If you think that you’re having a tough 2012, look no further than to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for some perspective. Goodell’s 2012 has been terrible, and from the looks of things 2013 isn’t set to begin much better for the embattled commish.
After dealing with a labor lockout, and officials lockout, a rash of concussion related lawsuits and an over the top level of professional disdain from nearly every player with whom Goodell has had to deal, the commissioner is still entrenched in the midst of the controversy that won’t go away as the league continues to try and find their way through bounty gate.
While the suspended players’ plights are still tied up in the appeals process, thereby continuing to add life to this story we are bombarded with reminders of one of the league’s uglier scandals; a scandal that most would have imagined would be well in the league’s rear view by now. There’s still no real assurance that anyone, aside from Saints former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, current assistant (and interim head coach) Joe Vitt, and GM Mickey Loomis will ever actually be punished for their roles in the scandal.
One would have to imagine that there’s a very real possibility that at some point soon if notorious whistle blower Anthony Hargrove doesn’t find employment in the NFL he’ll be looking to raise his complaint to defamation and attempt to prove a conspiracy that has blackballed from the league as a result of his role in the investigation. And now, as a result of a voided contract by the commissioner’s office, it appears that Saints head coach Sean Payton might come out of his “punishment” in better shape than ever.
Like Peyton Manning last year, Sean Payton’s absence in 2012 is serving as little more than an illustration of just how important he was to the Saints organization, and a reinforcement of his value. Now like Manning too, Payton will find himself a free agent at the end of his suspension, able to sell his services to the highest bidder. Unlike Manning, there are no health issues related to Payton that might have teams reluctant to take a chance on signing him.
So now, as punishment for standing by their man, the Saints will be likely forced to pay a king’s ransom just to match the efforts of other clubs anxious to attract the hottest commodity in coaching once the bidding process can officially begin.
It hardly seems fair that the Saints and their fans have been punished for the wayward culture that Payton and his minions presided over while Payton himself will likely come out on the other side of things better than ever. It’s tough to imagine this was the commissioner’s ‘intent, but it continues to be his mess.