I really don't know where Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk is getting this idea from:
"No one currently seems to be putting the broader interests of the game above self interests. The closest anyone has come to doing so is Commissioner Roger Goodell."
First of all, that first sentence is practically nonsensical. The NFL is a business (as players are constantly reminded when they get traded) and interests of the owners and players are what's most important to them. "The broader interests of the game" in this context, means next to nothing. Asking players to take pay-cuts, so I can continue to sit on my ass and yell at my TV for a few months, seems kind of ridiculous.
As for that second sentence--well, I've spent the better part of the past year demonstrating ways in which Goodell hasn't done anything in his role as Commissioner (aside from handing out seemingly capricious punishments) but toe whatever line the ownership comes up with, regardless of feasibility, desirability or sanity.
Let's review, shall we?
Last week, Goodell wrote a public letter that suggested that expanding the season in an 18-game regular season was something that the fans had asked for. Funny, in his letter, there is no mention of the real driving force of this--owners looking to get more money. It was a fine piece of propaganda, but it certainly didn't suggest that Goodell was getting more serious about the issues facing this upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement.
A couple of months ago, Commissioner Goodell went down to Atlanta to inform the leaders of that city that their stadium, less than 20 years old, was too old to host a Super Bowl, and if they wanted to bring the big game back down there, they should help the Falcons ownership build a new one. Commissioner Goodell was showing his commitment to interests other than the owners when he went down to a city with 10% unemployment and held the Super Bowl Gun to their head on behalf of Arthur Blank (worth approximately $1.3 billion)?
One huge stumbling block in the negotiations is the fact that the owners won't open their books to the players. It is a completely reasonable request of the players--why believe owners are hurting, if they aren't willing to demonstrate that hurt? Roger Goodell, as Commissioner, could make some serious headway if he were serious about acting in a way that was "putting the broader interests of the game above self interest", by publicly stating that he agreed that opening the books would be a fine thing to do. Instead, at the very beginning of this process, he attempted to shut down the entire idea that opening the books was even the least bit worthwhile.
At that time, almost a year ago now, I said that it makes more sense to think of Goodell as the ownership's PR guy, as opposed to an actual Commissioner (who presumably would at least occasionally let the owners know when they are off the mark). He's done nothing since then (at least publicly) to make me think anything different. I'm wondering what the hell Mike Florio is referring to when he says nice things about the NFL Commissioner.