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Tagliabue shows Goodell the way to implement a culture change

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When first we absorbed the ruling from former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as summarized on the Twitter page of NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, it seemed fairly obvious that Tagliabue was looking for a way to give the players the keys to their freedom without giving Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma the keys to the league’s vault.

Careful examination of the 22-page, single-spaced ruling generated by Tagliabue definitely confirms that Tagliabue has indeed tried to insulate Goodell from liability for defamation, if for no reason other than to insulate Tagliabue’s law firm from losing one of its most important clients.  Still, portions of the text crafted carefully by Tagliabue suggest a passive-aggressive effort to send an unmistakable message to the man who is now presiding over the sport of football.

Consider this paragraph, which applauds Goodell for trying to eradicate bounties from football but basically says, in polite fashion, that he lacks the sophistication or proper understanding of human nature to pull it off:   “In this context, confronted with the events here, Commissioner Goodell correctly set out aggressively to address them. But when an effort to change a culture rests heavily on prohibitions, and discipline and sanctions that are seen as selective, ad hoc or inconsistent, then people in all industries are prone to react negatively — whether they be construction workers, police officers or football players.  They will push back and challenge the discipline as unwarranted.  As reflected in the record in the present appeals, they will deny, hide behind a code of silence, destroy evidence and obstruct. In other words, rightly or wrongly, a sharp change in sanctions or discipline can often be seen as arbitrary and as an impediment rather than an instrument of change.  This is what we see on the record here.”

In other words, Tagliabue is telling Goodell he shouldn’t have tried to defuse a time bomb with a hammer.  The process requires more nuance, and Goodell’s predecessor invoked his own predecessor in order to show Goodell, in subtle fashion, why Tagliabue possibly thinks Goodell can’t hold the jock of the man whose car, according to the new TIME article, Goodell used to drive.

Specifically, Tagliabue cites “an important example” from the tenure of former Commissioner Pete Rozelle, who used “a short-term exemption from discipline as a means of swiftly facilitating an intensified effort to change a negative culture to enhance the health and safety of NFL players.”  Tagliabue then explains (or, from Goodell’s perspective, lectures) the details.

It was the 1980s.  And the NFL was (finally) waking up to the problem of steroids.  “Rozelle developed and implemented a set of policies, prohibitions and testing regimens to identify steroid abusers and eliminate the safety and health risks,” Tagliabue writes, knowing full well that Goodell knows this because he was working in the league office at the time.  “[Rozelle] included a discipline-free transition year in the new policy.  Rozelle warned one-year in advance that a discipline policy suspending players for steroid use would be implemented the following season.  Four months prior to the enforcement of the policy, all players were advised by letter of the specific disciplinary actions for steroid use.  For that year, Rozelle sharpened the rules and set escalating penalties while withholding player discipline.  Rozelle recognized the realities of team operations and sought to ensure uniform compliance and enforcement in several dozen team workplaces.  He understood that sometimes it is necessary to clarify the rules — make sure everyone understands; postpone discipline for a while, not forever, but maybe for a season; and then enforce the rules with strict discipline.”

In other words, Tagliabue is telling Goodell, as gently as possible, that he needs to pump the brakes the next time he wants to break balls over whatever longstanding problem he suddenly decides needs to be eradicated.  The fact that Tagliabue sent the message in a 22-page document that has been disclosed for the media to study makes it even more of a slap by the master to his former servant.

Hopefully, Goodell will be able to set aside the public nature of the friendly scolding and draw from Tagliabue’s words the lessons that will help the league office deal with similar problems effectively and properly in the future.  Though that may eventually occur, in the short term it’s safe to assume that Goodell will read Tagliabue’s words and privately seethe.

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82 Responses to “Tagliabue shows Goodell the way to implement a culture change”
  1. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 11, 2012 9:52 PM

    Tags was nicer and gentler than I would have been.

