Responding to fawning questioning from Colin Cowherd, Roger Goodell on Wednesday showed the definition of the word “integrity” remains elusive for him.
The NFL Commissioner appeared with the FOX Sports Radio host. FOX will be televising this year’s Super Bowl between the Falcons and Patriots.
You’ll love this line of questioning and the responses elicited. I only transcribed the stuff about Boston. Because I’m parochial. And feisty.
COWHERD: There’s a feeling in Boston, fair or not, and I think it’s largely unfair that the NFL is largely anti-Patriot. We know it’s parochial. We understand how fans react but how comfortable are you with that?
GOODELL: Well, listen, the fans, uhhh, are going to feel what they want. We have, uh obviously 32 sets of fans, national fans that, ummm, you know, want to make sure we’re doing things that are upholding the integrity of the game at all times. Uhhh. We think this is a great opportunity to see the two best teams in football playing on Sunday in the Super Bowl. The Patriots have earned it. The Falcons have earned it. And we’re thrilled. We think this is one of the great mathcups and should be one of the great games.
COWHERD: But Boston fans aren’t thinking, “Why doesn’t the commissioner show up to our playoff games? Again, this is how Boston reacts. It’s a feisty media. So I have to ask you, why not go to Foxboro? Were there safety concerns, perhaps?
(Ed. note: “Were there safety concerns, perhaps?” sounds like a great catchphrase for an easily despised office irritant in a sitcom.)
GOODELL: No, Colin. It’s, ya know, listen, we had two great games. I was in Boston two years ago for the divisional and championship games. Uhhh. I try to get to as many stadiums as I can. But you know, you have two great games and you’ve gotta choose and frankly the focus should be on the players and the coaches and the great games and fortunately that’s the way it was.
COWHERD: We know that NFL owners are people you work for, this is how all commissioners work. … Robert Kraft, the belief is that he’s not happy with you at the very moment. Do you believe that to be true?
GOODELL: Heh heh. Colin, listen, I wouldn’t be doing my job if somebody wasn’t unhappy with a decision that you make or the way you’re doing it. Robert and I can disagree about things, we have a healthy respect for one another but that’s true with any owner. That doesn’t affect my impact, my relationship or the fact that we work together to try to make the NFL better. That’s the most important thing. I can’t agree with everybody at every moment and I shouldn’t … In many cases we have to discipline our clubs and we do that with a large number of our clubs when there’s a violation of policy. But it’s not personal, it’s professional.
(Ed note: Goodell is as disconnected from the concept of “professional vs. personal” as he seems to be from “integrity.”)
COWHERD: I gotta ask you this I have 45 seconds left. You’ve been very candid with me and I do appreciate you choosing us, I really do. But I gotta ask ya, ya just gotta be as honest as you can. If you handed the trophy to Brady wouldn’t there be a little discomfort maybe because of all the talk and the narrative and the media and people saying, ‘Oh, Roger’s uncomfortable with that, the commissioner.’ Would you be slightly uncomfortable, even for a moment?
GOODELL: Not for a second. This is one of the great opportunities we have. The Patriots and Falcons have both earned the opportunity to be there. They deserve it and whoever wins that championship will earn it. Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats. He has been for several years. He’s on the precipice of at least potentially winning his fifth Super Bowl ring. He’s an extraordinary player, a great performer and a surefire Hall of Famer so it would be an honor.
(Ed. note: In other words, “GOOOOO FALCONS!!!”)