Posts Tagged ‘Roger Goodell’

The NFL draft begins Thursday and I am noticing I’m not really looking forward to it.

That’s an odd feeling in that I covered the draft as a professional more than a dozen times at either the professional or college level. And always made sure my Saturdays were clear to watch it prior to that well before this decade’s dumb three-day format.

Analyzing things, I can see why I’m not all that interested in the 2017 NFL draft.

That’s because this is the first draft in my lifetime in which my hometown doesn’t have an NFL team.

Not the least bit interested in who the Los Angeles Chargers pick. Geez, it is hard writing that city’s name before Chargers.

The Chargers belong to San Diego, not the smog clowns and silicone fakes of Los Angeles. The draft is really the first time a big NFL event happens in which the Chargers aren’t referred to as “San Diego Chargers.”

When Roger Goodell reads that phrase off the cue card as the Chargers make their first-round pick, it is a loud reminder to the football world that San Diego is no longer an NFL town.

Dean Spanos had ample opportunities to make it work in San Diego and didn’t have the big-boy leadership abilities to make it happen. Good riddance to him and his poorly run organization.

That is where we will miss the draft — mocking the Chargers for their sad first-round picks.

The lousy picks roll off the tongue easily — receiver Walker Gillette in 1970, running back Leon Burns in 1971, fullback Bo Matthews in 1974, cornerback Mossy Cade in 1984 (Google him to see what a total reject he is) and the biggest draft bust of all-time in quarterback Ryan Leaf in 1998.

There are many other busts — one of my favorites being receiver Craig “Buster” Davis in 2007. I called up Davis’ receivers coach at LSU while writing a profile story and got greeted with all kinds of criticisms of Davis’ desire, toughness and inability to stay healthy.

Guess what Davis was known for during his 26 total games over four seasons with the Chargers? Yep, low desire, no toughness, always injured.

During Davis’ second season, I already wrote song lyrics about him called “Wasted Draft Pick,” to the tune of Rod Stewart’s “Infatuation.”

Great pick, A.J. Smith! Might want to talk a player’s position coach before you select him.

Of course, there were superb first-round picks over the years too — defensive tackle Gary “Big Hands” Johnson in 1975, tight end Kellen Winslow in 1979, defensive end Leslie O’Neal in 1986, linebacker Junior Seau in 1990, running back LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001 and the great quarterback maneuver of 2004 when Eli Manning refused to play for the Chargers but Smith drafted him anyway before working out a trade with the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

General manager Tom Telesco has fared well in the first round of the last three drafts with cornerback Jason Verrett, running back Melvin Gordon and defensive end Joey Bosa.

The Chargers select seventh this time around so they are positioned well to land another good talent.

But there will be a different feeling when Telesco makes his pick.

You see, these aren’t the San Diego Chargers anymore. So it no longer is a big deal if the team scores with its pick or lands another bust.

Perhaps that is why the draft’s appeal isn’t there for me this year. My hometown doesn’t have a team and the fun is gone.

You see, I could care less if a team from Los Angeles messes up its draft.

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That was certainly one amazing Super Bowl, wasn’t it?

Call it a comeback for the ages and the collapse of the century. Fans of the New England Patriots went from sheer frustration to unbelievable jubilation. Fans of the Atlanta Falcons went from the brink of the team’s first championship to utter despair.

You don’t see Super Bowls like this. At least none of the first 50 went this way. None had gone into overtime either.

The largest comeback in a Super Bowl was 10 points before the Patriots recovered from a 25-point deficit to post a 34-28 overtime victory over the Falcons in Houston on Sunday.

Tom Brady won his fourth MVP award with a record 466-yard passing performance and coach Bill Belichick picked up a record fifth win by a head coach.

It was definitely an improbable victory for New England as Atlanta seemingly was in full control with a 28-3 lead late in the third quarter.

But the Falcons instead joined the former Houston Oilers — who blew a 32-point third-quarter lead in a loss to the Buffalo Bills in the 1992 postseason — in the embarrassing playoff pratfall department.

Once the Patriots moved within 28-12, I yelled out “overtime” at the house I was watching the game as you could see Atlanta wasn’t doing a good job of playing with a large lead. The kiss of death was seeing Falcons owner Arthur Blank and his wife already on the field ready to celebrate.

A short time later, up by eight with a short field, the Falcons moved out of field-goal range and failed to make the contest a two-score game.