  2. hovenaut says: Dec 11, 2012 9:53 PM

    Tags to Goodell in even layer terms: Study your surroundings, understand what needs to be done and load up on ammo.

    First.

    Then go hunting.

  3. logicalvoicesays says: Dec 11, 2012 9:55 PM

    We as fans demand Paul Tagliabue be the commissioner of the NFL until he passes on. He’s the real life Commissioner Gordon from Batman. Greatest commissioner to ever live, yes better than Rozelle.

  4. naturalkarma504 says: Dec 11, 2012 9:58 PM

    In other words… The Saints were scape-goated for the sins of the entire league!

  5. rascalmanny says: Dec 11, 2012 9:59 PM

    Goodell just had his nuts removed. That can’t be good for his future.

    But Tagliabue also showed pretty good evidence of an intent to do game ending injury to QB’s by the Saint’s.

  6. redzona says: Dec 11, 2012 10:00 PM

    Goodell is going Cheech Marin in Colorado reading it too.

  7. chicagobtech says: Dec 11, 2012 10:00 PM

    I might agree with this blog posting more, if it weren’t for the fact that the League warned teams about bounty programs after the 2009 season. Most of 2010, all of 2011, and the first part of 2012. That would be a larger window of opportunity to shut down the bounty program and come clean than the one Rozelle gave players to get the steroids out of their system.

  8. blantoncollier says: Dec 11, 2012 10:02 PM

    So let me understand this..The Saints had a bounty system, but since the players just follow the coaches its OK?

    So Goodell overreached on the punishment, but arent the players grown men? They could have just played not tried to mame?

    Or does the fact they could earn some extra money causing injury to one of there own make it all OK?

  9. nemobhax says: Dec 11, 2012 10:08 PM

    Well said!

    This accurately sums up my frustrations with Goodell and also NFL team-assigned discipline.

    Goodell seems to have one rule: You may be guilty or innocent, but he will adjust his punishment according to how many negative headlines are written about you.

    If you embarrass the NFL or expose the league to lawsuits, you’re going down.

  10. vikingamericann says: Dec 11, 2012 10:08 PM

    Looking beyond the Saints it’s seems that Roger’s approach of inconsistently fining and suspending players for helmet to helmet hits, and playing tough football we only anger the players and fans. New Orleans got jobbed for no good reason, it could be Chicago or Dallas next. Time for the NFL Owners to clean house at the top starting but not ending with Roger.

  11. 4thqtrsaint says: Dec 11, 2012 10:09 PM

    Grasping… at… straws… to keep… hating… the Saints…

  12. billsfan1 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:11 PM

    Tags is the number one problem. Goodell is trying to clean up the image that was set forth under tags rule. Fact is that tags #1 priority was to grow the nfl brand, at All cost.. I firmly feel like the saints organization got off too easy, but that the players were following orders. I’m just not sure tagliabue is truly fair and partial since this in turn would scar his legacy as well

  13. sbdt says: Dec 11, 2012 10:11 PM

    If you read between the lines and then again between those lines, Tagliabue is letting Goodell know he’s gonna need to be a lot more diplomatic to absolve the NFL of its responsibility to the concussion plaintiffs.

    Doesn’t matter, our season is ruined. Part of me wants Payton back (just to see him coaching under the DO YOUR JOB sign), but most of me wants him to stay away so we can lose out and draft a decent defensive player. In round 3 or whatever our first pick will be because of all this crap.

  14. jason1980 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:16 PM

    @blandoncollier…..”they could have just played, not tried to mame”??? Who the hell did the Saints “mame”???

  15. FinFan68 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:20 PM

    Interesting fantasy Florio. Goodell warned the Saints a couple years ago and told them to stop. The Saints ignored the warnings and continued business as usual. He found the accusations were correct and somehow this is viewed as a rebuke of Goodell. Tags just disagrees with the style not the substance. Goodell gave him the opportunity to handle it differently and he took it.

