With Super Bowl LI upon us, the Oakland Raiders and one of its participants the New England Patriots have something in common; the potential for an awkward but epic moment with an NFL commissioner.
The relationship between Patriots owner Robert Kraft and current NFL commissioner Goodell is at the moment contentious at best, hence ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez tweeted out a possible scenario familiar to Raiders fans.
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) January 27, 2017
Likewise, the extensively documented rivalry between legendary Raiders owner Al Davis and then commissioner Pete Rozelle culminated with Davis being handed the Lombardi trophy. In that instance both men might have disliked each other but they kept their composure. Can Kraft and Goodell do the same?
The relationship between the Patriots and Goodell has been covered to the point of exhaustion and yet, here we are with what seems like more of a Goodell versus Patriots matchup next week. In fact the Patriots and its following are going into next Sunday with an “us versus the world” mentality as Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe reported:
“But this New England matchup with Matt Ryan and the Falcons is much more than a shot at ring records and grid immortality.
Above all else, it will be a showdown with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Patriots-Falcons is going to be New England’s Super Bowl In Context, an opportunity to make Goodell swallow his shield and present Bob Kraft, Belichick, and Brady with their fifth Lombardi Trophy just a few months after Brady dropped his court appeals and served his heinous four-game suspension.”
As for the Raiders who took part in their moment they recall it being a non issue and more of a personal situation between their owner and commissioner. Hall of Famer Cliff Branch recalls in Gutierrez’ report: “That was between Al and Pete.”
Despite Branch’s feelings towards the moment it’s one that continues to live on in Raiders lore. As for Goodell and Kraft we’ll have to wait and see if they’ll have an Al Davis-Pete Rozelle face off or will it be business as usual.