The door was left open for New England and Brady was ready to enter and help himself to anything he wanted.

When Julian Edelman made one of the greatest catches in NFL history — barely corralling the ball before it could hit ground with help of Falcons cornerback Robert Alford — you knew overtime was going to become a reality.

Sure enough, New England tied the game and received the ball first in overtime. Brady carved up a tired Falcons’ defense that was on the field way too much over the final 2 1/2 quarters of regulation and running back James White scored the decisive touchdown on a 2-yard run.

Of course, New England’s comeback did give us all that great moment of seeing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell — think Deflategate — having to congratulate Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the podium. Goodell was jeered so loud you could probably hear it on the streets of Boston.

And you probably could have heard a pin drop in Atlanta.

The Falcons were a pretty darn good team this year. Quarterback Matt Ryan deservedly won MVP honors and I think Julio Jones is now the top receiver in the league (apologies to Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown if he spends his time cruising my website).

But losing in such a manner is going to be tough to overcome. It is going to be one depressing offseason for the players, especially when they keep being reminded that they blew a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl.

Repeat — a 25-point lead in the SUPER BOWL.

Atlanta coach Dan Quinn did an outstanding coaching job this season. He will have to do an even better one next season.

As for the Patriots, they were already going down in history as one of the top football dynasties of all-time. The Brady-Belichick era will be hard to top in the future by any franchise.

Such a high standard and an unbelievable level of success.

And now they have an unprecedented Super Bowl comeback to add to the rest of the accomplishments.

No matter who you were rooting for Sunday, you witnessed one of the most unbelievable Super Bowls of all-time.

Beats a blowout anytime, huh?

Well, unless you are from Atlanta.

It is not very often that I would watch an NBA regular season game without being paid. Thursday night is that rare exception.

Kevin Durant is going up against his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates for the first time as a member of the Golden State Warriors and tension is everywhere.

These two teams met in the Western Conference finals last season and the Thunder held a 3-1 series lead before the Warriors roared back to win the series

Then Durant left Oklahoma City on July 4 … for the Warriors.

Westbrook has made it very clear that he was unhappy with Durant’s decision to leave as a free agent and his ultracompetitive juices will certainly be churning overtime.

Heck, he showed up to the arena wearing a photographer’s bib. One of Durant’s passionate hobbies is photography.

Yeah, it’s on. At least in Russell Westbrook’s eyes.

Here is the stellar preview of the Thunder-Warriors game — http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nba/event/2016/944758/preview/

 

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman let NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have it again on Thursday, saying the commissioner is at fault for the huge drop in television ratings this season.

Sherman said the commish has stripped the fun out of the NFL and doesn’t allow the players to be entertainers like other leagues.

“Because the league isn’t fun anymore,” Sherman told reporters. “Every other league, you see the players have a good time. It’s a game. This isn’t politics. This isn’t justice. This is entertainment. And they’re no longer allowing the players to entertain.

“They’re no longer allowing the players to show any kind of personality, any kind of uniqueness, any individuality. Because they want to control the product. They want to control the messaging, etc., etc.”

Entering Week 9, Monday Night Football ratings are down 20 percent from last season, according to Nielsen data. The Sunday Night Football package is down 18.5 percent and Thursday games are down 21.8 percent.

Another thing that is down is the performance of the Seattle offense. The Seahawks have scored one offensive touchdown in their last nine quarters and quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t accounted for a single touchdown over the past three games.

Maybe Sherman needs to remind his offensive teammates that the game is supposed to be fun.

Here is the stellar preview of Monday’s Buffalo Bills-Seattle Seahawks game — http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/seahawks-look-to-get-offense-on-track-against-bills-110316

 

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has a chance to make history this Sunday when his team plays the New York Jets.

Ajayi is one of only four players – O.J. Simpson (twice), Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams are the others – to rush for 200 or more yards in back-to-back games.

And nobody has ever done it in three straight games.

Ajayi is certainly an unlikely candidate to be the first. He was a healthy inactive for Miami’s opening game of the season. Now the second-year pro from Boise State is making it clear he plans to be carrying the load for the Dolphins for a while.

Another thing that will make Ajayi’s bid at history tougher is the fact the Jets lead the NFL in rushing defense (74.0 yards per game).