  16. thehatefulnerd says: Dec 11, 2012 10:20 PM

    Goodell is a phoney.

  17. priestequalsaura says: Dec 11, 2012 10:21 PM

    Why isn’t Tagliabue in the HOF yet?

  18. luckysunday20 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:23 PM

    blantoncollier says:
    Dec 11, 2012 10:02 PM

    “So let me understand this..The Saints had a bounty system, but since the players just follow the coaches its OK?”

    No what he’s saying is Goodell made the Saints the example for a commonly behind the scenes coach endorsed violation that existed for years.

    It seems in the NFL culture the league and the Union almost has to protect the players from certain longstanding coaching traditions that result in coaches just saying “if you won’t break the rules I’ll cut you and get someone who will”

  19. realfootballfan says: Dec 11, 2012 10:26 PM

    Oh, don’t be mistaken, Tagliabue pimp slapped his successor, and you have to wonder how much longer Goodell realistically has left in that job with such a heavy handed smack down from not only the guy who has done your job, but did it better than you by most objective accounts.

  20. crisisofinfinitephils says: Dec 11, 2012 10:26 PM

    This is laughable. They way I remember it was that Goodell who had to get tough with suspensions because the penalties for criminal misconducts under tagliabue where a joke. Say what you will about the bounty situation, but the saints were warned. And if it gets to that point it becomes less about the infraction and more about the saints being obstinate. To take tagliabue seriously in this situation we have to ignore how he handled situations like these during his run as commissioner.

  21. MyTeamsAllStink says: Dec 11, 2012 10:27 PM

    Goodell just basically got the “vote of confidence”.The NFL will have a new commish by next year

  22. thejuddstir says: Dec 11, 2012 10:28 PM

    Tags diplomatic reasoning, Florio’s lawyerly explanation and now the lay-person’s explanation. It’s like a parent who believes in all that “touchy-feely discipline”, who always tells his misbehaving kid that he’s going to count to ten and he better quit misbehaving, except he either never gets to 10 or when he does, he still doesn’t implement discipline. Biggest difference is that we’re suppose to be talking about adults here, not kids. The league warned all teams back in 2008 about bounty programs but apparently that wasn’t good enough, they didn’t sit down with each individual player and explain it to them. Wouldn’t it be cool to see Brees get knocked out of a game from a late hit and then sit back and listen to Brees demanding an explanation and to saints* fans cry for justice. I think it’s the only way that saints* fans would understand what pisses the rest of the league and the fans off.

  23. naturalkarma504 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:30 PM

    My favorite line in this entire article….

    ” Tagliabue possibly thinks GOODELL CAN’T HOLD THE JOCK of the man whose car, according to the new TIME article, Goodell used to drive.”

    Priceless…

  24. aklolzer says: Dec 11, 2012 10:31 PM

    Blah blah blah blah blah

  25. darryldupont says: Dec 11, 2012 10:32 PM

    Mike, you’re right on the mark. Too many others missed the point being made by Tagliabue.

  26. benh999 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:38 PM

    You show ,em, Florio. Down with management!

  27. nomoreseasontix says: Dec 11, 2012 10:40 PM

    Goodell is an asshat.
    He should ban himself from the NFL….

  28. commonsensedude says: Dec 11, 2012 10:42 PM

    Roger Goodell was the wrong choice to be the NFL commissioner.

  29. cunninglinguist69 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:42 PM

    When Tagliabue says “important example,” what he means (but doesn’t want to come right out and say) is “legal precedent.”

  30. itsunclepauley says: Dec 11, 2012 10:43 PM

    Here’s the thing about Mike Florio.

    There is nobody in the pro football media world that can write something like this…not Peter King, not Adam Schefter, not even Florio’s man crush Jay Glazer. He may never be great in front of a camera, but when it comes to disseminating information like this, nobody can touch him. It was the same thing when the lid got blown off Vick’s dog fighting ring. This is why I keep coming back to this site.

