Patriots fans not totally ready to forgive Roger Goodell

Kyle DaLuz
September 07, 2017 - 11:56 pm

FOXBORO - Patriots fans greeted Roger Goodell with torquoise towels and torquoise t-shirts with depicitions of the NFL commissioner as a clown, courtesy of Barstool Sports, Thursday night in Foxboro for the NFL season opener.

Barstool Sports' founder Dave Portnoy, with the help of several thousand volunteers, handed out 70,000 of those towels to fans arriving at Gillette prior to kickoff. Goodell, despite handing the Lombardi Trophy over to Robert Kraft in February after Tom Brady avenged his four-game suspension by leading the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, remains despised along Route 1 and in New England.

Goodell was heckled by the Patriot faithful in his short appearance on the field prior to kickoff, spending much of his time talking with Kansas City owner Clark Hunt.

Goodell has stayed away from Foxboro since 2014, but made a surprise appearance during the Patriots first preseason game this season against Jacksonville. Rather than returning to Foxboro for playoff match-ups in the last two years, he instead opted for Denver and then back-to-back games in the Georgia Dome during the 2016 playoffs.

"It's embarassing," Patriots fan Barry said pregame. "It's showing his weakness toward our fan base, which as a commissioner - it makes it seem like he's scared of us. This is bigger than he thinks this is."

"Roger needs to get what he's going to get," fellow fan Will said. "He can't slip into town, take a picture with a couple of fans during a preseason game and not take your just desserts."

Most fans will never forgive the commissioner for making himself, the judge, jury and executioner as part of Deflategate, and levying the Patriots with harshest team punishment in NFL history.

"Of course he can't [be forgiven]," Will added. "When you defy the laws of science to enforce an unfair suspension, you get unfair treatment for as ever long as it takes."

"He gets what he deserves because he continues to make bad decisions, not just for the Patriots," Jeanie Anderson added. "I just feel like he doesn't belong [as commissioner]."

Few, however, feel that maybe it's time to let bygones be bygones.

"I'm ready to let it go because the ultimate satisfaction was [Goodell] giving the [Lombardi] trophy to Brady last year," Patriots fan Anthony said.

"We're willing to give him a break - by booing the hell out of him," New England fan Steve added.

Despite reports that Goodell planned to skip out on the game altogether once the pregame festivities concluded, a source told WEEI's Ryan Hannable that Goodell infact was at Gillette during the game, watching from a suite with leaders from The Bridge Over Troubled Waters. NBC did not show Goodell during the game, nor was he shown on the stadium jumbotron.

"He deserves everything he gets," Paul Stanton said. "He had to show up at some point, it might as well have been tonight."

It is unclear whether or not Goodell stayed for the entirety of the game, but he did attend Kraft's pregame reception.