Here is the stellar preview of the Jets-Dolphins game — http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/jets-defense-out-to-slow-dolphins-ajayi-110216

 

Sometimes it seems that every college football coach has spent the time on the staff with early every other college football in the land. It is a profession where long hours are spent together, making it easy to form deep bonds (or sheer hatred).

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will see one of his close pals this Saturday when the Wolverines host Maryland.

DJ Durkin is the first-year coach of the Terrapins and he is making the team better than forecasters predicted. That’s not a big surprise if you listen to people talk about his pedigree and coaching potential.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s part of the Harbaugh coaching tree.

Durkin spent three years on Harbaugh’s Stanford staff from 2007-09 and then he was Michigan’s defensive coordinator last season.

The intense Harbaugh doesn’t usually play nice on game day but the postgame embrace will be one that he enjoys.

Here is the Maryland-Michigan preview —http://www.detroitnews.net/index.php/sid/249048671

Remember a few short months ago when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he expected the Chargers to move to Los Angeles?

Things surely have changed over the past few months. Goodell was live in San Diego for last Saturday’s downtown stadium rally, also known as the kickoff effort to gather signatures for a ballot initiative.

The commish has reversed field in impressive O.J. Simpson-like fashion – that’s the football player version, not the double murderer – since the Rams relocated to Los Angeles in mid-January.

When it became clear Chargers president Dean Spanos and Rams owner Stan Kroenke weren’t going to get along in terms of sharing a Los Angeles stadium, Goodell was suddenly all-in when it came to keeping the Chargers in San Diego.

His comments have repeatedly been pro-San Diego and there are three huge reasons for that: Money, lots of money and huge amounts of money.

The NFL will profit much more if the effort to build the Chargers a stadium passes. (Hey, I had to write a quick hitter on the rally on Saturday — Roger Goodell speaks in favor of downtown San Diego stadium).

Goodell will now continue to have his San Diego cheerleading uniform on during the rest of the process and is even talking about the Super Bowl returning to town if a new football stadium is approved.

Just know it’s never a bad thing when the guy who runs the NFL is in your corner.

“I think the Chargers belong in San Diego,” Goodell said. “I think this is a great community, a great fan base. Everyone has acknowledged that we need a new stadium.”

At least Goodell has acknowledged the Chargers belong in San Diego.

Better late than never.

Isn’t it funny how badly Dean Spanos suddenly wants to stay in San Diego after Carson bombed and he had to spend time talking to Kroenke the Donkey?

If you see the Chargers owner carousing around La Jolla this weekend, make sure you get us that picture with his tail between his legs.

At least Spanos can go outside again without being jeered after announcing on Friday that the team will remain in San Diego for the 2016 NFL season and make one more attempt at finding a stadium solution.

Of course he made that announcement about an hour after reaching an agreement in principle to share the proposed football stadium in Inglewood with the Los Angeles Rams.

Got to keep the leverage as high as possible you know.

Actions speak louder than carefully crafted press release statements – you did notice Dean didn’t face questions from probing reporters, right? So what happens over the next few months will speak volumes about Spanos’ intentions as the franchise has until Jan. 15, 2017 to decide whether to move to Los Angeles.

And Spanos’ actions over the final six months of 2015 – often carried out by spin doctor Mark Fabiani – spoke volumes about how badly he wanted his team in Los Angeles.

But Spanos wanted to be in Carson as part of a two-team stadium deal with the Oakland Raiders. Having to be a lesser tenant with the Rams in Inglewood – and irascible owner Stan Kroenke – wasn’t the intended destination.

Spanos reportedly felt confident the Carson project would prevail at the owners’ meeting in Houston earlier this month. He felt Kroenke the Donkey didn’t have enough votes to get Inglewood approved.

Spanos couldn’t have been more wrong as Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium project won by a resounding 30-2 vote.

Hey, a four-touchdown margin. Sounds like some recent Chargers’ scores.

Then Spanos pondered his choices and neither were all that good. He could move to Los Angeles and be second on the NFL ledger behind the Rams – and third overall behind USC – or make peace with San Diego officials and the team’s fans.

It didn’t help when Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti made it clear he wasn’t interested in the Chargers joining the Rams. Garcetti strongly suggested the Chargers should remain in San Diego.

Spanos probably wasn’t in all that big of a rush to write that $550 million relocation check either.

Anyway, San Diego city officials submitted a $1.1 billion stadium proposal to the NFL earlier this month so there certainly is an opportunity to get something done and keep the team in San Diego.

