Can Roger Goodell Save Football?

Concussions. Bounties. Replacement refs. and now another player tragedy. For the NFL commissioner, the problems keep piling up

Chip Litherland for TIME

Goodell mingles with fans in Jacksonville, Fla. The Senator's son has a politician's touch

On the morning of Dec. 1, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell received an unfathomable phone call from the league's head of security. Jovan Belcher, a fourth-year linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, had killed his girlfriend in their home, then driven to the team's practice complex. There, despite the pleadings of his coach and general manager, he shot himself in the parking lot, leaving his 3-month-old daughter an orphan.

Goodell recalls his disbelief. "My first thoughts weren't about football at all," he told TIME. "This is not a football tragedy. It's...

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