    Hat tip, Florio.

  31. kattykathy says: Dec 11, 2012 10:45 PM

    so lets get this straight.

    The Saints had a pay-for-performance system
    NOT a “bounty” system, or intent to injure system.

    No proof has still been provided by the league of ANY wrongdoing

    Tags basically said Goodell overdramatized this whole investigation, and overpunished drastically

    Tags scolded Goodell for being a power crazed control freak.

    Hmmmm. These are what I and many others have been saying since day 1 of this witch hunt.

  32. armorgan67 says: Dec 11, 2012 10:47 PM

    Its interesting how everyone is now praising Tagliabue but so many forget why he isn’t the commissioner anymore. Remember the owners hire and fire commissioners not the players or the NFLPA. When “Tags” was commissioner especially during the end of his tenure he was wildly criticized by both the owners, players and former players for going to easy on players whom ran afoul. He was basically far too nice for the owners when it came to giving out punishments to players. From Leon Little to Ray Lewis and etc. I remember just about everyone in the NFL asking for the next commissioner to be tougher on the players, to lay down the law so to speak. The players during Tagliabue’s tenure loved him because he hesitated to again lay down the law. He gave out fines but many thought fines were not enough. Has Goodell gone overboard on some things? Yes but not all things and again remember the owners don’t have a problem with what he is doing. You haven’t heard not 1 owner come out and criticize him in public for his rulings against the players. Their silence affirms he is doing a good job in their eyes and when it comes down to it their opinions are the only ones that matter when it comes to who is and isn’t the commissioner. Goodell was brought in by the owners to be a harda** commissioner and that’s what he has been since day 1.

  33. csilojohnson says: Dec 11, 2012 10:49 PM

    “In this context,confronted with the events here,Commissioner Goodell correctly set out aggressively to address them. But when an effort to change a culture rests heavily on prohibitions,and discipline and sanctions that are seen as selective,ad hoc or inconsistent,then people in all industries are prone to react negatively..”
    What a relevant statement. Wish Tags had said this to Nixon. I hope the nitwit that heads the DEA lets this soak in.

  34. chattanola says: Dec 11, 2012 10:50 PM

    If I have it right, Tagliabue is an attorney and Goodell is not and wow, can we see the difference not only in their approach to dealing with a problem, but also in the way they deal with people.

    The former commissioner is able to see fair resolutions that engender cooperation. The current commissioner seems authoritarian. It’s quite a contrast.

    You’d think Goodell would have a good consiglieri to help him navigate through his reign…or maybe he has a good right hand man and doesn’t take his advice.

  35. oneandonlyramsfaninpa says: Dec 11, 2012 11:02 PM

    his letter goes beyond just talking about this one specifiic incident! can’t u tell he is talking about how the NFL punishes defensive players for helmet hits before they had a chance to change their ways. they have played this way for so long. this letter means when u change the rules give the game time to change with it.

  36. isphet71 says: Dec 11, 2012 11:02 PM

    Tagliabue = Emperor Palpatine
    Goodell = Anakin Skywalker

  37. mrfrostyj says: Dec 11, 2012 11:02 PM

    chicagobtech says:
    Dec 11, 2012 10:00 PM
    I might agree with this blog posting more, if it weren’t for the fact that the League warned teams about bounty programs after the 2009 season. Most of 2010, all of 2011, and the first part of 2012. That would be a larger window of opportunity to shut down the bounty program and come clean than the one Rozelle gave players to get the steroids out of their system.

    ————————————————–

    The investigation on the Saints goes back to 09 so that is actually the point Tagliabue is making. If Goodell goes by the Rozelle approach, once the league office finds out about the possible bounty program (back in 09) they should have implemented league wide rules then and there and gave the teams a preset time to phase out the actions spelling out what punishments they’d receive if they didn’t cease the action. Instead the league office set out on a witch hunt and laid the hammer down as soon as they believed they could legally do it (years later). It’s not a radical concept since the government uses the same gradual enforcement system once the legality of any situation changes.

