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Rice/Goodell saga overshadows Steelers vs Ravens tilt

It's looked at as the most heated rivalry in all of the NFL. When the Steelers and Ravens meet, you know fireworks are possible. But for JP, the shadow of the Ray Rice/Roger Goodell story dwarfs what is normally a big deal.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Being upstaged is never fun. When the spotlight shines bright, you try to be at your best. I'm certain both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are ready to play each other tonight at M&T Bank Stadium in the Crab City.

It's just too bad nobody really cares about it.

To say the last 72 hours have been bizarre, even by today's standards, is an understatement. For the NFL, I'm sure they wish it would just go away. It won't. And with the league debuting a new Thursday night schedule with broadcast partner CBS, all eyes should be on the two teams involved.

Instead, all people want to talk about is whether Roger Goodell will resign.

Maybe this little PR nightmare is what the league needs to wake up to doing what's right the first time, but I doubt it. The powerful seldom do what's right the first time. They only do what they feel is in their best interest.

It's a shame our society has devolved into this "me, me, me" mentality. It has become the corporate mantra. Control the spin of the story while maxamizing profits. It's all about the bottom line and what shareholders think.

The arrogance of Czar Goodell and the league office has been on display for quite some time. They don't need to be sensitive to others when all that really matters is the shield and the coffers it protects like Midas with his gold.

Domestic abuse is a problem. Even without video evidence, the fact that Ray Rice was arrested for battering his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City casino should have been enough for the Commish to put the hammer down on the running back.

We all know the punishment handed down.

And the backlash from the joke that it was.

Now this.

It's truly a shame but in all honesty, I can tell you right now the league has been preparing for this day since handing down the decision to suspend Rice for only two games. You don't become one of the most powerful businesses in the country by accident.

The NFL has a litany of litigators on their staff. Strategists, spin-doctors and enough PR people to keep busy for years on end without the well running dry. If you think Rog was just sitting around Monday morning with his hands held to his face like the 'Scream' painting, think again.

The league knew this scenario was plausible and that another version of the video of Rice and Janay Rice would surface at some point. They knew the universe would react in an all too predictable way, crying out for justice when only a two-game penalty was initially handed out.

They also had to surmise that the Ravens, under growing public pressure and a significant social media meltdown, would have to release Rice or suffer further PR flack. Once that card was played, the league, under it's 'new' rules only put in place a few weeks ago, made it's move to suspend the Rutgers product indefinitely.

Problem solved right?

Now everybody wants Goodell to be fired or resign. The National Organization for Women stepped into the fracas yesterday. Others on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms did the same. But it really doesn't matter. No amount of public outrage will force Czar Goodell from his position of power. He isn't going anywhere unless one thing occurs.

Simply put, the only way Roger Goodell steps down, or is forced out by owners is if the NFL's corporate sponsors start to abandon the league. The only way that happens is if people, in large droves, actually boycott these companies.

But I don't see that happening.

So rant on Twitter all you want. Facebook it up with friends and family about this latest outrage of corporate nonsense. It matters not. Sadly, the Steelers and Ravens would like us to pay attention to them tonight as the league's best rivalry unfolds.

Too bad our minds are elsewhere, when all that we should care about is football and what takes place on the field instead of what has or hasn't occurred beyond it.

John Phillips is a radio personality for 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh and a columnist for Behind The Steel Curtain. Check him out on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.