"NEW ORLEANS – And on Friday, Roger Goodell emerged from hiding. For a week, the NFL's commissioner has been exiled from his Super Bowl, ducking into dark cars and riding behind a line of wailing police motorcycles. His meetings in the city that hates him have been with safe subjects – team owners, union officials and the people with whom he worked to rebuild the Superdome.
When he emerged for his grand media conference at week's end it was less a celebration of his imperial power and more the appearance of a dictator in the throes of revolution. Outside the Ernest Morial Convention Center, New Orleans rages, still upset over the bounty scandal. His name is no good in the city's restaurants. He's been pinned to dartboards, put in compromising positions on Mardi Gras floats and even ordered to eternal damnation on a banner that has danged from the side of the Superdome he helped save. His players mock him. His suspensions have been overturned. Six and one half years into his regime he is a leader besieged.
Roger Goodell gets a warm reception from Saints owner Tom Benson on Friday. New Orleans wasn't as kind. (AP)
"Do you feel like you are behind enemy lines?" a television reporter asked him on Friday.
Goodell forced a smile. It didn't seem convincing."