  38. kattykathy says: Dec 11, 2012 11:03 PM

    aklolzer says: Dec 11, 2012 10:31 PM

    Blah blah blah blah blah

    ********************************

    Yet you STILL continue to read the stories.
    And then you STILL take the time to make lame comments

  39. footballhistorian says: Dec 11, 2012 11:04 PM

    armorgan67 has it right. The only other thing I’d add is this – the players are all “college grads”, grown men and professionals at what they do. No doubt that the coaches who allowed and/or encouraged this should swing. But the players are not programmable robots – they went out and aggressively acted on the wrong doing. They should swing just like Payton or Vitt. Vilma should count his low-character @ss lucky that we don’t have a loser pays system for civil proceedings.

  40. habsman says: Dec 11, 2012 11:13 PM

    Maybe we should get Tagliabue to reopen the sanctions against the Patriots for taping defensive signals in front of 70,000 people. The most outlandish, over the top, knee jerk reaction by a commissioner in the history of pro sports.

  41. thejuddstir says: Dec 11, 2012 11:16 PM

    If you were to believe saints* fans , you would think Tags absolved the saints* of having a bounty system. He didn’t. His statement was/is that there is evidence of a bounty system but the punishments were too harsh considering that the players were only doing what they had to do to keep their jobs. What a pathetic excuse to brush this under the rug. Goodell might have been too harsh on his punishments but that’s better than being a puss like Tags. For those of you who are too young to remember, this was the main reason why the owners got rid of Tags when they did. Remember, it is the owners who run the league and I wouldn’t be surprised if the law firm Tags works for just lost one big-azz client.

  42. ftcsubs says: Dec 11, 2012 11:19 PM

    The saint were warned before. they continued to do, I do not see how this is not the next level. I you warnewd and believed the evedience to be credible. then you need to follow thru. none of the coaches disputed their parts. the team did not also make any claims that this to bew false. the problem is they did not have enough evedence to hold up in a court of law, which they do not have to do, because of the collective bargining agreement. I think that anyone believes that these things did not go on needs to take another drink of the coolaide. this is just setting up further disputes to be handled with a weaker commisioner. this allows everything to be dragged thru the courts when it should just be handled by the employer. I know if I did something wrongin my job I would be fired. they just have better lawyers, Just ask OJ how trhat works.

  43. kenudo says: Dec 11, 2012 11:23 PM

    Comparing Goodell and Tagliabue, it seems like a joke that Goodell is the commissioner in the first place. Could they not find a single person better suited to run the NFL?

  44. cwwgk says: Dec 11, 2012 11:35 PM

    Tagliabue certainly sent a message to Goodell in the opinion. But it might as well have been contained in a footnote.

    In contrast, the overwhelming crux of the ruling was that the Saints and its players did exactly what Goodell accused them of. It seems most troubling to the former commissioner the extent to which the team tried to obstruct the investigation.

    If Tagliabue wanted to truly send a message to Goodell he would have commented on the discipline levied on the team, Loomis, Payton and Vitt. He did not. Instead, Tagliabue reinforced that the evidence of their transgressions was more than credible.

    The Saints operated a program that paid out cash when, and only when, an opposing player was injured. When asked about the program, they lied about it.

    Case closed.

  45. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Dec 11, 2012 11:41 PM

    Former Commissioner Tagliabue references on page 8 of his “Final Decision On Appeal” that the “…undeniable fact is that OVER MANY YEARS (emphasis added) a pattern and practice of abuse of the rules seems to have developed—a culture has evolved—that has led to acceptance of pay-for-performance reward programs.” Do those “many years” include the period of 1989 to 2006 when Tagliabue was NFL Commissioner? If so, what, if anything, did Tagliabue do to reverse the evolution of that “culture?” The cultural change that Roger Goodell appears to be advocating is rather novel in that it demands increased player responsibility/accountability when the rules are abused. To his credit, Goodell is not just talking the talk; he’s walking the walk.

