POWER STRUGGLE

Patrick Creighton: Roger Goodell wants Jerry Jones’ blood, and every other owner should take note

Roger Goodell keeps pushing the limits of his power. NFL.COM

This is the biggest rivalry in the NFL and it’s not ever playing one single down on a field.

For all intents and purposed, Roger Goodell has already won.  He forced his six-game suspension on Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott even though the NFL’s own investigator recommended that no suspension was warranted.  He even apparently assured Jerry Jones no such suspension was coming, and then threw the book at Elliott anyway.

Roger won a second time also, with the Compensation Committee.  That committee, headed by Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank and also with Texans’ owner Bob McNair on it, pushed through a new contract for Roger 18 months before his existing one expires.  

Yet that isn’t good enough for Roger Goodell; now he wants to go for the kill shot.  He wants to force Jerry Jones to reimburse the league for the monies it spent on the Ezekiel Elliott lawsuit

Of course, Jerry Jones was quite vocal about his unhappiness with the Elliott suspension.  The NFL’s lead investigator, the only person to interview all of the witnesses and principals, recommended that no suspension be levied, that the witness was unreliable and her story was riddled with holes.  NFL special counsel Lisa Friel threw that investigator’s report in the trash and recommended to Goodell six games, and BAM! That’s what happened.  

Remember, facts matter not in the NFL.  Two appellate courts have now ruled the CBA gives Goodell broad powers to do as he wishes, facts and logic be damned.

Elliott’s grievances and subsequent court cases were backed by Elliott, and the NFLPA, not Jerry Jones.  However, Roger wants Jerry to foot the league’s bill anyway.

Roger further wants to hit Jerry in the pocket for the league having to defend itself against Jones’ threatened lawsuit.  If you are wondering how the league incurs fees for defending a lawsuit that never actually happened, so am I, and so is Jerry Jones.

You may recall that when Jerry was all hot and bothered over Goodell’s proposed new deal, the Compensation Committee made a deal with Jerry.  Back on November 23, according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk, Jones and any owner would be allowed to speak regarding Goodell’s contract at the December 13 meeting in Irving, TX.  Essentially in exchange, Jones would send a letter to Arthur Blank formally stating he was standing down on his threat to sue to block Goodell’s extension.  

On Dec. 6, one week before that meeting, Goodell’s new contract was signed, as the Compensation Committee flipped Jerry off and made those proposed Dec. 13 discussions irrelevant.

Hence, the league got its deal done with Goodell, Roger got paid, Jerry got the shaft, and no lawsuit actually happened.  Yet Goodell wants to force Jerry to pay up for the defense of a non-existent lawsuit.

Why is Goodell feeling so froggy?  Apparently, the members of the Compensation Committee are encouraging Roger to go ahead hand Jones a bill for over $2 million.  

Did Jerry finance Elliott’s grievance and lawsuit? No.  Did Jerry sue the NFL?  No.  So why is Roger looking to hit Jerry for the costs?  He believes he can, he believes he has enough backing owners and he really wants to neuter Jerry Jones for all the verbal trouble he caused last season.

Jones, of course, is contesting the bill, and rightly so.  This is the part where every other owner should take a good hard look in the mirror – something they failed to do when Goodell dropped the hammer on Tom Brady, Bob Kraft & the Patriots (also without any credible evidence) – they have given Roger Goodell far more power than they should have.

As much as it is fair to point out the NFLPA negotiated poorly in allowing Roger Goodell to be judge, jury, executioner, and then appellate judge to hear the cases he has resolved – the owners have done the exact same thing.

That’s right.  Jones’ challenge to Goodell’s demand for claw back will be heard by Roger Goodell.  In the real world, we call that conflict of interest, but in the NFL it is called business as usual.

Goodell isn’t satisfied simply with beating Jerry Jones -- once one of the most powerful and influential owners in the league but now lacking friends -- he wants to whip him into complete submission.  He reportedly has the backing of enough owners (and the entire Compensation Committee) to push through.

Keep in mind, one of the owners who is putting the screws to Jones is McNair. It’s quite ironic since when McNair found himself in hot water with the players and media over his “inmates running the prison” comment, the one and only owner who came to his defense publicly was Jerry Jones.

Right now, it looks like Jerry doesn’t have many friends among his fellow owners, many of whom he has made much richer men.  Every other owner should be watching, because they could find themselves the next one to be suddenly friendless and writing very large checks.

Goodell wants blood, even though he doesn’t deserve it, and shouldn’t actually have a claim to it.  He’s probably going to get it anyway.  

Patrick Creighton is the host of “Nate & Creight” heard weekdays 1-3p on SportsMap 94.1 FM, and “Sports & Shenanigans” heard Sundays 12-5p Sundays on SB Nation Radio.  Follow him on Twitter at @pcreighton1

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome