 18 -– Incumbent 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, with ruffled feathers, flew off to Miami to try out for the Dolphins.

March 19 –– Peyton Manning agrees to go to Broncos.

March 20 – Manning holds ceremonious press conference announcing his decision. Fans everywhere try to wrap the heads around the idea of Peyton in a Broncos uniform.

March 21 – Meanwhile, Alex Smith and the 49ers make up and he trades in his fins and feathers for a nice new Nike 49ers uniform.

March 21 .A.M. –The day after the Manning/Broncos press conference, news broke early in the day that Tim Tebow would be traded to the New York Jets for draft picks. Questions immediately surface about what his role would be since the Jets already have a franchise quarterback named Mark Sanchez.

March 21 P.M. –But wait, it’s revealed that Tebow is not traded to the Jets. With a ‘closer’ reading of the contract, the Jets discover that they would not only have to give up draft picks, but $5 million as well. The trade talkshit a snag.

March 21 late P.M. –The Jacksonville Jaguars make a bid for Tebow while the Jets contemplate the $5 million dollar snafu. Broncos VP of Operations John Elway announced that it was Tebow’s choice to go wherever he wanted. The world waited. And this was probably the first time that Mark Sanchez rooted for the Jaguars to win at something.

March 22 – The Jets finally seal the deal and announce that Tebow will be a Jet come fall.

March 22 – Seemingly simultaneous with the Tebow/Jets announcement, Roger Goodell laid down the suspensions for the New Orleans Saints in the bounty for hits scandal.  Sean Payton suspended for the entire 2012 season. GM Mickey Loomis suspended 8 games. Asst coach Joe Vitt suspended 6 games. The Saints organization fined $500,000 and lose a draft pick. It was also made clear that player suspensions would be forthcoming. Reaction, analyses, commentary fill the next several days.

March 22 – Meanwhile, recently acquired Jet quarterback Drew Stanton makes clear he wants no part of the QB carousel/circus on the horizon in New York. Mercifully, he is quietly sent to the Indianapolis Colts.

April 1-30 – As the dust of the previous month settles, the usual hoopla and storylines leading up to the NFL Draft carry us through April. Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck become focal points and are analyzed up, down, and sideways.

May 2   — As promised, Roger Goodell hands down player suspensions for the bounty for hits program in New Orleans. LB Jonathan Vilma suspended for the entire season.  T Will Smith suspended 3 games and former defensive players Anthony Hargrove (now with Packers) suspended 8 games and Scott Fujita (now with Browns) suspended 4 games. And the outrage was heard ’round the world.

May 17 — Jonathan Vilma files defamation lawsuit against Roger Goodell. Maybe I missed it, but this did not seem to get a whole lot of press.  Sort of like the thud you hear but don’t want to investigate.

May 22 –  Arbitrator Stephen Burbank dismisses the Cowboys and Redskins appeal of their respective salary cap penalties.

May 23 – The NFL players’ union files suit against the NFL alleging collusion in the uncapped year 2010.

Quite a few other events grabbed our attention enough to keep tongues wagging this offseason too. Retired quarterback Ryan Leaf was arrested on burglary and drug possession charges. Warren Sapp caused a little stir on two occasions, the first when he accused former Saints TE Jeremy Shockey of being the snitch in the Bounty-gate investigations, and secondly when he filed for bankruptcy.  Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs’ injury and the musical chairs of free agency also gave us some juicy tidbits for conversation.  On a sadder note, the issue of concussions was once again at the forefront following the suicide of retired LB Junior Seau.

So the offseason has indeed been full of sound and fury that, true to Shakespeare’s quote for those outside the football universe, probably signifies nothing.

Roger Goodell Channels Wyatt Earp

Actually, Roger Goodell is not new, he’s been the NFL Commissioner since September 2006. But we certainly have witnessed some new and unprecedented rulings handed down by the Commish lately. Perhaps the boldest so far has been the one-year suspension given New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for his role in the Saints’ bounty scheme. This week another NFL policy came to light regarding unruly fans. If you are ejected from an NFL game, you will have to pay $75 to take an online code-of-conduct test. And you must pass the test with a minimum score of 70% before you will be allowed at another game. It seems that the rules may vary by stadium, but a few teams like the Jets, Giants and Patriots have already begun enforcing the policy.

