For those of you who were hoping you would soon see the last of Roger Goodell as the league’s commissioner in the relatively near future, perhaps it’s time to think again. Having held the position since 2006, and having recently signed a new contract that some believed may be he last, he told reporters during Super Bowl week recently that he has no thoughts of retirement.
As it currently stands, he is right smack dab in the middle of major negotiations with the NFLPA, working toward the finalization of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFLPA itself is on the eve of voting on a potential new president, with Russell Okung running, but Goodell has been the fixture on the league side for some time.
He was asked earlier this week if he had given any thought to how much longer he might continue on with this job, given how long he has done the job, though in actuality he is only 60 years old, and there are a number of head coaches in the league who are older—some somewhat significantly.
“One thing I learned from this job is that your work is never done”, he said in beginning to respond to the question. “I believe there are always challenges that this league will have to address. And I want to put our league in the best possible position. I do believe that leadership is important and that consistent leadership in some fashion is critical for the league”.
“Succession will be an important part of it. But I have not thought about retiring”, he continued. “It is not on my agenda. We have too much to do, and I think too many great things are happening in this league right now. But at some point, I am going to retire. That day is probably closer than it was yesterday. But I am not focused on that. I am 100 percent committed to this job”.
Everything, technically speaking, that can be measured in linear time is closer today than it was yesterday, so that statement doesn’t really mean much. It’s entirely possible that he remains commissioner for another 15 years. At this point, he probably doesn’t give a damn that he gets booed everywhere he goes. He’s certainly compensated well enough.
It’s fair to say that Goodell has been a relatively controversial commissioner, overseeing significant changes to the rules pertaining to player safety that many have not particularly cared for, with respect to its impact on the game.
Most significantly, perhaps, has been his heavy hand in enforcing discipline, which in the past in particular has often seemed ad hoc. No doubt, he has been thrown a lot of obstacles in his path he has had to navigate, but many would certainly argue that he could have handled them much better than he has.
Not that his successor is certain to be an improvement.