Despite being flanked on the stage by a trio of Dallas Cowboys legends, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was soundly booed to begin the NFL draft at AT&T Stadium.
Goodell walked out alongside NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and perennial Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, but that didn't stop fans in attendance from booing Goodell, even while he introduced the Dallas greats.
"I can't believe you guys are booing the Cowboys," Goodell joked during his opening remarks. "Come on!"
Goodell was booed the entire time he was on the stage up until he announced that Cleveland was on the clock with the first pick. It was the first time the NFL draft was held in a stadium. Goodell estimated the fans inside and outside the stadium to number around 100,000.
Aikman, Witten and Staubach seemed uncomfortable as the boos resounded. The jeers stopped when the three Cowboys legends threw footballs into the crowd. It was Staubach's idea, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. Staubach, 76, threw a tight spiral 25 to 30 yards, and the ball went into the arms of a happy Steelers fan.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was "glad" to see Staubach's pass go to a Steelers fan, joking, "I don't know how many he did of those in his career, but he did a good job tonight going to Pittsburgh."
"Seriously, the commissioner had to feel good walking out there with those beloved Cowboy players here in Dallas, Texas," Jones said. "I know I'd like to have that group with me any place I go in Dallas. I can get a smile."
Goodell has feuded with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones over the NFL's suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott and Jones' previous attempt to block a contract extension for the commissioner.