BAYHAM: The 2017 Festivus Eve Column

The feast day of Jerry Stiller’s character is not until December 23rd, which is a Saturday.  Which means even fewer people would read this column if I posted it then.  So we are going to observe it on the eve of its solemnity.  After all, Festivus is all about innovation as “there must be a better way.”

Sans aluminum pole (as TSA would not classify such an object as an approved carry on personal item) but having performed my feat of strength hauling 70 lbs of luggage from one end of a vacation resort to the other located a mile away, it is time for the traditional airing of grievances.

And as always I got a lotta problems with a lotta people.

But rather than running through a litany of mountebanks in politics, media and entertainment, this year’s Festivus observance has but one guest of dishonor: Roger Goodell.

Perhaps the most reviled figure in the United States who hasn’t killed anyone (or inspired the killing of anyone), the NFL commissioner is lucky that his tenure in office is not subject to a vote of the public but instead “owners” that he regularly pwns. (no sic)

If there were an election, it would be the one time since Reagan’s presidential reelection that Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island voted the same way.

Goodell’s ineptitude regarding the phony “social justice protests” has caused many Americans to change the channel on Sunday afternoons and evenings.

The protests are nothing more than vanity gestures by a handful of players to score social media cred while villainizing the men and women who risk their lives to protect some of the very neighborhoods the players grew up in while also disrespecting our nation and its symbols.

Worse yet it led to the lionization of Colin Kaepernick, whose “pig cop socks” and Fidel Castro wardrobe should have led every credible media outlet to conclude that the entire protest is a façade to draw publicity and help him sustain some degree of relevance now that his playing days are likely over.

As head of a multibillion dollar operation, you would have thought Goodell would have comprehended this and to be frank, he likely does.  Goodell is the son of a liberal Republican US Senator Charles Goodell and perhaps welcomes the advancement of the progressive agenda through the ranks of what was the last redoubt of American traditionalism.

It’s also not a coincidence that Bill Clinton’s former spokesman is in the employ of the NFL.

Goodell’s maladministration has led to a loss of interest in the NFL, which can be seen when the television cameras pan empty seats in what were once full stadiums.  The secondary ticket sale market has crashed with tickets for Redskins games going for as low as ten bucks.  The merchandising operation is taking a hit as my email box has been spammed with 25-30% coupons for jerseys and hats- something I never recall receiving before this season.

And then there is the officiating.

The Saints-Falcons game comes to mind for locals with the one-sided calls always going against the Saints while the Falcons seemed to get away with the same violations.  The disparity in first downs awarded via penalty was staggering.

While there have been games that were ultimately decided by a critical flag or uncalled penalty towards the end of a game, this was the first time I watched a game where this was done across all four quarters.

This has contributed to chatter that the games are fixed and that the referees are rewarding NFL owners who supported Goodell’s extension as commissioner.

The perception of rigging would further damage the already tarnished NFL shield.  If competitors are not permitted to emerge victorious due to official interference, then it’s no longer a sport but pro wrestling in pads and helmets.

Sensing such an ironic opportunity, WWE owner Vince McMahon is reportedly making moves to resurrect his XFL.  One thing is certain: McMahon will have a cheerleader in the White House for his second crack at competing with the NFL: Ex-USFL franchise owner Donald J. Trump.

Finally, there is the phony expressed concern for the health and safety of the players.  Saints quarterback Drew Brees called fraud on those sentiments and rightfully so with Exhibit A being the Thursday night football games, which gives many players an insufficient time to rest and heal.  While it’s a money bath for the league, the short week is a potential career killer for athletes.

If the next NFL player strike occurs over Thursday night football, don’t be shocked if you see the fans overwhelmingly back the players up as the NFL and the owners continue to wring the neck of the golden goose.

Roger Goodell hasn’t yet killed the game we love but he has given it herpes.

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