Roger Goodell hasn’t been to a game at Gillette Stadium since Deflategate began after the 2014 AFC Championship Game, but the NFL doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal.
The commissioner will attend the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta on Sunday between the Falcons and the Green Bay Packers, skipping a trip to Foxboro, Mass., for a second straight season. The league reminded fans on Thursday, though, that there still will be a game there between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.
“The focus should be on the players and the game,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “Two great teams in what should be a classic game.”
While that’s true, Goodell’s absence still will be conspicuous. The commish attended the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff and Championship Game at Gillette, but after the Pats’ 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts sparked Deflategate, he hasn’t been back since. He even was a no-show for the first game of the 2015 season between the Patriots and Steelers.
In all honesty, it’s probably best Goodell doesn’t attend because he wouldn’t be well received by the Foxboro crowd. But that doesn’t stop them from noticing anyway.
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