In his picks for this week,kl Peter King gave a recommendation to Roger Goodell: don’t go to Green Bay. I totally understand why he gives this advice. Goodell is not loved by either Saint fans nor Packer fans at the moment for obvious reasons. I have to disagree with Mr. King though, and so I give this personal invitation to Rodger Goodell – Come to Green Bay.
Why should he subject himself to the boos and heckling that he is sure to take? Simple, it’s good for the shield. Roger Goodell has spent the last few years of his reign as commissioner trying to improve the public image of the NFL. He has done this through two very public and nasty labor battles as well as countless discipline procedures with players and teams….of course the most notable being the bounty gate with the New Orleans Saints. In some ways this has worked for the NFL. The NFL has gotten many of the things they were looking for in the collective bargaining process with both the players and the officials. The players have also been on generally better behavior then under the previous regime of Paul Taliabue.
Then again the NFL has had some massive missteps in getting these wins that has weakened the league front office perspective with players and fans alike. During the offseason the NFL went through an ambitious round up of the New Orleans Saints and dished out punishment that the league has not seen since the Sixties (coincidentally the Packers were involved in that as well with the suspension of Paul Hornung). The problem for the league is that it was secretive with the evidence it had collected, turned players against coaches, and has so far lost the PR battle on this front after a court has overturned the suspensions. The other major PR headache was the official scandal. The team who suffered the most as a result of that? Yup, well…you know.
Goodell has to put that behind him and the league. They need a win. They need closure. What’s the best way to do that? Face it head on, take your lumps, and try to the mess to bed as best as you can. Goodell has a unique possibility to do that on Sunday with the Packers at home, the real officials back in action, and the game scheduled for the next best thing to prime time. Just show up. Come out and shake which ever crew’s hands will be working that day and smile for the camera. Get a picture with Mark Murphy and Tom Benson while you are at it. The league’s PR people will make it all as painless as possible.
Sure he’ll get booed and may be even heckled. So what? He’s coming to Green Bay…which is one of the nicer fan bases to visitors. We treat tourists coming here like royalty more often than not. It’s not like Raider fans stabbing a guy in the stands or Eagle fans throwing snowballs at Santa Claus.
So come to Green Bay Mr. Goodell. Take your photo shoot and smile through the boos. By the time you step on to your private plane and go to bed on your big pile of money most of the deep wounds PR wounds will have started healing. That alone will make the trip worth your while. Throw in a trip to Krohl’s West for an awesome cup of chili and pick up some fresh cheese curds while in town and the trip may even be enjoyable.