In fact, Spanos said in his Friday statement that his intention is to work toward remaining in San Diego for the long term and finding a stadium solution.

“I have met with Mayor (Kevin) Faulconer and (County) Supervisor (Ron) Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma,” Spanos said. “We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.

“This has been (the team’s) home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you deserve.”

Spanos said he is moving forward “with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility” and I’m sure the team’s fans are hoping that proves true.

Spanos and Fabiani treated the fan base like dirt this past season. But the thing about fans is this – they just want their team to stay put.

Fans live and die with how the team fares each Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday). They just don’t want to live with the pain of their beloved team playing 100-plus miles up the freeway.

Another good thing the fans have going for them is that commissioner Roger Goodell feels the same way. He wants the NFL to remain in San Diego.

“We are very supportive of the decision by Dean Spanos to continue his efforts in San Diego and work with local leaders to develop a permanent stadium solution,” Goodell said in a statement. “NFL ownership has committed $300 million to assist in the cost of building a new stadium in San Diego. I have pledged the league’s full support in helping Dean to fulfill his goal.”

Getting a deal done in San Diego would change Spanos’ reputation from most-hated person in San Diego to merely tolerable.

But know this: being the main tenant in a new stadium in San Diego is infinitely better than playing second fiddle to Kroenke the Donkey in Inglewood.

If the #DeflateGate controversy wasn’t already weird enough, we learned Tuesday that Tom Brady does a very odd thing when he realizes there might be troublesome information in his cell phone.

Brady has one of his personal assistants destroy the phone.

I got a new cell phone recently and Sprint said nothing to me about destroying my old phone. Perhaps Brady – the quarterback of the New England Patriots – is with Verizon and has the Egocentric Destruction Customer clause in his plan.

There certainly must have been some good info to hide for Brady to revert to such tactics when he is fully aware the NFL had requested access to his text messages. Why else would someone destroy the phone under those circumstances?

The NFL revealed Brady’s cell-phone antics on the same day the league announced that commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the silly #DeflateGate situation.

According to the NFL, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages on the phone over a four-month span. That sounds like a lot of messages to me. Certainly must have been a lot of chatter over the “weight of balls.”

Maybe there were awkward texts about the “texture of the balls,” — that phrase that sounded oh-so-odd when New England coach Bill Belichick used it in the late January spin-control press conference.

Either way, Brady exchanged 80 texts per day — on average — and it is reasonable to expect there were exchanges that had to do with the deflating of the footballs.

But a famous guy like Tom Brady is certainly hoping to prevent other activities that may hurt his public image from becoming commonly known.

So here we go … the top 10 reasons why Tom Brady has his cell phone destroyed instead of turning it over to the NFL:

10. Been hacking into the New York Jets emails and had all their defensive game plans saved.

9. All those pictures of NFL footballs in various stages of deflation look just a bit suspicious.

8. Has pictures of a large Confederate Flag draped on his bedroom ceiling.

7. Was “sexting” with the wives of 12 different teammates.

6. Several photos of his dart board — all with Peyton Manning’s picture on them.

5. Took private locker room pictures of Rob Gronkowski dancing naked.

4. He owned the lone known photos of Belichick laughing and smiling.

3. Those provocative pictures of wife Gisele Bundchen are supposed to only be seen by him.

2. Turns out Brett Favre wasn’t the only famous quarterback who sent penis pictures to Jenn Sterger (http://www.citypages.com/news/jenn-sterger-goes-deep-with-nfl-on-brett-favre-update-6563128).

1. There were indeed shocking pictures of deflated balls on the phone — his own.

It took video evidence for the NFL to get a clue per the Ray Rice situation.

Good thing the outlet TMZ Sports has better investigators than the NFL and were able to secure the video that shows Rice pummeling his then-fiancé, Janay, in the face.

Previously we saw Rice dragging Janay outside the elevator – which should have been damning enough evidence. Did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell think she stumbled playing hopscotch in the elevator? Maybe fell on her head counting her money?

Remember, the commish – well behind the times when it comes to domestic violence – gave Rice a two-game suspension.

So the guy that runs the NFL isn’t smart enough to know a woman doesn’t just fall unconscious for no reason in an elevator?

But once the video was seen on Monday, the NFL no longer could control the situation. Nor could the Baltimore Ravens engage in spin control – a favorite pastime of all 32 NFL teams.

