The NFL kicks off its season on September 7th and part of that night will celebrate the defending Super Bowl champion, New England Patriots. They will raise their fifth banner (after a bit of construction to find a place for it) and finally close the book on the 2016 championship season.
Something else is set to happen that night. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to make his long awaited return to Gillette Stadium.
Roger Goodell on if he’s still planning on going to Foxboro for opener: “Yeah.” Any concerns, based on how Pats fans feel? “No, not at all.”
— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) July 31, 2017
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Goodell has been noticeably absent from Foxborough on several occasions since the infamous 2014 AFC Championship. Last year in the playoffs, he decided to attend back-to-back Falcons games instead of attending the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium. And of course, he skipped out on the home opener following the Patriots Super Bowl XLIX Championship.
His arrival in Foxborough will come with much less hostility, no thanks to him. The feeling of winning two of the last three Super Bowls helps temper some of that anger from the fans, however, don’t expect them to be light on him.
Goodell became ‘Public Enemy #1’ during the deflategate saga and his approval rating in New England may be lower than the Presidents at the moment. He was reportedly still upset over Patriots defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, wearing a ‘Goodell Clown Face’ t-shirt when the team plane landed following their Super Bowl victory. One can imagine how he would feel if he heard the coaches and players uncensored thoughts about him.
Nonetheless, he will be in attendance when the Patriots raise the fifth banner and the crowd will surely give him a warm welcome. Luckily for him, he is making his visit now, after a second Super Bowl championship. Perhaps the New England crowd would be less welcoming had he come before this last championship.
– Ian Glendon is a National Co-Editor for cover32 and the Managing Editor for cover32/Patriots. He covers the NFL and New England Patriots. Like and follow on Follow @iglen31 Follow @cover32_NE and Facebook.