NFL players disapprove of Roger Goodell in recent poll

Mario Tama

A recent USA Today poll reveals that 61% of NFL players disapprove of what Roger Goodell has done since taking over as the NFL's commissioner.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn't the most popular commissioner in town.

According to USA Today, a recent poll reveals that 61% of NFL players disapprove with Goodell's entire body of work as commissioner. Three-hundred players, either on active rosters or practice squads, were surveyed anonymously between Dec. 19 and Jan. 12. Per USA Today, the margin of error is +/- five percent.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been one of Goodell's outspoken critics, and repeated that sentiment to USA Today.

"I feel like what he's doing is not totally for the safety of players. ... A lot of stuff they've done, (such as) fining guys crazy amounts of money for helmet-to-helmet hits and all that and saying you're doing this for the safety of players. But yet you want to add extra games to the regular season."

Though the NFL has not added an extra two games to the schedule yet, the league and owners seemingly kick around an 18-game schedule every summer at the NFL's owners meetings.

Harrison's point is noteworthy, and certainly calls out a contradiction -- Goodell and the league have emphasized player safety in recent years, even going as far to suggest removing kickoffs from the game entirely, which is something that would affect the composition of rosters, and ultimately, cost special teams players a chance at cracking the 53-man roster.

However, Goodell and other owners want to eventually expand to an 18-game schedule, which would put players at risk for another two games per season, and exposing players to more potentially violent, career-threatening hits. Adding an additional two games to the regular season schedule would be an opportunity for the league, and teams, to make more money -- money made at the expense of players' health.

Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson told USA Today that he believes Goodell should stop trying to make the game less violent, because he simply can't.

"You talk about helmet-to-helmet collisions. I get about 18 to 25 a game; you're not going to be able to stop that," said Robinson, who disapproves of Goodell's performance. "That's what my job is; it's what makes us different. Not everybody in America can play this game, can take these hits and keep getting up.

"I know what I signed up for. If you want to protect us, why not mandate mouthpieces."

Many players believe that Goodell's regime fines players excessively for big hits as well, though it's ultimately Goodell who takes the blame, since he is the commissioner of the league.

Though the NFL did have a lockout under Goodell, no regular season games were lost, and fan interest never waned. Like him or hate him, Goodell has kept the NFL at the forefront of the United States' sports society -- and that's partially why he was elected commissioner by the NFL's owners.

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