Pro Football Hall of Fame
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has granted suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton permission to attend this weekend's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Payton can also attend a private dinner for the inductees; however, he may not attend Sunday's Hall of Fame Game between the Saints and Arizona Cardinals.
This story created a minor sensation in New Orleans when it broke. After our tumultuous offseason, Saints' fans are looking forward to Willie Roaf's induction and the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday. Some fans also see Roger Goodell granting Sean Payton's Hall of Fame request as a sign that the commissioner's power is cracking.
In my opinion, Goodell's recent action concerning Payton is simply a PR move. Even NFL fans that care nothing for the Saints have begun to criticize Roger Goodell's handling of the New Orleans "pay for performance" system. Judge Berrigan also had strong words for the NFL and its commissioner in Jonathan Vilma's recent court hearing.
It's one thing for Vilma to fight his suspension and Saints' fans to claim foul. But it's quite another matter when the face of the NFLPA, Drew Brees, criticizes Roger Goodell. Among other things, Brees recently stated that nobody in the NFL trusts Goodell. All the negative chatter swirling around Roger Goodell cannot be good for business.
Goodell has indirectly helped Sean Payton become somewhat of a martyr in New Orleans. As recently as Tuesday, I saw someone on Prytania St. wearing a "Free Sean Payton" t-shirt. The Saints also unfurled a gigantic Sean Payton banner at training camp this year. I can only imagine what people in New Orleans would be saying about Goodell right now had he not granted Payton's Hall of Fame request.
I'm happy that Sean Payton can ride on Tom Benson's plane. It's also great that Payton can chat with Benson and Mickey Loomis on the way to the Hall of Fame. But don't think for a minute that Roger Goodell is becoming more conciliatory towards the New Orleans Saints in any substantial way.
Still, Goodell way want to make things less awkward with the Saints in case he has to hand Mr. Benson the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans after the Super Bowl.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
More from this contributorHow does an NFL player get inducted into the Hall of Fame?
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- Pro Football Hall of Fame
- New Orleans Saints
- Hall of Fame Game