Last week, the founder of Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy, was the highest bidder in a unique auction that would allow the lucky winner to spend an evening watching an NFL game with league commissioner Roger Goodell. Portnoy paid $250,000 for the opportunity, which will see Goodell invite the entrepreneur into his home when, and if, the football season gets underway. However, Goodell may not be totally pleased with the outcome of the auction, and might try to do something to sabotage it. There are even lines up on the odds of whether or not the encounter will take place.
Goodell and Portnoy don’t exactly see eye to eye on a lot of subjects. It could because the commissioner was slammed by Portnoy during “DeflateGate” in 2015. At one point, Portnoy became so incensed with Goodell that he began wearing a T-shirt of the commissioner sporting a red clown’s nose. Things got so heated that, last year, Portnoy was booted from Super Bowl LIII and banned from NFL Media Night.
The money raised was for a good cause – providing relief to those who have been economically impaired from the coronavirus. Portnoy is publicly excited about his ability to give some assistance, made possible by the acquisition of his company by Penn National Gaming, explaining in a video posted on Twitter, “Two hundred and fifty grand. A quarter Milly. That’s how much it cost me. Good charity. Great charity. I’m happy to give the money. Let’s help people. Let’s go watch some football, Roger. I got some questions. We got all day. Football takes, what, three, four hours? No handcuffs, no jail. I paid fair and square. I won. Quarter Milly. Me and you, Roger. Let’s put that money to good use. You know, I’m happy to donate it. Let’s talk.”
The NFL and Goodell saw the auction as a perfect opportunity to support financial relief efforts, but probably didn’t think things all the way through. If Goodell were to reject the encounter, the NFL would have to return Portnoy’s money and hold the auction again. That could lead to a weaker response and even a lawsuit by Portnoy for breach of contract. However, if the commissioner invites Portnoy into his mancave, there’s no telling what will happen. Portnoy admits that he is a “walking GoPro” and will have no qualms about airing everything he encounters, much to the chagrin of Goodell.
The odds seem to favor the meeting not being called off. “Will Dave Portnoy Watch MNF Game With Roger Goodell in the Commissioner’s Basement in 2020?” is looking at -300 for “No” and +200 for “Yes.” There aren’t yet any lines on whether or not there will be a minor boxing match in Goodell’s basement.
Several high-profile sports figures are stepping up to push the commissioner into holding the experience. The last is Bob Huggins, the basketball coach for the West Virginia Mountaineers, who tweeted, “@UKCoachCalipari @CoachAK13 @FrankMartin_SC @franfraschilla Fellas, correct me if I’m wrong but we’ve done a ton of events for charity and always honored each individual who has won and contributed to these great events. Only seems right that @nflcommish honors @stoolpresidente.”
With everything that’s going on in the world, sports fans need some excitement. Putting Goodell and Portnoy in a room together could prove to be the distraction everyone needs.