Roger Goodell will be in attendance Thursday night when the New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL season opener. Goodell isn’t popular in many places, but since going after and eventually suspending Tom Brady, he’s particularly disliked in New England. In order to avoid a potentially ugly scene, he has a plan.
“In an effort to mitigate the negative reaction from fans in Foxborough, Goodell will finish up his pregame duties on the field early and will be off the field before the majority of Patriots fans are inside the stadium,” Kalyn Kahler of Sports Illustrated reported. “The Patriots will not flash to any shots of the commissioner during the game on the video screens inside the stadium, and Goodell will not be sitting in Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s suite. (He did visit Kraft’s suite briefly during his preseason appearance.)”
While they may not see him on any big screens, Patriots fans are certainly ready to mock Goodell at every turn. They’re prepared to wave towels depicting Goodell as a clown, and a local restaurant has created a drink called a “Dirty Goodell” in “his honor.”
So, maybe shots of Goodell on the screens would be overkill. At least he’s going this time. Two years ago when the Patriots hosted this game, Goodell was nowhere to be found, only adding to the tension between himself, the New England organization, and its fans.