BOSTON (CBS) — On a night when the Patriots will add a fifth Super Bowl banner to their ever-growing collection prior to kicking off the 2017 NFL season, there’s a whole lot being made about Roger Goodell’s attendance at Gillette Stadium. Probably a little too much, actually.
But Patriots fans are eager to voice their displeasure with the NFL Commissioner over the handling of the DeflateGate saga to the man himself, and Thursday night is their first chance with Goodell actually paying a visit to Foxboro (preseason games don’t count). However, they may not have that opportunity, as Goodell will likely be out of sight by the time fans start making their way into the stadium.
From Kayln Kahler of The Monday Morning QB:
The commissioner attends the opener every year, so this date has been on Goodell’s schedule since New England won Super Bowl 51. In an effort to mitigate the negative reaction from fans in Foxborough, Goodell will finish up his pregame duties on the field early and will be off the field before the majority of Patriots fans are inside the stadium. The Patriots will not flash to any shots of the commissioner during the game on the video screens inside the stadium, and Goodell will not be sitting in Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s suite. (He did visit Kraft’s suite briefly during his preseason appearance.)
That doesn’t mean Goodell won’t hear the hundreds of “RO-GER!” chants or see the 70,000 turquoise towels with his face sporting a clown nose (being handed out by Barstool Sports outside of Gillette) being waved around the stadium. He will probably stick around to watch some football and all of that will be unavoidable, but as Kahler noted, the team won’t make his presence a big deal when the game actually kicks off. That won’t give fans the chance to see him on the big screen, or a chance to react accordingly.
Goodell will be shown on NBC during the game broadcast, as an NBC spokesperson told Kahler, “We will show the commissioner during coverage of the game, and cover any related news appropriately.” So it sounds like his face — both with and without the clown noses — will be shown to the national television audience.
But if Patriots fans heading to the game were hoping to spew a little hate toward the commish, they may be a tad bit disappointed. If that’s the case, there’s always a new banner to cheer them up.