09/13/15 by Rennie Detore
The start of the 2015 NFL season started Thursday with the resounding thud that was the off the field issues that are plaguing the most popular sport in all of America.
Today is the first Sunday of the NFL season, and millions will be flipping on their NFL Sunday Ticket or just plopping in front of the couch to start the extension of Week 1 that began only a few days ago.
What is troublesome about the NFL is that the product on the field is waning a bit, mostly because ticket sales are down around the league due to big screen and 4K TV sales being up. But more so than that isn't so much the league losing popularity on television, but just the proverbial black cloud that hangs over it, spearheaded by the commissioner Roger Goodell and his inability to do anything for the league on a decision or punishment side of the business that ever is taken seriously. Granted, he can negotiate TV deals and get a slew of high powered, NFL owners to agree on issues, but watching him fumble through league suspensions and fines is laughable.
And the result is two fold: his credibility is awful, and the next time he tries to hand out some sort of discipline, you have to wonder if anyone is even going to be paying attention, since mostly it always gets overturned or ignored, quite frankly.
The other flip side of the Goodell as the world turns is the product on the field is overshadowed on a consistent basis. Last Thursday's NFL opener between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers was more about embattled, deflate gate quarterback Tom Brady playing in Week 1 despite Goodell handing down a four game suspension that went away and disappeared faster than the Steelers' secondary in that very game.
But no one is worried about the final score, and yes the Patriots did win that game quietly, rather the focus was on Brady and how he'd react to being the public figure he deserves to be but only because he's fighting for his legacy against a haphazard system the NFL commission has in place where suspensions of games, fines and other means of punishment makes no sense and is hardly consistent.
There's been talk among NFL owners of taking away Goodell's power of handing out punishment, but that seems like more wishful thinking than anything. How an entity as powerful as the NFL doesn't have standards set on what requires what sort of punishment is just as funny as watching Goodell and his guess work. Aside from the NFL drug policy, the league looks clueless.
And no one is quite as lost as the NFL Commissioner himself.
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