NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots opener tonight, but according to Sports Illustrated's MMQB.com, he'll be off the field before most fans are in the stadium.
Here's more from the MMQB.com story by Kalyn Kahler:
The commissioner attends the opener every year, so this date has been on Goodell’s schedule since New England won Super Bowl 51. In an effort to mitigate the negative reaction from fans in Foxborough, Goodell will finish up his pregame duties on the field early and will be off the field before the majority of Patriots fans are inside the stadium. The Patriots will not flash to any shots of the commissioner during the game on the video screens inside the stadium, and Goodell will not be sitting in Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s suite. (He did visit Kraft’s suite briefly during his preseason appearance.)
Goodell made a surprise preseason game appearance in Foxboro in August and even posed with fans. Still, tonight, Barstool Sports will be distributing more than 70,000 rally towels with the infamous image of Goodell's face with a clown nose for fans to direct their anger at the commissioner's handling of the Deflategate controversy and Tom Brady's four-game suspension last season.
As Kahler writes:
Barstool Sports spent $140,000 for 70,000 rally towels, printed with an image of Goodell’s face with a clown nose, originally a t-shirt design popularized by Barstool during the height of the Deflategate controversy. Roadplates.com, a company with a storage facility three miles down the road from Gillette, donated its space and services to store the 240 cardboard boxes stuffed with 300 turquoise rally towels each. On Wednesday Barstool gave out 60,000 of the towels to volunteers to distribute to other fans. The remaining 10,000 will be handed out from Barstool’s RV at a car dealership near the stadium but off of Patriots property. Barstool is calling the stunt #OperationClownFace.
NBC, which will televise the game, told MMQB, via a spokesperson: “We will show the commissioner during coverage of the game, and cover any related news appropriately.”