When you’re Roger Goodell, you’re widely disliked in many more places than just New England. The latest evidence of that came Friday, when not even the accompaniment of Philadelphia icon Ron Jaworski could stop fans in that city from heavily booing the NFL commissioner as the second round of the draft kicked off.
Of course, Goodell was prepared for the moment, having been greeted with deafening boos on Thursday, when the draft began. In fact, before delivering some thank-you comments Friday, the commissioner told the crowd, “Just one second, you can resume your booing [afterward].”
— David (@xNYDavidNYx) April 28, 2017
— Dan Levy (@DanLevyThinks) April 28, 2017
NFL Commish Goodell using Jaws as a human shield in return to NFL Draft podium. I half expect him to bring out Labrador retriever puppy next
— Liz Clarke (@lizclarketweet) April 28, 2017
Poor Jaworski, who quarterbacked the Eagles from 1977 to 1986, was reduced to clapping his hands in an attempt to get the Philly fans to emulate his example. It didn’t work, as anyone who saw the reception Goodell got Thursday could have anticipated.
Not even Johnnie Cochran could change the mob's mind at this point about Roger Goodell.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 28, 2017
Goodell should just start shading the philly crowd. "So happy to be here in philly home of 0 Super Bowls"
— Domonique Foxworth (@Foxworth24) April 28, 2017
Goodell should come out in a Santa Claus outfit tomorrow. May as well steer into the skid.
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) April 28, 2017
To his credit, Goodell took the booing in stride — not that he had much choice — and even dared the fans to bring it on. It probably helps that he is extremely well compensated, reportedly to the tune of over $200 million since he became commissioner in 2006, to be the highly unpopular face of the NFL, one who is an easy target for ire that otherwise might be directed at some or all of the 32 team owners.
Still, as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio pointed out, it’s not necessarily the best look for the league to feed its top executive to the lions, on multiple days, no less, at one of its showcase events. Given that the NFL draft has become such a popular spectacle, why does the commissioner even need to take the stage?
Some picks are already announced by former players, so why not all of them? Or the NFL could acknowledge the show-business aspect of the draft and hire professional entertainers to host it, á la the Oscars.
In the meantime, Goodell’s booing at least provided some extra entertainment value for many who watched the draft. In fact, that might just explain why the NFL decided to hold the event in Philadelphia, which has a teensy bit of a reputation for unfriendly fans.