NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
When Roger Goodell became NFL Commissioner, he quickly began attacking violence in the league. From penalizing microscopically late hits on the QB to fining helmet-to-helmet hits by defenders, Goodell attempted to dramatically alter the way the NFL had operated since its inception.
However, in his battle to sway public opinion against NFL violence, Roger Goodell was largely unsuccessful. The conventional reasoning is that NFL fans never supported Goodell because they supported hard-hitting violence. But I believe there is another reason why NFL fans derided Roger Goodell's movement.
Roger Goodell could never rally NFL fans behind his cause because the penalties and fines were being levied against every team. One week, New Orleans Saints fans would be cheering a fine against an NFL defender who hit Drew Brees in the head. But next week, Saints fans would be upset about a late hit called on Will Smith.
New Orleans Saints
Unfortunately, New Orleans gave Roger Goodell a golden opportunity to attack one NFL team for something that was happening throughout the league. The Saints were found guilty of running a bounty program in New Orleans under the direction of Gregg Williams. Now Goodell could punish the Saints and the fans of 31 NFL teams would be happy.
What does Dennis Rodman have to do with Roger Goodell and the New Orleans Saints? Early in his NBA career, I hated Dennis Rodman. But when he joined my favorite NBA team at the time, the Chicago Bulls, I became a huge Rodman fan. I even bought his jersey. It was almost scary how my blind allegiance to a team trumped all else.
Now all the same fans who were complaining about Roger Goodell's crusade to end violence in the NFL six months ago are cheering his punishment of the New Orleans Saints. The same NFL fans who booed late hits on the QB six months ago are now claiming to be horrified at Gregg Williams' speech to the Saints defense.
The genius of Roger Goodell
This, fellow Saints fans, is the tragic genius of Roger Goodell. He finally realized that if he only punished one NFL team, he would garner the support of 31 other teams and their fans. Goodell knew that blind allegiance would inspire NFL fans to jump on his bandwagon of safety because only New Orleans was being attacked.
It was a brilliant plan. Saints fans want to know why Roger Goodell didn't penalize the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills. Saints fans want to know why 31 other NFL teams weren't investigated for bounties. This is why. If other NFL teams were penalized for bounties and other pregame speeches were released, public reaction would be mixed.
Perhaps in 2012, the New Orleans Saints should be known as the New Orleans Scapegoats.
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.
Michael Silver, "Source: Gregg Williams instructed Saints during speech to injure Niners offensive players," yahoo.com
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