If you didn’t catch the CBS news show 60 Minutes on January 29th, Steve Kroft interviewed NFL commission Roger Goodell and what a whopper it was!
As with all 60 Minutes stories, it began as Kroft made an astonishing (but true) rationalization: “There are only two institutions in this country with the power to create almost limitless amounts of money. One is the Federal Reserve. The other is the National Football League (NFL).”
According to Kroft, last month Goodell signed a $6 billion revenue share deal with TV networks (CBS is included in that deal) and that’s not counting ticket sales, team apparel and other must-have fan elements licensed and distributed by the NFL.
Kroft also pointed out the NFL rules directs teams to “share most of their revenues with each other.” The reason? Apparently there are rich teams and poor teams and the required revenue share ensures all teams have equal opportunities.
This is where Kroft asked Goodell, “I mean that’s socialism isn’t it?”
Goodell’s response? “It is a form of socialism. And, it’s worked quite well for us.” Really dude?
Kroft called the NFL as a whole a “cartel” because it is exempt from all anti-trust laws and has been for the last fifty years.
Goodell rules his roost in an authoritative nature and the 32 team owners pay him a whopping $10 million a year to do so. While he may think of the league as part socialism and part capitalism, when it comes to the decision-making on fines and rules, the buck stops with Goodell and it’s sort of unheard of for any player to appeal a fine—at least successfully.
In reality, if Goodell is the end all of decisions in the NFL and no one else. So, isn’t the NFL also a dictatorship? I think so! At least it’s run that way and how Goodell hands out fines doesn’t seem to be fair.
A helmet to helmet hit will most likely garner a huge fine but off the field conduct that’s not allowed by players’ contracts can also bring a hefty fine. Take defensive player James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers for example—the fines he has received (in excess of $100,000), in my opinion, are over the top and many defensive players say with the rules set for the NFL these days, they may as well be playing flag football and I agree! Even the soft spoken defensive safety Troy Polamalu has criticized Goodell (well inbetween praying).
This great organization we call the NFL does indeed have 32 team owners, but one dictator who leans towards a socialist-run environment but says the NFL is also part capitalism which only he can “dictate.”
I welcome comments about the problem with concussions in the NFL—it’s awful and we do need to do something about the over-aggressive, but and this is a big but—why call out only certain players and fine them—make it fair across the board Goodell.
Let’s look at an example; if rough and tough Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens crushes Pittsburgh Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger, Ray is assured he won’t be fined because Big Ben is not what Goodell looks at as an elite quarterback. On the other hand, if Ray Lewis sort of “shoves” Tom Brady of the New England Patriots—it’s a foul, big fine and a talking to from dictator Goodell—no appeals necessary.
Just be fair about the fines next year Goodell and you know what? It would be nice if you weren’t the end all of each decision in the NFL—ever think about the commissioner office be a three-party team where they can discuss and agree or not agree on decisions? Maybe take a vote for goodness sakes! I bet not—after all, you’d have to share that $10 million buckaroos with two other people.
Oh well, it's an idea!