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Fans eased off Goodell after rough start

2011 NFL Draft

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) greets Mike Pouncey, #15 overall pick by the Miami Dolphins, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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Leading up to Thursday’s draft, one of the biggest questions was how Commissioner Roger Goodell received.

As expected, the initial reaction to Goodell was intense. He was greeted with chants and extended thunderous boos when he first greeted the crowd 30 minutes before the show started. The boos were also loud when he came to announce the first pick of the night.

Then a somewhat surprising thing happened. (At least surprising to me.) New York fans settled in to their normal routines of heavily booing team picks like the Cowboys, Patriots, and Eagles. Goodell was mostly spared for the rest of the night.

In hindsight, it was smart for Goodell to let the fans get their anger out en masse before the show started. Once the draft got going, everyone was happy to get back to regular football for a while. (So were we.)

It’s also worth noting there was no awkwardness between the players and Goodell. Some of the bear hugs Goodell received -- Marcell Dareus and Mike Pouncey come to mind -- broke records for man love.

It’s really baffling for me to see these young guys hugging the commissioner with everyone that has gone on in past months,” Ryan Grant wrote on Thursday night.

For most of one night, football fans and incoming rookies tried to forget the awful last few months ever happened.