The NFL at a Difficult Crossroads: Protests, Ratings Drops and Goodell

We’ll conclude with the uncertain status of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whose current contract expires in 2019 and has not yet been extended. The extension has actually been on the table and ready to be signed since sometime in August, but recent reports suggest that it’s been delayed while team owners try to decide how to manage the brushfire the anthem protests have caused.

The 58-year old Goodell, who succeeded Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in 2006, has come under heavy criticism the past several years for everything from his player disciplinary actions to DeflateGate, but a delayed contract extension would have been unthinkable when he was overseeing the most successful sports league in the world.

Despite the delay, the general consensus is that the extension will eventually be signed and Goodell will continue to chart the NFL’s course for at least the near future, but that’s not really the point. The simple fact that the extension has become an issue at all is a sign of changing times in the NFL.