  46. musicman495 says: Dec 11, 2012 11:43 PM

    rascalmanny says: Dec 11, 2012 9:59 PM

    But Tagliabue also showed pretty good evidence of an intent to do game ending injury to QB’s by the Saint’s.
    ————————–
    Tagliabue: It is essential to recognize that Vilma is being most severely disciplined for “talk” or
    speech at a team meeting on the evening before the Saints-Vikings game. He is not being
    punished for his performance on the field and, indeed, none of the discipline of any player here
    relates to on-field conduct. No Saints’ player was suspended for on-field play by the League
    after the game in question.

    “If there was no hit, you must acquit.”

  47. bduncanscott says: Dec 11, 2012 11:45 PM

    Once again it’s a conflict of interest and corruption!!!! If it’s not Mara stealing cap space from division rivals it’s the NFL once again hiring someone to mediate who has too much to lose by finding against the NFL. Tagliabue would never find against Goodell cause his law firm makes too much $ from the NFL. Once again there is no honesty but just pure deception and corruption. A Great leader or even just a good person whould admit their failure or mistake show some remorse then fix the mistake and move forward with honesty and integrity. A shady corrupt politician or businessman would deny all fault which is called LYING and try and sweep things under the rug. This is the same man mind you that fines the hell out of teams and players and preaches setting a good example for the youth.

  48. hor2012 says: Dec 11, 2012 11:52 PM

    I was will to be humble to all the fans I’ve insulted during this process. I even apologized if I went over the top. But, I see now that those of you who posted anti-Saints stuff just aren’t prepared to give up the benefit of the doubt. So, I’ll try a differnt tack now. If PT and any evidence at all that the Saints were actually running a bounty program then Vilma, Smith, and Hargrove would have been thrown out on thier ears. You can say what you want. But, the issue here is simple. Did Vilma pay money to anyone to put a bounty of Farve. And, the answer to that is at the very least, Paul T isn’t sure. And, because he isn’t sure that had to end this. Now, all you fans that’s just going to blame the Saints no matter what just continue to do so. I hope your team will never have to endure what we did this year.

  49. whoisgonnasing says: Dec 12, 2012 12:01 AM

    Didnt we all know that Goodell was a pretty boy who was flying too close to the sun?

    If this brat tries to eliminate kickoffs, will Paul be around to take his keys away?

  50. omegalh says: Dec 12, 2012 12:04 AM

    Tags is making a ploy to get into the HOF by sounding smart and level-headed, whipping on the new commish who everyone is wanting to pile on. Its as simple as that.

  51. daknight93 says: Dec 12, 2012 12:11 AM

    Taglibeau is absolutely right! Goodell doesn’t understand the human nature of a football player and he sees things only from his point of view and shuts off the possibility that he could be wrong in the situation, basically being closed minded to everything and prejudging isn’t an effective method and should be a lessoned learn to Goodell, but I strongly doubt Goodell will ever change.

  52. truthfactory says: Dec 12, 2012 12:18 AM

    The NFL is being sued left and right… The reason the hammer came down was so that he can show in court that they take all player safety seriously and punish anyone who tries to intentioally hurt players.

    Dont be mad at Goodell, he’s just protecting the NFLs A$$… Blame the retired players filing all the ridiculous lawsuits. Many of these players that scoff at the punishment he levied will also be hopping on concussion lawsuits after their careers are done claiming the NFL didnt take player safety seriously

  53. silentcount says: Dec 12, 2012 12:32 AM

    Suspending the head coach for one game has never been done, let alone for a whole year. Goodell tried to justify this by blowing the whole bounty thing way up bigger than it actually was. Instead of anyone actually gettting injured, it was a few players talking tough in a pregame pep rally. Big deal. Perhaps he could have fined Sean Payton some big bucks, but to kill the chance of the Saints from having a competitive season, was punishing everyone else who had nothing to do with it. Goodell owes the Saints for the cruel and unusual punishment he bullied them with.

