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Goodell Vibrations

roger goodell
Goodell has personified the fortitude that has led the league through its various challenges, and he has minted money for his 32 bosses in the process. Christian Petersen/Getty Images
John Ourand
March 11, 2024

It wasn’t all that long ago, you might recall, that the predominant media narrative regarding the NFL coalesced around player safety. These were the heady days when the public was learning all about CTE and brain science and the notion that NFL rosters were made up not just of players but people, too. And yet, the NFL, which has deftly overcome every scandal and crisis in its history, moved past this unpleasant phase as well. It only tangentially re-emerged a few years ago, when the league persuaded the NFL Players Association to convert a fourth preseason game into a meaningful 17th regular season contest. 

In the end, there is little that can stop the league’s economic manifest destiny. And now, the media and sponsor executives that I trust the most are convinced that commissioner Roger Goodell wants to eventually add one more game to the NFL’s regular season schedule, while likely further reducing the preseason to a mere fortnight. “And when Roger wants to do something, he typically gets it done,” one such executive told me, stating the obvious. Indeed, Goodell has personified the fortitude that has led the league through its various challenges, and he has minted money for his 32 bosses in the process. If he wants it, the so-called membership is almost certainly supportive.