Roger Goodell is back for more. The teams and league decided to extend the commissioner's contract through the 2018 season. At 52 years old, Goodell can definitely handle the extra yearsÂ—but what do the fans think of the move?
The league sees a history of football with Goodell more lucrative than ever before. The top games grew into record-making shows under his watch during his first two contracts, with viewership higher than ever before. What the fans see is a different story. After all, Goodell also oversaw the 4 and 1/2 month lockout resulting from contract disputes, resolved with a too-close-to-call a July deal.
Which side has the clearer sight? The league doesn't want to change, especially with dollar signs in its eyes. Fans may have too sharp a memory for the strike conditions in 2011 without recalling the years of steady governance under Goodell before then. Of course, neither success nor failure belong entirely on the commissioner's shoulders, but he does bear significant responsibilityÂ—and he makes a handy scapegoat.
Since Goodell is here to stay, the next question is what he's going to do with his new 7 odd years. Recently, Goodell's focus has been safety on the field. You've probably noticed the results: heftier fines for violations, increased numbers of suspensions for illegal hits, more talk about strength and intent during plays. Goodell has also been heading up investigations into NFL player health after retirement.
Player safety is great and a serious issue right up a commissioner's alley, but it's a short tune. Will Goodell be playing it for the rest of his new contract? Or will he focus on new areas, such as innovative contract and pricing concepts to prevent future lockouts?