  54. str8cashomie2 says: Dec 12, 2012 12:49 AM

    Florio I know you like to talk like your opinion is fact judge jury and executioner but I think this is all just a money play…it always is…goodell takes a little public heat from tags to drive home the point that this was an overreaction by the league in the name of protecting player safety (lawsuits) …goodell, as the job description often calls for, just takes the heat in a contrived statement that essentially tries to drive home the idea that the league and commish will defend plate safety to the upmost, at an almost brazen rate. You don’t think there wasn’t a meeting of the minds before tagliabue put this out?

  55. fflnick says: Dec 12, 2012 1:00 AM

    Tagliabue is clearly saying the Saints leadership pushed and developed this culture. The players followed the Saints leadership as they are expected and encouraged bounties.
    He is also saying enough is enough. The standoff is hurting the league and just encourages the players to dig their cleats in further on their position. Goodell was looking for a way out of this by appointing Tagliabue.
    Tagliabue accomplished that.

  56. Wolfgang Depner says: Dec 12, 2012 1:47 AM

    This ruling plays right into the hands of the players who are suing the league for negligence. By going after the Saints, Goddell was hoping to defuse the substantative charge that the league was not serious about protecting the health of players. Now, they will be able to argue that pay-for-performance programs have existed for sometime, only that the league went about dealing with them in the wrong way. Phrased differently, the NFL failed on two counts. Not only did the league look the other way when it came to such programs, it was also inept about preventing them. In short, the NFL handed its legal opponents a substantative and procedural victory. Bad news for Goddell, bad news for the NFL.

  57. tabdanger says: Dec 12, 2012 1:48 AM

    Goodell will be fine in the long run, remember Rozell took a major hit to the chin a few times from Al Davis, most notably losing to him in court and having to hand him the Super Bowl trophy has to be a bit more humiliating

  58. christopher525 says: Dec 12, 2012 2:07 AM

    Alright, saying that there were “never warnings” is a bit much. There was an incident in 2007 involving bounties, although less related to injuries, when the league stated boynties were not allowed. That would be 5 years prior to these suspensions. Pretty sure that’s longer than Rozelle’s one year steroid rule.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/packers/2007-11-26-nfl-ruling_N.htm

  59. hauts81 says: Dec 12, 2012 2:10 AM

    Tagliabue’s storytelling is meaningless. Goodell didn’t drop the hammer right away. He told the Saints to knock it off and they didn’t.

  60. upperdecker19 says: Dec 12, 2012 2:11 AM

    Can Tags add a couple of paragraphs as to Goodell being oblivious to the fact that nearly EVERYONE hates the idea of a permanent team in London and the 18 game schedule?

  61. andyvictory says: Dec 12, 2012 2:29 AM

    Other than Saints fans (for legitimate reasons), does anyone really care about Bounty-gate anymore? To the media and the other 31 fan bases it is just an attention-seeking springboard. Let it work itself out in the legal system, and give us FOOTBALL rather than crooked business. The problem with “football culture” DOES NOT STEM FROM THE NFL, it starts in middle schools nationwide. I went to a PA powerhouse high school a looonnng time ago. Those kids were worshipped like gods from age 14 on, and many of them came out so pampered and damaged from it that they never learned how to function in a civilized manner off the field (aside from a guy who got cut by the jets, none of them came remotely close to going pro). Then we blast these same people for being scummy individuals after signing an 80 mil contract…. what do you expect!!!!. This league wouldn’t have to constantly soften itself if more of the athletes (F.O. and staff alike) had heart, admirable work ethic, and were grateful, rather than being born and bred to feel so entitled and elite.

