This was not Moses wandering through the desert for 40 years. It only took 132 days for the NFLPA and owners to emerge with commandments of their own in the form of a ten year collective bargaining agreement. In the process they also found a way to stay in the national consciousness while taking a virtual vacation.

It was an oddly emotional end to the NFL lockout. It’s long been known, that there’s no crying in baseball but on Monday afternoon, Colts center Jeff Saturday and Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who lost his wife last week to cancer and shared an embrace between rivals that would make Romeo & Juliet jealous. Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Reischea Candidate kicked off the morning by quoting Marvin Gay’s, “Let’s Get It On” in relation to the NFL lockout’s conclusion.

The NFL’s lockout ended surprisingly similar to a generic romantic comedy.  Romantic comedies never show what happens after the big kiss. The NFL is about to find out as reality begins to set in. Over the next few days, a flurry of free agent signings will take place in a compressed period of time and Chris Jackson and DeSean Jackson are watching Jerry McGwire with their agents as they hold out for more money. General managers, who have been barred from making contact with players during the lockout would be wise to stretch before they hit the phones dialing at full speed.

No where to be seen was the Commissioner, Roger Goodell. Amidst all the love, however, Roger Goodell has been and remains the NFL’s main punching bag. Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson could film a “Jacked Up” segment around the players who’ve taken direct shots against Commissioner Goodell.

Most notably, James Harrison called Goodell a crook, a devil, a puppet, a dictator and used a gay slur in describing him.

The NFL Commish took more hits during the lockout than Matt Stafford in the Lions backfield. It would be nice to think that the emotions of players were affected by the NFL lockout—if Ray Edwards and Ryan Clark had not continued railing on Goodell after players and owners mended fences, opened free agency and unlocked facilities.

In comparison, Goodell lacks the same respect from his players that NBA Commissioner David Stern is receiving during the NBA’s lockout. Goodell has the charisma of a possum in the road. Stern certainly has his share of detractors among the players but he has also created an amicable relationship towards his players by achieving a balance between discipline and praise.

It’s been very rare for Goodell to express a genuine smile or applaud a player outside of a meticulously lawyered up press release. Goodell has not learned yet how to win over a crowd or the players with Stern’s simple recipe of a tinge of humor, wit and by reaching out to players with something besides a fine.

When was the last time, Goodell gave an interview where he praised a player or talk about the game as if he enjoys watching it. Now compare it to the numerous occasions where Stern has gone on long rants about Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.

Roddy White’s words on ESPN’s Mike & Mike last week embodied that sentiment.  White called the Commissioner distant from the players. White also told ESPN that if Commisioner Goodell would “talk  to the players a little bit more,” “people can see eye to eye with him.”

The NBA is a third world country in comparison to the NFL’s current era of prosperity, yet Goodell has the enthusiasm and demeanor of a father of five working the night shift. I understand that during the lockout Goodell represented the owners interests but most of this animosity stemmed from his pre-lockout persona. Now that the “work stoppage” is over, he has to make a few adjustments in his public relations and player conduct policy.

As far as off the field violations, I don’t believe he has shown much bias, however, as far as appearances are concerned it would not hurt to have an intermediary or appeals process that doesn’t permeate through his office. The area of concern, where an appeals process would be most appreciated by the players are the on-field fines, which have a tendency to be random in nature—especially when quarterbacks are involved.

Most importantly, he has to get to know his players personally. I’m not saying he should have to kiss babies and give inspirational speeches but he should at least develop relationships with the superstars in his game the way Stern has from Jordan and Barkley to Kobe and Lebron. Goodell doesn’t have to be the players’ friend but if he doesn’t alter his approach he’ll remain public enemy number one.Please take a minute to open and read ads on the site and help support maintaining. Each ad you open helps pay to keep the site up. Thanks for your support, and feel free to refer your friends and family to this site.