Roger Goodell’s Letter to ...


American Football

I didn’t get a Christmas card from Roger Goodell, the NFL commish.

It turns out his Monday open letter to NFL fans on the labor strife missed me as well.

Fortunately, the letter was posted on

Like John Madden explaining a fullback plunge over guard, I’m going to break down the storytelling in Roger’s note.

Let’s start with the headline:

‘We can and will reach an agreement’ on CBA (collective bargaining agreement).

Is it just me or does he seem to be gripping something tightly when reciting these words.

Moving to the kick-off graph:

With one of the most exciting regular seasons now completed and the playoffs about to begin, let me first thank you and all NFL fans for your incredible support. Many fans have been asking me where we stand on signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union. Let me update you and be clear at the outset: I know we can and will reach an agreement.


It’s not exactly the start of a riveting narrative.

Next comes the “yada yada yada” part.

We’ve done this.

We’ve done that.

The fans are great.

Finally, we get to the crux of the matter:

Economic conditions, however, have changed dramatically inside and outside the NFL since 2006 when we negotiated the last CBA. A 10 percent unemployment rate hurts us all. Fans have limited budgets and rightly want the most for their money. I get it.

I kind of like the “I get it.” Shows he’s one of us even if he isn’t.

But this passage is just weird:

These are not easy negotiations, but the outcome can be positive. If both sides give a little, everyone, including fans, will get a lot and the game will improve through innovation.

I take pride in connecting the dots. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what compromise during negotiations has to do with innovation.

Then Roger articulates his vision for the NFL with a signed CBA in hand.

Less exhibition games with a 18 game season.

Devoting attention to the health of the players.

A stop to paying “outrageous sums to many unproven rookies.”

You can tell when Roger feels strongly about an issue. He breaks out the heavy-metal adjectives.

Coming down the home stretch:

My job is to represent the game — the fans, teams, players, coaches and business partners. Protecting the integrity of the game and ensuring it thrives is a responsibility I take very seriously.

Always good to personalize your story but saying you represent the game is not exactly authentic when your paycheck comes from the team owners.

Still, I’m glad Roger takes it seriously.

Finally, the close:

This is about more than a labor agreement. It’s about the future of the NFL. We have to improve and will be relentless in our quest. The commitment to our fans is to make the NFL experience even better in the years ahead. With a responsible CBA, we will fulfill that vision.

O.k., I wasn’t expecting a rendition of Jack Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth,” but this is bone dry.

Stepping back for a moment, Roger had the right idea.

He wanted the fan to be the hero of his story (the word “fans” is mentioned 13 times in the letter).

Unfortunately, the execution would had drawn the wrath of any high school coach.

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