A PPP survey of NFL fans indicates that Roger Goodell remains tremendously unpopular.
The NFL commissioner garnered a 19 percent favorable rating and 40 percent unfavorable rating from fans. His job approval rating comes in at 28 percent, 19 points less than the mark Americans give President Barack Obama.
Goodell, the son of a U.S. senator and representative, surely understands the importance of public opinion.
One of the only instances of a president enduring a job approval rating identical to Goodell’s came when Iranians held Americans hostage in Tehran and the rate of inflation approached 11 percent. Apart from Jimmy Carter’s 28 percent job approval rating in June 1979, George W. Bush suffered during the economic collapse near the end of his second term with a 25 percent approval rating, Richard Nixon posted a 24 percent rating immediately before his resignation, and Harry Truman, mired in an unpopular war in Korea, elicited the worst presidential approval rating in Gallup history at 22 percent in February of 1952.
The commissioner’s mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic violence suspension, meting out a two-game ban before shifting to a six-game suspension and then an indefinite hiatus, hurt him tremendously. His subsequent bungling of the Deflategate investigation — holding up the four-game suspension he initially meted out, his underlings releasing false data to incriminate Tom Brady, and the league official investigating the matter’s admission that he never knew balls lose air pressure as a result of the cold — damaged his standing with fans further. A federal judge last year overturned the league’s suspension Tom Brady and reinstated the quarterback, perhaps the NFL’s best-known player, whom the commissioner had dragged through the mud. Goodell, it turns out, got muddied in the process.
The stats geeks at PPP took a poll to discover what anyone watching the annual NFL draft already knows. People who love the NFL loathe its commissioner. Unlike his peers in other professional sports, Goodell routinely hears a chorus of boo birds when he approaches the podium on draft day.
While fans show little respect for the commissioner, they still love his league. Nearly 112 million Americans watched the Super Bowl, giving the championship game its third highest viewership in history. The NFL’s ratings remain through the roof. Its commissioner’s ratings sit in the bottom of the basement.
But profits rather than popularity dictate the decisions of Goodell’s 32 bosses. When the leagues $12 billion annual revenues hit a rough patch as Goodell’s popularity has done, expect action. Until then, Goodell’s bosses don’t much care what you think of him.