The video was graphic as Rice delivered his best Mike Tyson punch and knocked out his then-fiance. It has given domestic violence a face – that of Ray Rice – moving forward.

The Ravens quickly did an about-face, going from supportive of Rice to releasing him with three years left on his contract. The NFL piled on and changed Rice’s suspension from two games to indefinite.

The NFL sure wanted it known that it had never seen the video prior to Monday. Who knows whether that is true or not. Sporting leagues and individual teams lie about minor things all the time. So a big deal like this is sure something worth trying to cover up.

Let’s assume the NFL never saw the video until Monday. In that case, how funny is it that TMZ can get its hands on a tape that the all-powerful NFL can’t. Makes you wonder a little, doesn’t it?

Perhaps the guy running the NFL is a bit over his head, huh? If not for TMZ, Rice would be completing a light suspension on Thursday and back on the field in Week 3.

Instead, Rice likely won’t play for any team in 2014. No organization will risk drawing the ire of its fan base by signing him this season.

Rice will likely be back on the field in 2015. But know this: that good-guy reputation he previously had will never return.

Rice is now the face of domestic violence – the type of person none of us like or want to be around. None of us.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been suspended for two games by the NFL for the incident in which he beat his fiancé – now his wife – into a pulp.

The length of Rice’s penalty is pretty weak when you consider he knocked a woman unconscious at an Atlantic City casino and then dragged her out of the elevator. Yep, Rice received a shorter suspension than what players receive when caught with possession of marijuana.

Pathetic is the only word that fits.

The NFL sent a loud message to women with this light punishment. You know, the same group of people the league goes overboard in attracting with its marketing of pink apparel.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL’s 32 owners sure are interested in how much cash they can siphon out of a woman’s bank account.

But clearly not anywhere near as concerned if a player decides to use his fiancé as a punching bag.

Goodell wrote the following in the letter to Rice – apparently not grasping that an overwhelming amount of the “public” views the length of the suspension as an extremely light penalty.

“The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public, and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game,” Goodell wrote. “This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.”

It’s hard to take Goodell seriously when Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon is facing a possible season-long suspension for substance-abuse transgressions.

Gordon certainly deserves a penalty but taking away a full season’s worth of pay from a guy struggling with personal demons doesn’t sound right when compared to Rice’s little slap on the wrist.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh also seemed to miss the point with his own statement.

“He makes a mistake, alright? He’s going to have to pay a consequence,” Harbaugh said. “I think that’s good for kids to understand it works that way. That’s how it works, that’s how it should be.”

So kids, make sure you decipher that message: If you should somehow be lucky enough to be one of the few kids to become an NFL player, you too can belt women and can receive a hand slap.

But good luck if you turn out to be a mere mortal like the rest of us. Then you might find yourself serving jail time.

You know, because you have to “pay a consequence.”

Rice released his own statement claiming his future actions will show he’s sincere in regaining his status as a role model.

Doesn’t really matter if you ask me. The visual of Rice dragging a woman out of an elevator after knocking her unconscious will always trump anything he does in the future.

Rice dropped the ball with his conduct and the NFL fumbled badly when it came to doling out punishment.

Hope everybody remembers this when the NFL is pushing its pink apparel on women during its annual breast-cancer awareness promotion in October.

The 2014 NFL Draft will forever be known for one of the big-time moments in sports history: Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player to be selected.

It looked like the draft might conclude without Sam hearing his named called before the St. Louis Rams tabbed him with the 249th selection of the 256-player draft.

Being chosen in the seventh round is a bit lower than one might expect the SEC Defensive Player of the Year to be picked. But it certainly is a good situation for the outside linebacker who played college football a few hours down the freeway at Missouri.

Having an esteemed veteran coach like Jeff Fisher – a secure leader who has handled a multitude of situations during his career – makes the situation a good one for Sam. Fisher’s presence will help things become more manageable as the upcoming media crush hits minicamp with everybody wanting a piece of Sam.

The playing football part is up to Sam. Yes, his draft stock fell partly due to his measurables. Sure, he’s a bit of a tweener. But he was a standout pass rusher in college and he should be able to play a role for the Rams.

And if for some reason he doesn’t pan out as a player, it won’t be because he’s gay and kissed a guy on television after being drafted. It will be because he didn’t pan out as a player.

Period. Just the way it should be.

