Baltimore doctor busy with patients nearly hangs up on surprise call from Roger Goodell

A Baltimore Ravens fan working as an interventional cardiologist at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore was expecting a call about a patient. Instead he got two tickets to Super Bowl LV in Tampa offered directly from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Hazim El-Haddad is treating cardiac patients during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and told the Washington Post he was having a “rough day” when he answered a FaceTime call on Saturday. He wasn’t aware at first who was calling him and had to ask.

“Hey, doc, it’s Roger Goodell.”

“Hey. Sorry, I can’t talk at the moment. … Who’s this?” El-Haddad responded.

“Roger Goodell,” Goodell repeated.

El-Haddad said Goodell “caught me off guard” but it was a good pick-me-up. He was awaiting a call about a patient’s CAT scan.

“When the phone went off, I immediately answered [without checking the caller]. I was so embarrassed,” he said.

"I was literally reaching for the button. I literally almost hung up on Roger Goodell," El-Haddad told the Ravens website.

The doctor was one of the participants in the NFL’s “inner circle” during the NFL draft. The group was chosen after submitting videos in the competition and appeared on screen during the virtual draft. El-Haddad said he filmed his in between shifts and noted how his patients in Baltimore felt more connected and were put at ease when they saw the Ravens logo on his medical garments.

Goodell was a fan of his video and his appeal to be involved in the inner circle, he told the Washington Post.

“It was so emotional. … It chokes me up now to think about it, the impact that we had or that the NFL had or the Ravens had in this case specifically and how he’s using that to connect with patients and bring some joy and some diversion and some feeling of community. That was really powerful.”

El-Haddad is one of four cardiologists at the hospital, which is only performing necessary surgeries while treating coronavirus patients. Some of his patients have had the coronavirus and he told the Ravens website “everything has been worse than I was expecting so far.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell surprised a Ravens fan and doctor with Super Bowl tickets. ( Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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