Roger Goodell is avoiding an incredibly awkward situation.
The NFL confirmed Thursday that the commissioner will not attend next Thursday’s 2015 season opener between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium, according to FOX Sports.
A league spokesman told FOX Sports that Goodell will watch the game on TV because he “believes the focus should be on the game on the field and the festivities celebrating the Patriots’ Super Bowl championship.”
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman issued a ruling Thursday to vacate Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for the Patriots quarterback’s alleged involvement in Deflategate. Having the commissioner present at Gillette Stadium next week obviously would create a sideshow.
It sure would have been funny to see Goodell’s reaction to the Patriots raising their Super Bowl XLIX banner, though. It also would have been hilarious to see how the New England crowd treated Goodell.
The commissioner has become a major enemy of Pats fans throughout the Deflategate drama, so the raucous crowd in Foxboro undoubtedly would have rubbed Brady’s court victory right in his face.
This will mark the first time Goodell, who was named NFL commissioner in 2006, will not attend the annual Thursday night season opener. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told FOX Sports that Goodell will attend a game on the NFL’s opening Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports Images