At first thought, you wouldn’t think NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a lot in common with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
Obviously both are head dogs at their respective jobs, but look closer and you will notice their similarities strike closer to those of cats.
They have both seen nine lives.
Grantland’s Bill Simmons wrote a column last week on how Goodell needs to be fired after the latest fiasco that has hit the league with both former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson.
Many people are calling for his head; that he can’t control the league that has paid him $74 million over the past two years.
It almost seems as though Goodell has taken a page out of the Ford PR book.
Ride the horse until they throw you off.
Much like Ford, Goodell has gone from crisis to crisis over the last year and a half. From the PBS Frontline concussion documentary that put a spotlight on the mockery that is concussions in football, to the $765 million settlement that ensued. Domestic violence with the Rice and Petersen cases is just the latest.
Ford’s crisis ranged from crack cocaine use, prostitutes and everything in between but both Ford’s and Goodell’s paths aren’t that far off.
Ford has weathered the storm since May 2013. Despite also being called to resign on numerous times and even having his powers stripped of him, Ford kept his feet planted and still holds his title to this day.
To think that Goodell took a slice out of the Ford strategy is not unrealistic. Ford became an international phenomenon with headlines around the world for his antics. It’s likely that Goodell has heard of the man.
Perhaps both men know the obvious; that even with their antics and endless daily headlines, nothing will or can take them down.
For Goodell, he is a safe man because he is still making the league over $10 billion dollars on an annual basis with hopes to expand that to nearly $25 billion in the next 15 years. Even with the craziness of Rice knocking a woman unconscious in an elevator, no major sponsor has yet to pull the plug on giving the league money.
Not Gatorade, not Pepsi, not Visa…no one.
The closest company to pull out has been the hotel chain Radisson, who broke off partnership with the Minnesota Vikings over the Peterson investigation.
One crack smoking mayor has yet to change the income that Toronto produces, and millions aren’t going to leave to cause a major financial crisis or cuts. With a municipal election in October, leadership might change but the political threshold and resistance to leave that Ford had with his mayor title is a lesson that higher-ups like Goodell are taking note of.
Until a major sponsor decides they no longer want anything to do with the NFL, Goodell is safe.
But like what Toronto has seen with Ford dropping out of the mayoral race, a cat like Goodell only has so many lives.