After one week of football, we have our answer: It looks like the commissioner has been neutered.
I’m talking lop off the twig and berries.
Remember Gene Hackman as the bad-ass law man in “Unforgiven”? I always pictured Roger Goodell looking in the mirror and seeing that reflection. And, in his mind, every NFL player accused of wrongdoing was playing Richard Harris’ role of English Bob.
Now though (to complete the entertainment reference cycle) Goodell comes off more like Steve Carrell in “The Office.” And his underlings are walking all over him.
Here’s a quick summary of the first regular season weekend in the NFL since Berman deflated Goodell’s balls.
Repeat offender of the highest order Ndaumkong Suh kicked the helmet off of Alfred Morris. Yet the NFL didn’t try to suspend him.
Repeat offender of an even higher order Adam Pacman Jones grabbed Amari Cooper by the ears and slammed his head into his own discarded helmet! But Pac just got fined.
Deflategate took seven months to conclude. However Mike Tomlin’s complaints about headset interference at Gillette stadium were dismissed in less than 24 hours. And (in an effort to be fair and balanced) that story about Steeler assistant James Daniels kicking a Pats fan disappeared like a fart in the wind.
Forget playing with deflated balls. The NFLPA is using Goodell’s balls like they were clackers. And the league office is clearly petrified to go after any team, player, or coach they would have previously deemed to be worth of a suspension. Berman doesn’t need to work his way up to the Supreme Court. He apparently has more stroke than that already. By next week Tomlin will be wandering back on the field to trip guys at his leisure and Belichick will be bugging the home offices of every other coach in football as if he was part of THE FIRM (yes, another early 90’s movie reference. Sorry. That’s my wheelhouse).
Not only that, but we hear now that the league may be willing to explore new terms of disciplinary powers. And no less of an authority than (you guessed it Steeler fans) league ombudsman Art Rooney II is the one sending the message.
So here’s the message for you kids who play in the NFL. The riots are underway and the candy store window has been busted apart. It’s open season. Target the head. Kick. Stomp. Drink heavily. Smoke dope. Drive fast. Take chances. Teacher got yelled at by the principal. And it’s the last few minutes of “Over the Edge.”
Damnit! I can’t stop myself. “OOOOOH Child, things are gonna get easier…”