The year was 1984…the scene is Sherill, New York. You may not know this, but Sherill is the smallest town in New York. How many pizza parlors do they have in Sherill? They have one. And it is only open Thursday – Sunday, because on the other days it is a dentistry. Such is the way things are in smalltowns during the 1980s.
Roger Goodell was working in this pizza parlor after college, smoking a lot of marijuana, finding out what he wanted to do with his life. One day in 1984, his life would change suddenly and drastically.
That was the day the dentist decided to work fridays.
There became a lot of overlap customers, lots of waiting around in the office. So, they needed to do something and Goodell, being energetic, eager to please, suggested a video game arcade machine for the waiting customers
A week later they wheeled in a game.
That game, as you may have figured out, was Pacman.
Goodell played that game and played that game. Ate the hell out of the dots and became very good. He had the high score in the town of Sherill, but that, that was not enough for Young Goodell, he felt the need to ply his trade in the big city.
So, he went to New York City…Times Square even in search of some Pacman competition. When he got to Times Square, well, this was before Rudy Giuliani, so he spent a couple dollars on some peep shows and then had his wallet stolen.
All he had was one quarter left in his pocket…
One quarter to live his dream…
And he found a pacman machine. He noticed the high score, a bit higher than one he had ever obtained, but nonetheless a score that was within his grasp and there was no turning back now.
So Goodell placed his quarter in the machine and kicked into gear.
The opening to his round, well, those in attendance say that they have never seen one play the game of Pacman with that level of intensity and sheer determination to achieve.
And then…then it happened…he made his play to get one of the apples in the center of the game.
He found himself trapped…
He lost one of his lives…
A small boy cradled in his mother’s arms looked on, and Goodell looked at this boy and felt the steam from this little beings eyes. Goodell lost focus, he ate a few more dots, but quickly died and felt the laughs of this young boy in his mother’s arms as Goodell turned from the video game just 156 pts shy of the top score.
Goodell stopped and asked the lady what the name of her son was. Who was this kid whose glare disrupted Goodell’s record setting run?
That boy’s name, was Adam Jones. Vacationing in New York from Georgia.
Some may call it irony that this boy grew up to be a star football player who would later take the nickname PACMAN, but Goodell, Goodell knew it was the stars aligning. Fate had reunited Goodell with Adam Pacman Jones, and this time, Goodell was determined to ruined the life of a man who ruined his one shining moment.
And with that as background, Adam Pacman Jones was suspended for one entire football season