Here are some other draft thoughts …

Wasn’t all that long ago when I had questions about whether or not Johnny Manziel was worthy of a first-round pick or more likely to forever be a knucklehead like Ryan Leaf. I started to feel he was first-round material last September when he tore up Alabama and I think he went right about where he should have by going 22nd overall to the Cleveland Browns. Jon Gruden looked like a fool opening ESPN’s coverage by hyping the Texas A&M star as the possible No. 1 pick and Manziel will now have an opportunity to show us all he can play at the NFL level in the near future. Well, Browns coach Mike Pettine said prior to the draft that none of the quarterbacks could beat out Bobby Hoyer for the starting job. Watch how quickly that thought process changes now.

Got to say I hope the NFL Draft goes back to April for next year. Not sure I’ve ever watched less of a draft than the current one. Dragging out the hype became even more galling than usual and pushing it back to May didn’t work, no matter the silly claims of commissioner Roger Goodell (who never admits being wrong about anything). It was only pure luck that I got to see Sam get drafted as it happened during the small timeframe in which I even turned it on for a few minutes on the third and final day.

I really liked the early defensive selections by the San Diego Chargers. Both cornerback Jason Verrett (first round) of TCU and outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu (second round) of Georgia Tech can help shore up deficiencies that were exposed last season. Verrett is small in stature but heavy in aggressiveness and production and Attaochu is a pass-rushing force with plenty of room to get better. The fifth-round pick of defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers (Arkansas State) also could be one of those mid-round steals.

Remember when San Diego State running back Adam Muema departed the NFL combine early in February because God had informed him he would be chosen by the Seattle Seahawks? Well, that didn’t happen. I’m guessing his post-draft prayer session with God will be a bit, um, interesting. Muema originally made a poor decision by skipping his senior season with the Aztecs but he buried himself when he left what was essentially a job interview for all 32 teams to go wander around an airport in Fort Lauderdale for three days. That lack of accountability and just flat-out weirdness clinched he wouldn’t be drafted.

And can’t overlook this factual truth, the Texas Longhorns didn’t have a single player selected in the NFL Draft for the first time since 1937. Repeat – 1937! That was the year my father was born and he has been in heaven for close to 11 years now. The list of schools that had players drafted include Bloomsburg, Concordia-St. Paul, Furman, Liberty, Lindenwood, Marist, McGill, Pittsburg State, Saginaw Valley State and Towson. Even Princeton had a player picked. Again, not a single player from Texas was drafted. The school ought to fire Mack Brown again just for this embarrassing fact.

Those crazy prices that NFL fans are forced to pay can now be blamed on one person – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Next time you hear an NFL franchise raising ticket prices and citing the cost of business, laugh to yourself and know that the real reason for the increase is the cost of keeping Goodell’s pockets full of your hard-earned cash.

Sports Business Daily reported Friday that Goodell earned $29.49 million in 2011, information gleaned from the NFL’s tax return.

It is hard to decipher the commissioner making over $29 million for a year’s work despite the enormous amount of money the NFL has at its disposal. That figure dwarfs the outrageous salaries earned by the people who throw and catch footballs or make bone-crushing tackles for a living.

The 32 NFL teams pay the salary of the commissioner and those owners love to imply to the paying customers that it is the salaries of the players that prompt the ridiculous prices for tickets, parking, food and beverages and souvenirs.

Perhaps Goodell can cut his own compensation in half – I’m guessing he might find a way to live on $15 million – and order all 32 teams to cut ticket prices so the working stiffs can attend games at a reasonable price.

I know the chances of that happening are about the same as O.J. Simpson finding the real killers in coming weeks. The NFL is all about greed and excess and Goodell’s 2011 compensation reinforces that notion.

I have covered three Super Bowls and I will never forget the scene at the “NFL Commissioner’s Party” in the San Diego Convention Center two nights before Super Bowl XXXII between the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.

Using the word “excess” doesn’t even come close to describing the amount of food and beverages at the function. Late in the evening, another sportswriter and I were surveying the high amount of leftover food and I remarked that there was enough food left to feed every Third World Nation for the next three years.

Apparently, the same type of excess applies to the bank account of Goodell. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be compensated nicely, but $29 million in one year is a ludicrous amount.

It is you the fans who are paying Goodell’s freight, and this revelation serves as another reminder that NFL teams have little respect for the paying customers.

All they want is your cash – and they want all of it.