When reading Peter King’s excellent item for Sports Illustrated regarding the Saints’ bounty program, a thought crossed my mind in connection with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s reaction to the situation.
Holy crap he may take away their Super Bowl win.
I brushed it off, like so many other things that cross my mind, as ridiculous. But then I thought about it some more.
The NCAA has vacated national titles for things far less serious than paying players to attempt to injure opponents. Moreover, there’s a distinctly Machiavellian quality to owner Tom Benson’s decision to keep coach Sean Payton and G.M. Mickey Loomis.
Who cares what they did? They won the Super Bowl.
And so if the ends justify the means, a fitting consequence could be to take away the ends.
But we can officially end any such discussion. The potential consequences for the violation, we’re told, will be limited to those expressly identified in the league’s press release of March 2: fines, suspensions, and forfeiture of draft picks.
Vacating games or taking away titles isn’t on the table. The Saints will have to write a large check to the league, and the Saints will be prevented from writing a name on a card during one or more rounds of the 2012 (and maybe 2013) draft. That’s it.
And so while it would have been fun to stage a Best of Times-style Super Bowl XLIV, with Brett Favre playing the role of Reno Hightower in a rematch of a game that never was played, the outcome will stand.
For more babbling on this topic, here’s a little something from Thursday’s PFT Live.