Will Roger Goodell Attend Patriots’ NFL Season Opener? Boston Fans Haven’t Forgotten Deflategate

As NFL Commissioner, the public face of the league, Roger Goodell pretty much has to attend the first game of the 2017 season on Thursday night.

He may live to regret that obligation, though. USA Today reports that Goodell will be present at Gillette Stadium when the New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs, and his welcome is unlikely to be a warm one.

Dave Portnoy, the Massachusetts native and founder of the website Barstool Sports, has ordered a shipment of 70,000 towels depicting Goodell as a clown to be handed out in Foxboro on Thursday. Portnoy posted a picture of the order on Twitter on August 30 of what he called “Operation Clown Face.” Matt Patricia, the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, wore a shirt with the same logo following the Patriots’ victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. That gesture left Goodell “really bothered” according to CBS. Goodell was also booed vociferously by Patriots fans as he handed over the Super Bowl LI trophy.

 

 

Goodell, 247 Sports.com website reported on August 31, visited the Patriots for their preseason opener at Gillette Stadium, a 31-24 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 10.

His previous trip to Foxborough accounts for much of the bitterness that has followed. Goodell was present at the AFC Championship game of January 18, 2015, when the Patriots blew out the Indianapolis Colts but kicked off the “Deflategate” saga that resulted in a four-game suspension for Tom Brady, a $1 million fine and the stripping of a first and fourth-round draft pick from the team. Brady’s attempt to overturn the suspension took him to the U.S. Court of Appeals, though his request for a rehearing was denied in July 2016.

Goodell’s part in meting out the Patriots’ punishment hasn’t been forgotten, by the fans or the organization. He will hear that loud and clear on Thursday.