It’s a good thing Roger Goodell wasn’t expecting Patriots fans to welcome him into Gillette Stadium with open arms, because they didn’t. To no one’s surprise, Patriots fans booed Goodell before the game.
The booing of Goodell was rather mild. About a 4 out of 10 on the Goodell Boo Scale.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 7, 2017
Goodell apparently didn’t stick around.
He came, they booed, he left. pic.twitter.com/BMDP2qrc5F
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) September 8, 2017
It was Goodell’s plan all along to leave the field early to keep Patriots fans from getting too riled up about his presence, according to The MMQB’s Kalyn Kahler. Additionally, the Patriots will not cut to any live shots of Goodell during the game. Not surprisingly, Goodell will not be hanging out with Patriots owner Robert Kraft in Kraft’s suite.
Patriots fans’ hatred of Goodell goes back to Deflategate and the punishment the commissioner handed down to the team and Tom Brady. Brady was suspended four games without pay for his role in the scandal, and Patriots fans will never forgive Goodell.
This is the first time Goodell has visited Gillette Stadium since the Deflategate drama. But it’s not the first time he’s seen Brady since the suspension was upheld. That happened at Super Bowl LI, when they shared this incredibly uncomfortable handshake.
Goodell said on Fox Sports 1 on Thursday that he expected nothing less than booing from New England’s dedicated fans.
“You expect that (passion and loyalty). You want that,” Goodell said. “And that’s what’s great about our game.”
Brady’s suspension really didn’t hurt the team one bit. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett combined for a record of 3-1 during Brady’s absence, and the Patriots went on to crush the Falcons’ hopes and dreams by overcoming a 25-point deficit for an improbable, and historic, Super Bowl LI win in overtime. But that won’t stop Patriots fans from hating Goodell and being vocal about it.