I really don’t know how much of a hand Goodell played in this policy, though I assume any NFL policy must be signed off by him. One thing I do know though, Goodell is starting to remind me of Wyatt Earp. Earp was a lawman in the Wild West and he had a somewhat dubious reputation. In dispensing justice, he often became a law onto himself. Much like Goodell and the NFL. While we applaud his efforts to ensure player safety and control unruly fans, we are also aware of the arbitrariness of some of his decisions. For instance, Goodell makes a ruling as in the case of the Saints suspensions and at the same time he is the one who hears the appeal. Not very likely that he will overrule himself folks. Goodell has a tough job. He has the unenviable task of trying to change a culture steeped in broken bones, blood and concussions. One hundred years ago, Wyatt Earp brought law to lawlessness sometimes in a lawless way. Will Goodell have success taming the NFL Wyatt Earp-style?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Meets with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton To Discuss Stadium Issue

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Just days after the Minnesota legislature rejected the proposed $975 million stadium plan in committee, Roger Goodell and Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney met with Gov. Mark Dayton and other lawmakers. After the meeting, Goodell said:

There were no implied threats or any threats at all. What we talked about is the importance of creating a solution….

I think the legislative leaders and the governor understand the time is now.

Here’s 4 reasons why Goodell’s non-threat is a threat

  1. The top dog of the NFL makes a special trip to meet with the top dog of the state of Minnesota days after a state legislature committee rejects a plan to build a new stadium. Just a friendly ‘how y’all doing’ visit? Don’t think so.
  2. Lawmakers interviewed after the meeting said Goodell made it clear that the time to act is now. This was summed up by Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers who said, “This is a two-minute drill and things will have to be moving a bit more quickly.”
  3. Though Goodell never threatened that he would move the team to Los Angeles, references to the the city were brought up in the meeting. Basically the fact that the NFL and the city of L.A. want a franchise team there. And oh, by the way, the Vikings contractual obligations to the city of Minneapolis will be up in 2013.
  4. It is rumored that the private jet of Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf was spotted in Southern California today

So if it acts like a threat (special trip to Minnesota) and sounds like a threat (yes, L.A. is an option for the team) it’s a threat.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell denies appeal of New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt

Who Dat? Well, Roger Goodell, says Me!  No surprise here — Roger Goodell handed out the suspensions and Roger Goodell heard the appeal. While I agree that some punishment was necessary for the Saints’ bounty for hits policy, I think it’s also safe to say that the concept of democracy has not found its way to the hallowed halls of the NFL. Goodell did say he would consider reducing financial penalties: “If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way.”

Goodell also said that he would consider modifying the penalty to have the team forfeit their 2013 second-round draft pick. Head Coach Sean Payton’s suspension will begin Monday, April 16th, while GM Loomis’ and Asst HC  Vitts’ suspensions will begin after the preseason ends.

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Annual NFL Owners’ Meeting Begins today at the Breakers, Palm Beach

Annual NFL Owners' Meeting  Begins today at the Breakers, Palm Beach

The NFL Owners meeting begins today, March 25 and runs through Wednesday, March 28. In the backdrop of the luxury resort The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, the 32 owners gather at their annual meeting to discuss relevant issues. The schedule (from here) includes:

* Sunday: Owners and coaches arrive; committee meetings; and informal meetings with reporters

* Monday: League Meetings officially begin; Commissioner Roger Goodell press conference at noon

* Tuesday: AFC Coaches meet with media in a.m.; more league/committee meetings in p.m.

* Wednesday: NFC Coaches meet with media in a.m. where Sean Payton is expected to appear; Competition Committee will vote on rule changes; Roger Goodell holds final news conference

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