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SmashMouth 03-06-2013 09:18 AM

His Game, His Rules - A Roger Goodell Expose
BEHIND THE CLOSED doors of a Capitol Hill chamber, Roger Goodell sits on a panel with an Army general before a rapt audience of two dozen lawmakers. The NFL commissioner swaps ideas with four-star Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III about how to better protect the brains of the young people who fight America's wars and play America's game. They also discuss changing the "warrior mentality" among soldiers and players, who keep fighting and playing through pain. The parallel is unmistakable: To detect and treat traumatic brain injuries, the U.S. Army and the NFL are partners in survival.

Military Veterans' Caucus
This was on Sept. 12 of 2012. Clad in a navy blue business suit offset by a bright yellow tie, Goodell, 54, jots notes as Austin speaks. Almost 7,000 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan have sensors embedded in their helmets to record concussive events, Austin tells Goodell. Another general muses that it's easy to imagine that someday the Army's sensors will be embedded in every NFL player's helmet.

From Capitol Hill, Goodell races to a luncheon interview at the W Hotel before a crowd of fans. The interview, initiated by the league office, is conducted by a friendly questioner from the Politico website who allows Goodell to combat a swirl of bad news, from the league's lockout of the referees to a run of negative player-safety studies. On that most important issue, he tells the awed audience, in his methodical manner of speaking: "Player health and safety is an issue that we've always been focused on. It's always been a priority."

Three years earlier, on another, more unsettling visit to Capitol Hill, Goodell was ripped by House Judiciary Committee members and former players. Repeatedly, he was pressed to acknowledge a link between playing football and cognitive erosion. Despite the fact that the league's retirement board had already made the link internally years earlier, he refused.

Goodell faces tough player-safety questions on Capitol Hill in October 2009.
Now, confronted with additional urgent player-safety questions, the polished, unflappable, confident CEO smiles and assures everyone that the NFL is transforming football into a safer, better and more exciting game.

Goodell likes to say that for the NFL and football to evolve and continue to thrive, everyone must contribute: players, coaches, officials, executives and the commissioner. But, he often reminds people, he is the commissioner, and it's his job to safeguard the game's integrity -- "protect the shield," as he puts it. And under his watch, the league has become significantly more powerful, with mushrooming revenue and global influence.

Over the past five months, ESPN has interviewed more than 80 people and obtained thousands of confidential documents for this story. (Goodell, however, declined multiple interview requests.)

The Bountygate investigation
The league has never been more divided. Last year's Bountygate was the latest disciplinary action to turn into a fiasco, breeding distrust of Goodell in many players. While fans lavish more attention on the league than ever before, many diehards ask whether the end is near, saying they'd never let their children play such a dangerous game. At the center of these swirling tensions is Goodell, whose decisiveness and relentlessness have come to define the NFL, for better or worse.

What's clear is that Goodell is tasked with the seemingly impossible: make the game safer for the players, more exciting for the fans and more profitable for the owners. If he has any chance of meeting those three goals, he must find a way to repair the breach between him and many players, their union and fans. At stake is no less than the future of the game, and he knows it.

Read Much More Here

QBREES9 03-06-2013 12:57 PM

Re: His Game, His Rules - A Roger Goodell Expose
This guy need to taken out.

Mardigras9 03-06-2013 01:54 PM

Re: His Game, His Rules - A Roger Goodell Expose
Too much damage done.
Once the dog bites, he is no longer welcome in the yard.

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