Roger Goodell and New England Patriots fans do not mesh well together. That became evident after the Deflategate fiasco that resulted in Tom Brady receiving a four-game suspension last year.
Because Commissioner Goodell is headed to Gillette Stadium to kick off the 2017 NFL season, Barstool Sports is coming prepared by handing out blue towels that depict Goodell as a clown and apparently will have 70,000 towels to hand out to Patriots fans at the game tonight.
This puts NBC is a rather peculiar spot for tonight’s Chiefs-Patriots game and nobody really knows how they will cover this. An NBC spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, “We will show the commissioner during tonight’s coverage of the game and cover any related news appropriately.” Barstool’s founder Dave Portnoy said that NBC hasn’t contacted him about this.
I’m not saying NBC, as an NFL broadcast partner, is going to go out of their way to not show the towels and therefore protect Roger Goodell. But at the same time, I’m sure NBC isn’t going to have a crowd shot within the first ten seconds of NBC’s broadcast and Al Michaels says, “Here are these towels that depict Roger Goodell as a clown.”
What might save NBC is that Goodell isn’t planning on being in Foxboro for that long. Sports Illustrated reports that Goodell is going to be off the field for his pregame duties before the many fans arrive for kickoff. So if there aren’t many people waving towels while Goodell is on the field, it might give NBC an out to not have to cover why people are waving a bunch of blue towels.
But while NBC may or may not cover why a stadium waving blue towels, it is going to be very tough to ignore 70,000 people waving those towels. NBC will have to cut to the stands sooner or later and maybe Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth can generalize the towel waving by complimenting the atmosphere of Gillette Stadium, but the visual will result in some people being interested and seek out what the towels are about.
So in a way, it won’t matter whether or not Barstool’s promotion will be mentioned on the NBC broadcast because their promotion will have already made an impact. Sure, it will be better for Barstool if NBC mentions that their towels depict Commissioner Goodell as a clown but if they don’t, it sure got Patriots fans excited and united against the guy who did their team wrong.