Until the Commissioner has a new contract, the possibility that he won’t get a new contract will linger. And that will cause some to believe that the efforts of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to derail the Roger Goodell extension are working.
So far, they’re not.
Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the group of owners currently advocating for change sits at four or five, and maybe six. It’s believed that Washington owner Daniel Snyder is among those who support what Jones has been trying to do.
Some have interpreted reports of a 17-owner conference call from 12 days ago as proof that Jones is well on his way to the 24 owners necessary to scrap the Goodell extension and, in turn, to end the tenure of only the second Commissioner since the completion of the 30-year reign of Pete Rozelle. As the source explained it, however, that conference call was convened to discuss the lingering negotiating points in the Goodell extension (specifically, terms and amounts of incentives), and it unexpectedly became a platform for Jones to continue his broader push against Goodell. Some emerged from the conference call believing they’d been lured to participate under false pretenses.
Even though Jones has had little success in building a 24-owner coalition against Goodell’s extension, Jones could also find more support if the extension talks linger. For some with vested interests in the success of the NFL, a new Commissioner could be viewed as the elusive spark that will spin the clock back to 2015. For the league, however, the dilemma is similar to what a team considering a quarterback change faces: It’s easy to dump the one you have, and it’s not so easy to replace him.
A new Commissioner may result in a short-term round of applause from those who want something/anything positive to happen for the league. But the deeper problems (like the anthem controversy and reduced ratings) will continue, regardless of who the Commissioner is. Until 24 owners believe that there’s some other person who will do a better job of leading the league through these troubled times, the Commissioner won’t be facing any danger, grave or any other kind.
This reality won’t stop Jones from continuing his push, even though some of his partners find the effort to be even more grating than Jones’ attempt to characterize himself as the “ranking owner” in the room.