FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attended the New England Patriots‘ preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, his first visit to Gillette Stadium since the Deflategate scandal.
Goodell was spotted in a private box with Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the first quarter, as he stopped in to say hello. He also visited with Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
Goodell departed the stadium before halftime.
His most recent visit to a Patriots home game came in January 2015, during playoff time.
Goodell previously said he planned to attend the NFL opener on Sept. 7 when the Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs, a fact NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed in a tweet Thursday night.
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) August 11, 2017
In the past season’s playoffs, Goodell attended back-to-back playoff games at the Atlanta Falcons instead of going to Gillette Stadium for a home Patriots playoff game. That became a hot-button topic in New England, at which time team president Jonathan Kraft was asked if the commissioner needed an invitation to attend a game.
“I don’t know how they pick where he goes,” Kraft had said on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “They don’t call the teams and say ‘hey.’ That’s not the way it works. The league office determines where he goes and I don’t know the factors that go into that. … Owners don’t extend invitations.”