NFL16: Draft Dogs & Ponies, Number Nomens and Write-In Roger Goodell

2 May

Nobody primes the pump like the NFL. Even in their off-season they’re on.

Concussion reports, Redskins wrangle, TMZ video drops (Rice), bad boys running amok (“Johnny Trouble”), grudge-holder grumble (Brees) or having your Face (Brady) suffer blemish of discipline (Deflategate), none of it seems to throw the National Football League off its stride.

The League’s bottom-line, top-line and everything in between grows like their assets swim in a pool of Miracle-Gro®.

Behold, NFL Draft16 (April 28 – 30). And note the capital ‘D.’ A big Deal.

First held in Philadelphia in 1936 as a conception of Bert Bell to level the playing field and keep the League fiscally fit, Eagles selected University of Chicago inaugural Heisman winner Jay Berwanger as the first #1 (Never signed with NFL and only 28 of 81 draftees did (Wikipedia)). In decades that followed, the serious football fan would tune into radio, read the hometown daily and then take in their local TV sportscaster who’d list off the names of the new hopefuls.

When draft-day took to cable in the 1980s on Disney (ESPN) it kicked-off in AM and telecast tailed-off soon thereafter. Most followers had a clue on their team’s roster needs and put their trust in their team’s selection. That trust is, for the most part, still afforded but the presentation has, in the words of former Rams / Cowboys’ executive Gil Brandt, succumbed to a clear “overkill” in shill.

......Goodell.8.30.12.wc.thmb.SSG.T.Wade.USMAToday the Draft is a full-fledged showcase that’s gone primetime on TV, internet and anywhere else sports information gets powerized.

But draft watching is not for every football fan.

Teams must replenish inventory but the valuation of selectees is too amorphous, hazy to vest heavily. But then the whole dog & pony show, from pre- (mock), to DD to post-party analysis seems mired in minutiae, i.e., bores the bejeebers.

One thing I’d like to see in post-draft coverage is that first moxified draftee who negotiates to have his planned digit displayed on his first team jersey, rather than that trite #1. ‘Make me happy, have it ready, Dude.’ If I missed it, kudos.

That upwards of 60% of 1Rs (up it by 5-10% for each next Rd) will have only marginal or zero impact on the NFL operation is a fact not lost on most fans whose curiosity peaks when all’s done and they peruse their own team’s post-draft tally to discover what the Suits & Staffers needed in roster-fill.

Celebrity-watch and fantasy fulfillment will bring in most of the draft viewership. Affirmation by association. Conformity never had it so good.

Even so, nationally unknown Big Men on Campus donning caps & gowns to graduate to their Big Payday (on the cusp, anyway) juxtaposed against the Big Cufflink Roger is harmonious enough but hardly the stuff of “must see TV” for the core element, i.e., fans of ‘tumultuous merriment (sport).’

As long as target-markets in kids, fantasy gamblers and host-City businesses keep cheering the Draft presentation the League can dial-out the static and will keep coming in loud & clear throughout the 50 and beyond (See; London, etc.).

And as the boredom red-lines for those who’d rather watch on-field matriculation than draft day speculation, the event pulls in respectable ratings. Credit NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for much of the show’s success, the whole blooming NFL gestalt, for that matter.

Hoopla and worker-mgmt ménage never resonated with such ♫ harmonious ♫ notes as it does on Draft nite. It’s a win-win for the NFL and getting winner by the year, though, the Nike deal is looking a gobbler (‘These Colors Run’). Goodell carries it off like a pro, better than the 2016 Presidential candidates.

.......NFL.Draft.4.22.10.RCMH.NY.M.O'Leary.thmWavering between maverick and loose-cannon, Mr. Trump exudes arrogance, tapping into voter frustration to further a mission-in-greed while Ms. Clinton cuts many of the same deals with corporations, captured by her own extreme element and jumps any PC Bandwagon rolling by, having made nary a peep about Redskins’ moniker pre-2012 (Nike NFL) in all those years residing in our nation’s capital, DC.

Both leaders could take a lesson in tactic & temper from gridiron Goodell.

Case in point, 2d Circuit’s recent reinstatement of NFL imposed penalty on Tom Brady and his Patriots for their actions in the Deflategate matter, overturning the trial District Court’s prior voidance of the 4-game susp’n and draft pick ding.

If 2d Circuit remains the ruling, Roger wins the legal battle and looks a leader who enforces the law (rules) showing no favorites, even when the offender (Brady) is practically a League logo. If NFL had lost the appeal or Team Brady miraculously gets a reversal (SC), Roger would still win as that result would’ve been good for business yet he’d have given it his best effort: Due diligence.

After ethical grounding, if there’s one character trait a Commissioner, a President, a leader must manifest it is strength, and the wisdom, the heart to exercise it when necessary, regardless of popularity polls. And that’s the lesson.

Though he came under heavy fire during the Rice – Palmer matter, some of it justified for the extremes in penalty imposition, some of it false for its hypocrisy, i.e., his critics variance in reactions to the videos, one wonders with the dearth of top-quality Prez prospects, a void that makes NFL’s sorry signal-caller state seem just so much over-inflated fodder (no pun), whether Goodell may one day throw his own hat into the political ring for the Commander-in-Chief job?

Roger was raised in politics, his father Charles Goodell (1926-87) serving four terms in Congress from the State of New York, leaving that office to fill the vacancy created when Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 6th, 1968, having been appointed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to fulfill the term (1971). Like Rocky, Charles was one of the last liberal Republicans in Nixon era and lost his bid to keep the Senate seat when the liberal vote was split in benefit to conservative James Buckley (Wikipedia).

........Goodell.Swann.Craig.Elway.Petraeus.wc.SS.B.Lail.thm.2.1.9The Commissioner is a registered GOP‘er. His stands on abortion, immigration, taxes, economics, jobs & energy, the latter two still suffering the pseudo-silent treatment from the candidates, are unknown to this writer. Whatever position he plays on issues there’s one vote he should count on: DeMaurice Smith (NFLPA).

It’s because of that apparent ability to reach across the aisle to one’s adversary, coupled with the opposite ability to find the strength to sometimes do the necessary but unpopular deed, that Mr. Smith’s support for a theoretical future Goodell candidacy might be reasonably inferred.

No background will fully prepare one for the many difficult duties and mental – physical challenges that the U.S. Presidency presents to its holder day in, day out for at least four years. Too often critical of their performance, when we’re separated from our own self-interests it’s easier to understand the toll that the job takes on the White House occupants (See: Hair-color change).

If any job will provide smidgens of similarity in experience it might be Commissioner of the biggest game in town, the NFL. In peace-time, the major media attention the post and its subject territory (League) receives, and then the often thankless nature of the job where success can be measured by the critics you create, are both states President Obama understands all too well.

To trade-in a $40M a year job to try to become the biggest quarterback on the planet (Chief Executive), a job heavy with headaches and so small pay it’s practically a volunteer position, seems unlikely. But that’s just what might make Roger Goodell well suited to the White House.

Careful what you wish for, Don. Once you’re in this there‘s no walking away.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: R.Goodell, wc, 2.1.9, Sgt.B.Lail; Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, Sgt.T.Wade, USMA; NFL-Draft, wc.cca, 4.22.10, RCMH-NYC, M.O’Leary; Goodell, 7.10.8, wc, Sgt.B.DelVecchio; Afghan; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 5.2.16 @ 3:11pm, edit 5:47 EST; Copyright © 2016

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