Roger Goodell says he intends on attending the New England Patriots’ season opener at Gillette Stadium. Will we get chants of “There is Roger”? That remains to be seen, but New England fans can start thinking about what reception they’ll offer the NFL commissioner this fall.

“I plan to be at the kickoff game,” Goodell said, while in Phoenix for the league’s annual meeting. It has become tradition for the reigning Super Bowl champions, in this case the Patriots, to be given the honor of hosting the first game of the NFL’s regular season.

The commissioner has been conspicuously absent from Gillette Stadium since the 2015 AFC championship game, which marked the start of the Deflategate saga.

That long-running story ended, of course, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension to start last season, following a protracted legal battle and after the team had been punished with a $1 million fine and the loss of a 2016 first-round pick. That made Goodell an extremely unpopular figure in New England, although he has denied deliberately avoiding games in Foxborough, Mass.

However, the Patriots’ continued success has made a story of the commissioner’s lack of attendance, going back to September 2015, when he skipped their Thursday night game which kicked off that NFL season. More recently, Goodell attended 2016 playoff games at Seattle and Kansas City, plus two in a row at Atlanta, including the NFC championship game.

Meanwhile, fans watching their Patriots beat the Steelers for the AFC title at Gillette Stadium reveled in chants of, “Where is Roger?! Where is Roger?!” After that game, then-Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett said of Goodell, “He’s like Waldo right now. He doesn’t want to come here.”

The scorn for Goodell within New England’s organization was made all too apparent when the team returned from its comeback triumph in Super Bowl LI. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia disembarked from the team plane wearing a shirt that showed Goodell with a clown’s nose.

While receiving the Vince Lombardi Trophy from the commissioner immediately after that win, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the crowd at Houston’s NRG Stadium, “A lot has transpired over the last two years. And I don’t think that needs any explanation. But I want to say to our fans, to our brilliant coaching staff, our amazing players who were so spectacular: This is unequivocally the sweetest.”

Before the Super Bowl, Goodell had said, “If I am invited back to Foxborough, I’ll come. I have no doubt that if I wanted to come up to a Patriots game and I asked Mr. Kraft, he would welcome me back. That’s up to him.”

On Monday, Kraft said, “Look, he’s commissioner in the league. As we all know, he has the right to go wherever he wishes to go. And if he wanted to come, he’s welcomed to come.

“We’re happy we’ll be celebrating our fifth banner. He can decide whether he wants to be there.”

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