When Roger Goodell made his first public appearance as commissioner, in the booth on Thursday Night Football (the Mia-Pitt game in 2006), several posters here immediately pegged him as the doofus he has proven to be.
One enduring image of the man came from this year's NFL draft...
"Welcome" he stated, then looked down at his notes... "to the NFL Draft". Then he looked up again. "With the first pick, the Miami Dolphins select..." then he looked down... "Jake Long..."
Yes, he had an entire year to prepare for that moment, and still had to look at his note card to remember he was at the NFL draft.
Yes, he had a full week's notice the Dolphins would select Long, had been handed the official slip before mounting the stage, but still had to double check.
I haven't seen a man paid to be the mouthpiece of an organization so inept at public speaking since Scott McClellan, the President's former press secretary.
Goodell acheived his current position due to his lineage, his looks and his bland persona. If those attributes had been married to a first class brain, he would have made a top notch commish. Sadly, nobody is perfect.
He was the man everyone in the league could agree on because that blandness made him appear inoffensive, and not a serious threat to any particular competing interest among the owners.
They gave him a token sceptre and some generic public tasks which would elevate his popularity with the fan base, but were of no serious importance to the league beyond minor PR
: "Player conduct".
So he knocked a few heads, got full of himself with all the fawning press and went on a power trip. The Straw Man started to feel his oats, began to believe he could exercise power in a tyrannical way no one ever intended he should. At the time I don't think the owners fully realized the degree of buffoon they had on their hands, but they are now fully aware their Emperor has no clothes after his bumbling reaction to the LIEgate fiasco.
History will show that initial, knee jerk response to a minor infraction with plenty of historical precedent was the first clue to Goodell's unfitness for command. He is kind of like of the drooling, incestuous spawn of some late Roman Emperor who got handed a sceptre and asked to preside at a few public events as a sop to the mob, but then starts thinking he is divine and wants to lead an army against the Huns.
The likelihood of the Doofus in Chief presenting the Pats, the league or himself in a positive light tomorrow is nil. I fully expect the slimy Mr. Walsh to outshine Goodell, and Walsh's clever lawyer, Mr. Levy, to dance verbal circles around the tongue-tied commish.
Then I expect Spectre to slap the Doofus in Chief around. Specter has already met Goodell in person, served with Goodell's father in the senate, and despite all his faults is highly skilled at taking the measure of a man. He has identified Goodell as a pinata. There is no way Specter would be pulling these stunts against a seasoned pro like Taglibue or a clever devil like Rozelle.
We may have an "Emperor with no clothes" event tomorrow, when all the air goes out of Goodell's balloon, and the media realize he is in over his head and turn their weapons against him going forward.
Reiss already started to shift the spotlight on Goodell in his recent cameragate overview article. That may be a harbinger of things to come...