Goodell: A Whack-A-Mole who makes eight figures

919193.jpg

Goodell: A Whack-A-Mole who makes eight figures

On the one hand, Roger Goodell recusing himself from the New Orleans Bounty Dance judging panel is good thing.

On the other, replacing himself with his former boss, Paul Tagliabue, is not.

On the third hand, maybe this is a step toward getting Goodell out of the prosecutorjudgejuryappeals court business, which is a good thing.

And on the fourth, maybe its also a sign that commissioners should either be paid by both players and owners so impartiality has a chance to flourish and absurd hatefest impasses can be minimized.

Nahhh. Thatll never work.

But it should. Either that, or the commissioners job should be temped out to some hiring hall that also furnishes court reporters, actuaries and consultants. I mean, in the last few years . . . well, lockouts, actually . . . weve seen through the veil and now understand that commissioners get paid not to oversee the game but to take sandwich orders from the owners and kick the players union in the groin on command.

Thats why they get booed every time they pop up in public, a festival a Whack-A-Mole that gets the mole paid in eight figures every year. And they get the job so that some owner doesnt have to be the mole. That alone is worth 10 extra large a year.

But you can see we already are exceeding our jurisdiction on the news that Goodell has decided to get off the HMS Bounty and concentrate on things that dont make him look so . . . well, relentlessly vindictive, high-handed and bullying. I mean, its nice work if you can get it, but it wears on a fella after awhile.

Goodell became a national villain over the last year or so, which was not part of the master plan when he took the job. He came in, punished a few miscreant players, and everyone cheered. Then he became the face of the lockout, and fewer people cheered. Then he got stuck neck-deep in the ongoing hilarity that is Louisiana politics, football style, and suddenly he looked like the hall monitor whose shorts ride up periodically so he takes it out on the students.

This, even at his magnificent salary and benefits, is not what he signed up for. And while hell still have to be the public mean guy so that Bob Kraft can go on pretending to be kindly old Uncle Bobby, some issues become a cavalcade of diminishing returns.

So, confronted by the knowledge that he was becoming caricatured as what he essentially is the owners beat cop, with all the objectivity of a Chicago ward-heeler he decided to pass this particular cup of merlot-gone-vinegar to Tagliabue, who used to be commissioner when being the commissioner meant a lot more invisibility.

Tagliabue was indeed the Bowie Kuhn of football, someone who tried to keep the demands of the job from lapping too forcefully at the door of his summer house. The commissioners job at the time was in many ways not much more powerful than being an owners cabana boy, and Tagliabue wasnt really asked to address the tougher questions of the day. He was a head, with someone elses figure.

But Goodells ascension meant more out-front work, more hands-on adjudications, more kicking the union into line, that sort of thing. He looked good doing it, and people largely approved.

The funny thing about being the front man, though, is that the sins of the invisible superiors eventually start becoming part of the front mans wardrobe, and then believabilitycredibilitysupport starts to rust and flake off. The New Orleans thing had become too much a drain on Goodells other work on behalf of his superiors, and people were beginning to sense that there was something inherently wrong with the arresting officer also being the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

So he passed that on to the guy he used to work for, and ultimately Tagliabue will get a nice little retainer for doing what Goodell would have done anyway. The process is still no more neutral than it was before, but at least Goodell doesnt end up looking quite so bad.

Until the next stupid thing one of his bosses clients does. Thats the thing about the job. Theyre not paying that kind of jack for any old P.R. work; and when the P.R. isnt going quite as good as you like, you either change the lineup, or you really change the lineup.

So think of Tagliabue in this instance as Colin Kaepernick. Hes getting a play, not the starting quarterback job. You still get the 49ers, for good or ill, but its something to change the mood a little.

Report: Fortress group submits Oakland stadium plan to NFL

Report: Fortress group submits Oakland stadium plan to NFL

OAKLAND -- The investment group seeking to build a new stadium to keep the Raiders in Oakland has submitted a formal plan to the NFL for the first time.

A person familiar with the deal said Tuesday that the plan was submitted by the Fortress Investment Group within the past 10 days. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the submission was not made public. Sports Business Daily first reported the submission.

Fortress is working with NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott on a plan to build a stadium in Oakland to replace the outdated Coliseum. Oakland city officials gave Fortress the right to develop a plan for a stadium and new development at the current Coliseum site.

The NFL dismissed the initial plan that was made public in December but Fortress has been in discussions with the league the past two months to try to answer their concerns. The person said the plan recently submitted is "fundamentally" the same as the one previously made public but does clarify some questions raised by the league.

Fortress and Oakland officials are hopeful of having a viable option to present to owners before they meet in late March for a possible vote on whether to allow the Raiders to move to Las Vegas, where the team has struck a deal for a 65,000-seat domed stadium.

The team also needs to find a funding replacement for casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who withdrew a $650 million pledge for the $1.9 billion Las Vegas project. The Raiders recently told the stadium authority board in Las Vegas that financing will not be an issue.

The state of Nevada has committed $750 million to the project, while the Raiders and NFL would pay the remaining $500 million if three-quarters of the league's owners approve a move.

 

Carr on possible Raiders extension: 'I don't want to play anywhere else'

Carr on possible Raiders extension: 'I don't want to play anywhere else'

The Raiders hope to extend franchise quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That sits well with No. 4.

He doesn’t want to play anywhere else.

A long-term contract extension is a surefire way to make that happen.

“They know how I feel,” Carr said Tuesday in an interview with Sirius XM Mad Dog Radio’s Adam Schein. “I’m a Raider. I’m a Raider for life. I don’t want to play anywhere else. When I got drafted, this is where I wanted to be anyway. I don’t want to go anywhere, ever. They told me they don’t want me to go anywhere, ever. Now it’s about two people who want to be together, and how do we make that happen? We’ll see.”

Extending a quarterback can be complicated with huge numbers in total dollars and guaranteed funds. The player wants fair market value. For a young talent like Carr, that’s a lot. The team wants a happy quarterback without handicapping the team long-term. That’s especially true of a Raiders club planning a big-money extension for Khalil Mack at some point, while retaining other key members of their young foundation.

Carr will be the first key extension in a cluster of them. It’s something the Raiders have planned for a while now, and expressed to Carr’s camp.

“I think they’ve been talking even since through the season, keeping a line of communication together and keeping in touch,” Carr said. “Now that it’s getting on down the line and getting serious, I think that they’re trying to fugure out a way to (get) it done. If we can do that, great. If not, I can assure you I’m just going to be out there playing football.”

Outsiders have pegged Andrew Luck’s six-year, $122 million contract with Indianapolis that contained $47 million fully guaranteed at signing – much more is guaranteed for injury -- as a benchmark.

Carr is ready to enter a contract year, but said he didn’t have a deadline for when a deal had to get done. It might help the Raiders to have it complete by the start of free agency on March 9, which would give the team greater clarity regarding this offseason’s salary cap space. That doesn’t mean it will happen then, but an extension at some point seems like a slam dunk.

"If it happens, that’ll be cool. That money’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not going to change my attire or outfits. I’m still going to wear the same clothes I’ve had since college. I’m still going to wear UGG slippers out and my wife will shake her head at me.

“…The biggest thing for me is that I don’t want it to distract my teammates. They know me, that I really don’t care. I just like to play ball, but I don’t want people asking them questions. I would want it done so they don’t have to deal with it, but I’m always going to do what’s best for my family and what’s best for the team all in one. If we can all look at each other and say we feel good about something, then we can walk away and focus on football. …I want to play ball, and I want to do it in a silver and black jersey.”