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Roger Goodell's impossible job

06/26/2013 2:11 PM ET
By Doug Williams

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has one of the most thankless jobs in sports.(AP)
Roger Goodell has the worst job in sports.

Imagine his job today, for example. Aaron Hernandez, a star tight end for the Patriots, was arrested today in connection to a recent murder. BEST case? He's guilty of obstruction of justice and is probably an accomplice to a homicide. WORST case? He's guilty of murder. Either way, he's been arrested and the media is all over it with its constant video coverage of Hernandez out in public. All that's missing is a Ford Bronco.

Then, Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott was arrested today for attempted murder after he knocked a guy out -- he's in critical condition -- at a nightclub in New Jersey.

And for the last month or so, Goodell has had to deal with another alleged bar fight that Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew was involved in. The charges were dropped, though, so I guess Goodell can put that one in the win column?

But for Goodell, that's just day-to-day stuff. He has even more to deal with as it relates to the game's on-field play. Believe it or not, after more than 90 years of professional football in America, the public has finally agreed upon the fact that the sport is not safe. And guess whose responsibility it is now.

If Goodell changes the rules, adds safety precautions for concussions and calls for more penalties, he loses. People will say -- and already have said -- that the game has changed and that penalizing a tackle in football is like censoring a Louis CK stand-up routine. If Goodell doesn't do that, and instead aims to please fans by simply "letting 'em play," he also loses. As research suggests, concussions can be life-changing injuries. In fact, it's gotten so serious that some might say that the lives of people like Junior Seau are on his hands.

So here is his job in a nutshell: Deal with players and their constant mistakes OFF the field, but protect them as best he can ON the field, all while trying his best to keep the needy, NFL fan base happy. We constantly hear people refer to certain positions as "thankless jobs," but this goes ever further. His job isn't just thankless, it's winless. And if anyone were to approach him and say they have the perfect plan to make the game -- where annihilating the opponent is part of the equation -- safer, I'm sure he'd be all ears. 

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