When the first ads for Concussion started popping up on NFL broadcasts, some speculated this movie would deal a massive blow to the NFL and football in general.
However, opening day came and went with little change for the most popular sport and league in the U.S. Whether this was due to a poor box office showing, average reviews, or Sony pulling some punches from the finished product is unclear.
A piece from The New York Times Magazine published today (Feb 3.) attempts to find some answers as to exactly how the NFL has been able to navigate the minefield presented by the concussion epidemic. Commissioner Roger Goodell is featured prominently in the piece, and when he isn’t bragging about how much he works out and loves football, there is an interesting nugget about Goodell’s intention to see Concussion.
Goodell told me he spends most weekends watching game after game of football — pro, college and even high school. I asked him if he had seen ‘‘Concussion,’’ the Will Smith film about the devastating toll of head injuries in N.F.L. players and the league’s complicity in either ignoring or covering up the problem. Goodell said he would get around to it. ‘‘I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been to a movie,’’ he told me, although in the next breath he said he had seen ‘‘The Intern,’’ starring Robert DeNiro, with his twin teenage daughters during the snowstorm the night before. Goodell then shoveled out his driveway so he and his wife could go to Soul Cycle on Sunday morning before he flew down to Charlotte via N.F.L. corporate jet.
It is pretty clear Concussion never posed much of a threat to the league, at least not in the short term, and Goodell’s nonchalant attitude towards the film shows the league feels the same.
The Times story paints Goodell pretty much as you would expect — the perfect pawn for the owners, who’s wrapped himself in a cocoon of football nostalgia. However, it is still a revealing peek behind the curtain of the NFL’s machinations. You can read the full piece here.