One of the NFL draft’s grand traditions is the merciless, unrelenting tide of boos that swamps the stage every time Roger Goodell shows his face. Goodell’s been the face of many of the NFL’s public relations missteps over the last few years, and he hears it from the fans assembled in whatever locale is hosting the draft that year, as Dallas is in 2018.
But this time around, the NFL has pulled off an end run — football term — around would-be booing fans with a plan to shield Goodell behind the Dallas equivalent of saints: legendary Cowboys. Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys royalty like Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Jason Witten will escort Goodell to the stage, presumably inoculating the commish against boos.
“I’m sure he’s going to get a good response with us being out there,” Staubach said. “If they boo, all of us are in trouble.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who waged a bare-knuckled battle with Goodell for most of the 2017 season, has put the bad blood behind them for the moment. “I don’t know of anybody, maybe other than me, that’s had more boos than Roger has,” Jones said a pre-draft news conference. “I know about how that works. I do hope we can be positive in our reception. We are going to do something pretty special, and he did have a final say in that.”
The draft has become a traveling event unto itself, and a smooth evening in Dallas could pave the way for future drafts to return. “I appreciate having this draft here in Dallas, this is a neat deal, I think it’s very fitting that we got it,” Jones said, “and so I hope we give him a very positive reception.” So we’ll find out soon enough if the Dallas fans hate Goodell more than they love their ‘boys.
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