Alex Brandon/Associated Press
The largest NFL story of the day Sunday—and perhaps of the previous few years—began with a query: Did Dallas proprietor Jerry Jones leak the inflammatory story from ESPN about Roger Goodell’s contractual calls for?
We’ll seemingly by no means know, however the query is much like: Is there gravity?
I can not show there’s gravity, however I do know it is there. I do not float off into house until I am on the purple drank.
What’s sure is that some homeowners imagine Jones leaked the story, in what’s shortly changing into one of the vital high-stakes, ugly and public fights the NFL has ever seen.
One proprietor, who requested to not be recognized, despatched me a stark textual content about Jones: “He’s trying to start a civil war among ownership. I can’t sit here and tell you it won’t work.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that Goodell is asking for round $49.5 million a 12 months, use of a personal airplane for all times and medical health insurance for all times for his household. It’s unclear whether or not Goodell can be demanding a unicorn that poops gold.
What’s clear, based mostly on sources within the league that I converse to, is that not all homeowners knew about Goodell’s contractual requests. This isn’t uncommon. The NFL’s compensation committee, chaired by Falcons proprietor Arthur Blank, negotiates these offers and does not routinely apprise all homeowners.
“My experience was that anyone who wanted that information [compensation-package details] could ask Arthur and that he readily answered questions and provided the information requested,” mentioned one supply. “That was the case once I requested for info.
“So is that info shared with all homeowners in a bunch discussion board? No. Can any proprietor…ask for and simply get the data? Yes. … So if homeowners do not know, it is on them. They solely must ask.”
Make no mistake, nevertheless: When some homeowners noticed these Goodell requests, they have been surprised.
Leaking information of Goodell’s calls for is like dropping an enormous stink bomb right into a closed room. Whoever did it (Smerry Smones?) knew precisely what the response can be from homeowners, followers and gamers.
Paolo Gonzalez @gonzylla
Not a fan of Jerry Jones, however yeah, like most NFL followers, I need Roger Goodell out. https://t.co/Se9UGt9eNQ
Fans might even see this solely as a squabble between a wealthy man and actually wealthy guys. Yet all of it issues, and if there may be anybody followers ought to root for, it is Jones.
Jones is asking one thing of Goodell that the majority followers have of their lives: accountability.
Goodell has made roughly $200 million over his tenure and at the moment earns round $30 million a 12 months, in response to Schefter and Mortensen. During his time as commissioner, there’ve been quite a few messes due to Goodell’s mishandling, from Deflategate to Ray Rice to Bountygate. We need not get into the small print. Fans know them.
Falcons proprietor Arthur Blank leads the NFL’s Compensation Committee.John Bazemore/Associated Press/Associated Press
The league has made a rare sum of money beneath Goodell, which might be one in every of his defenses. But the homeowners haven’t held Goodell accountable for any of his errors in any recognized vital means. In truth, his wage has solely elevated.
Jones desires to alter that. He is pushing to make Goodell’s contract extra incentive-based. As far as I can inform, Jones is the one proprietor who has tried to carry Goodell accountable.
Jones is doing this for egocentric causes (the Ezekiel Elliott case), however at the very least he is doing one thing to problem Goodell’s energy. Fans and gamers have been asking for somebody to carry Goodell accountable for years. It’s lastly taking place.
“This is just about ensuring that every one golf equipment have enter into not solely…his extension, but in addition, in future years, his choices,” Jones instructed 105.three The Fan in Dallas final week in reference to his menace to sue the league over the Goodell negotiations, because the New York Times first reported.
“And all of us see how impactful a commissioner’s determination may be in lots of areas,” Jones continued. “We’ve given him a number of energy. I believe we’d like the checks and balances of possession having to be able to not simply counsel, however approve of his choices. So that is what that is about.”
The courts have not checked Goodell; Tom Brady ultimately served his suspension, as will Elliott. Fans cannot test him. Players cannot. The solely individuals who can are the homeowners, who’re his bosses. One of them is lastly taking Goodell on.
How will all of this work out? It stays seemingly that Goodell will get his extension and Jones will stand down.
Yet these odds diminish virtually each day. The leak of Goodell’s contractual calls for reveals somebody (Smerry Smones?) is keen to make this actually ugly.
It’s doable Jones positive aspects allies and this will get even nastier. We may see extra homeowners versus homeowners.
We may see a civil battle, and never the type with Captain America.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.