SCARBOROUGH — Richard Pate delights in the prospect of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell having to take the stage Sunday night to deliver Super Bowl hardware to quarterback Tom Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“That would be doubly wonderful, the MVP trophy in one hand and the Lombardi trophy in the other,” Pate said of the man he calls Emperor Goodell.

Pate, you may recall, is the Patriots fan from Biddeford who two summers ago hired a plane to fly over Prouts Neck, where Goodell has a summer home, trailing a banner urging him to “Jet Home To N.Y.”

Like Pate, other football fans in southern Maine have not softened their view of Goodell over time.

The commissioner served as judge and jury for the Deflategate controversy, in which the Patriots were alleged to have tampered with footballs used in their 45-7 AFC Championship victory over Indianapolis in January 2015.

You may have heard something about it. As punishment, Brady served a four-game suspension and the Patriots were fined $1 million and stripped of two draft picks.


“I think the man has absolutely mishandled every discipline case that’s come before him,” Pate said. “The popularity of the NFL isn’t being fueled by Roger Goodell. It’s being fueled by the passion of the fans and the quality of the players.”

Mike Marcello, 51, director of sales for a group of radio stations based in Portland, doesn’t mince words about the commissioner.

“I have a picture of Roger Goodell on the wall of my man cave with a big red circle and a (slash) over it,” Marcello said. “That’s how much I can’t stand him. What he did to Tom Brady is a disgrace.”

At the height of the Deflategate controversy two summers ago, Marcello recognized Goodell at the self-checkout area of the Hannaford Supermarket in Scarborough. Actually, Marcello first recognized Goodell’s wife, the former Jane Skinner, who once worked as a television reporter in Portland.

Seizing his opportunity, Marcello loudly chanted “Free Tom Brady!” and clapped his hands with each syllable. A co-worker who also was shopping saw what he was doing.

“She literally put her head in her cart in embarrassment,” said Marcello, who relented after half-a-dozen chants because no one else joined in. “At some point, I had to stop looking like an idiot.”


The Goodells, he said, beat a hasty retreat.

This isn’t the first time the NFL has faced a potentially awkward situation at a Super Bowl award presentation. In 1981, then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle handed the Lombardi Trophy to longtime nemesis Al Davis after the Raiders beat Philadelphia. At the time, Davis was suing Rozelle and the NFL for blocking his move from Oakland to Los Angeles.

A plane tows a banner with the message "Comm. Goodell Jet Home to N.Y." as it flies over Biddeford Municipal Airport on Aug. 2, 2015.

A plane tows a banner with the message “Comm. Goodell Jet Home to N.Y.” as it flies over Biddeford Municipal Airport on Aug. 2, 2015.

“Brady’s a standup guy, he won’t do anything,” Marcello said. “But it’ll be interesting to see the other players and the crowd’s reaction.”

It was hard to find any of Goodell’s Prouts Neck neighbors on a recent winter afternoon, but Andy Turner, a construction worker from New Gloucester, was cleaning up on the porch of a soon-to-be-finished home with a view of Ferry Beach.

Turner, 27, is a Giants fan who ranks the Patriots No. 2 on his list. He brought up a few issues from this fall having to do with the Steelers (under-inflated footballs) and Giants (illegally using walkie talkies to communicate with quarterback Eli Manning when coaching headsets malfunctioned). Although Goodell fined the Giants $200,000 for their infraction, the perception is strong in New England that justice is not dispensed in equal measures.

“He’s so biased against the Patriots,” Turner said. “There are other teams having issues but it’s not a big deal to them at all. It’s not a problem. Four game (suspension)? That was ridiculous.”


In two previous playoff rounds, Goodell conspicuously avoided traveling to Foxborough to watch the Patriots, choosing instead to be in Atlanta for both divisional and NFC championship games. That he actually played a major role in preventing the Patriots from moving to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1999 (Kraft had signed such an agreement with then-Connecticut Gov. John Rowland) does little to redeem Goodell in the eyes of New England fans.

If the Patriots win Sunday's Super Bowl, many fans doubt quarterback Tom Brady will use the trophy presentation to needle NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for suspending him.

If the Patriots win Sunday’s Super Bowl, many fans doubt quarterback Tom Brady will use the trophy presentation to needle NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for suspending him.

“The fans took it harder than Brady, I think,” said Dan Hinrichs, 20, of Scarborough. “I really think the team, they’ve moved on.”

Hinrichs, a sophomore at the University of Delaware, works in the Hannaford deli department, which is where he encountered Goodell (“I’ve sliced turkey for him!”) the summer before last. He downplayed any potential post-game drama.

“If they win, it’s going to be a little something extra sweet,” Hinrichs said, “but not as much as people think.”

Of course, should the Falcons win, Goodell’s reaction also will be scrutinized for any signs of glee for having avoided an encounter with the quarterback he suspended. The commissioner is pretty good with a poker face, according to another college sophomore who happened to be watching Goodell when Pate’s first trolling banner flew overhead.

George Mackenzie of Cape Elizabeth worked at Prouts Neck Country Club two summers ago, taking care of the clay tennis courts, and had heard talk about the plane with Pate’s banner.


“I happened to be sitting in a perfect spot to have my eyes on Roger Goodell as he is serving a tennis ball and he catches sight of the banner out of the corner of his eye,” said Mackenzie, an international business and marketing major at the University of Tampa. “It was like a fairy tale moment. He looked up and saw it. Everybody else at the tennis courts knew it was going on. Nobody said anything to him, but everybody was kind of snickering to each other. Of course, my boss was looking at me with eyes of ‘Do Not Say Anything.’ ”

Although a big Patriots fan, Mackenzie said revenge is not a factor for him on Sunday. He’s simply impressed by Brady’s resilience to come back from the suspension and lead the Patriots back to the Super Bowl.

“It would be really nice to have them shake off whatever problems happened between them and have them be civil about it,” he said, “which hasn’t seemed to be how it’s gone so far.”

Pate paid for three more banners related to the controversy, one wishing Brady a happy birthday “from Maine and Roger G.” Even if the Patriots managed to beat Atlanta and Brady were to earn MVP honors, Pate said he didn’t think Brady would use the occasion to needle the commissioner.

“Knowing the class Tom Brady has and his demeanor, I’m sure he’ll be polite,” Pate said, “even though the majority of us don’t think he was treated very well.”

And should the Patriots prevail, might Pate consider sending another banner over the Maine coast when Goodell is in town?


“It is,” Pate said, echoing an oft-repeated statement in the Deflategate investigation report, “more likely than not.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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