Peter King, the great NFL columnist from The MMQB, joined my Fox Sports Radio show Saturday to discuss Ezekiel Elliott, Jerry Jones and a variety of NFL topics. King offered some fascinating insight into the potential battle looming between NFL owners and the commissioner that works for them, Roger Goodell.
After Goodell’s 6-game suspension of Elliott for alleged domestic violence – the Dallas running back wasn’t charged by prosecutors – the commissioner has now handed out over-the-top suspensions in back-to-back years to stars from teams with the two most powerful owners in the NFL, Robert Kraft of the Patriots (Tom Brady, four games) and Jerry Jones of the Cowboys (Elliott, six games).
Here’s what King had to say about the potential for a showdown between owners and Goodell, whose contract is up in 2019 (full audio here):
I don’t think Jerry Jones is going to lead a charge to get rid of Roger Goodell. However, I believe that Jerry Jones and several owners are not happy with what they view as a very heavy-handed discipline that the league has done – not just with Ezekiel Elliott, but with other people – I believe at this point that Jerry Jones … I mean, i tried to talk to Jerry [Friday] was rebuffed, normally in situations like this, or in serious situations, I’m able to speak to him … So i kind of feel like Jerry Jones … I think he absolutely, unequivocally furious. I would be very surprised if he isn’t very angry right now.
What’s happened in the last 2 years in the NFL I think is very, very interesting. Look at it: Roger Goodell’s #1 mentor in this business, in his life other than his father, is Dan Rooney. Dan Rooney died this year. I would say the 2 most powerful other owners in this league, who were Roger Goodell supporters, right or wrong, were Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones. Robert Kraft is still not over the Brady suspension, Jonathan Kraft certainly is not over the Brady suspension, and I would be shocked if Jerry Jones, as Adam Schefter reported, is not furious.
I think Jones is probably considering all his options, whatever they are … we’ll find out those in the coming days.
I do not think there’s going to be a concerted move to remove Goodell … you gotta remember one thing: the rank and file among NFL owners – the average NFL owner right now, and I’m not going to put anybody’s name to it – likes the fact that Roger Goodell stands up to the big, powerful, Babe Ruth owners of the NFL.
That’s why I don’t think an organized effort to get rid of Roger Goodell is going to do any good. but I also think the landscape is changing. It used to be, five years ago, hey Roger Goodell, right or wrong? Now it’s, you know, we don’t really like what we’re seeing here. But I don’t think there’s going to be any sort of organized opposition to get rid of him right now.
The potential is certainly there for the owners vs Goodell to bubble over into something ugly, especially after Goodell shuts down the Elliott appeal. Of course, there’s also this: Goodell has made well over $125 million as NFL commish during the last six years, and maybe he knew the end was near anyway, so as a final move, he stood up to Jerry Jones, and doesn’t care if his deal is renewed or not. He’ll be a martyr to the sports media after spending much of the past five years being a punching bag.