  62. andyvictory says: Dec 12, 2012 2:36 AM

    I have infinte ammounts of respect for every true class act in the NFL, to grow up in that twisted, sometimes coddled universe and become a role model/leader takes a lot of strength and will power. Only the best of human beings are capable. Bounty-gate is obnoxious (getting back on topic)

  63. jaggedmark says: Dec 12, 2012 2:48 AM

    “Just in time for the Hall of Fame final vote, which you’re part of, eh Paul?”

  64. ilovefoolsball says: Dec 12, 2012 4:09 AM

    @thejuddstir
    ____
    your comments are always the most entertaining*.
    I hope that you can one day move out of your parent’s house so that we can see your comments from an adult’s perspective.

    Believe.

  65. manningbowl88 says: Dec 12, 2012 4:16 AM

    musicman495 says:
    Dec 11, 2012 11:43 PM

    “If there was no hit, you must acquit.”
    ______

    LOL..

    bring back taggggs!

  66. allseeingone says: Dec 12, 2012 4:25 AM

    Rozelle eased in penalties for steroid use for one reason: The owners would have went bonkers if half the players in the league were suspended. The owners and coaches were well aware that their players were supplementing. They actually encouraged them to do it.

  67. tincansailor981 says: Dec 12, 2012 4:58 AM

    Well written summary of conclusions Mr. commissioner. Did the Saints run a program that violated league policy? Yes. Was it intended to hurt anyone? Perhaps. Did anyone actually get hurt? Are you kidding? We’re talking about the Saints defense – no. We’re the punishments knee jerk, way too severe and arbitrary? Without a doubt. Will God-dell learn anything from this? Nope.

  68. drgreenstreak says: Dec 12, 2012 5:25 AM

    At least Roger got some of the jerkwad coaches.
    All this has resulted in retreating from sympathy and adoration for the Saints revival after Katrina to disdain for the rancid underworld that was the Saints coaching philosophy. They lost a lot of folks. Drew Brees sells less than half the jerseys he once did. It all stinks.

  69. drgreenstreak says: Dec 12, 2012 5:28 AM

    @ ilovefoolsball

    Put the mirror down!

  70. j0esixpack says: Dec 12, 2012 5:48 AM

    A fresh look at Spygate should also be in order.

    Belichick broke a new rule, instituted in 2006 in 2007 regarding the placement of signal filming cameras.

    Signal filming remains as common today as it was then and for 50 years before (that’s why coordinators cover their mouths folks) yet Goodell acts as if this is the crime of the century, and clueless fans believe him.

    It’s Goodell who threatens the integrity of the game by consistently using a hammer to diffuse a time bomb.

  71. hehateme2 says: Dec 12, 2012 6:55 AM

    Pats were cheaters, period. Don’t try to hijack this thread with your homerism.

  72. hor2012 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:26 AM

    thejuddstir

    If you ask anyone else besides you with one ounce of common sense they would say the PT pretty much said that this was much to do about nothing. Oh, and sense you seem to be lacking in the common sense department, I am a life long Saints fan and proud to be one. But, that’s not the reason I defending my team. The reason I’m defending them is because they were wronged. No one in their right mind is suggesting that nothing happened. But, what I am saying and will continue to say is that it was and despited this issue is probably still happening around the league.

    So, you continue to post your thoughts but I promise when the dust clears from all of this the league will be the one that is showed to be a fault here, not the Saints

  73. hor2012 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:30 AM

    rhodeislandpatriotsfan

    You of all people shouldn’t be standing on your moral highground soap box. You tape a practice of the Rams the night before the superbowl. And, it was a game you won by a FG. So, you shouldn’t post anything about someone breaking the rules

  74. bmacwillconn says: Dec 12, 2012 7:36 AM

    Goodell did warn the Saints about bounties. They ignored his directives. He punched hard due to enormity of pending lawsuit that workplace is unsafe and NFL does not protect it’s players. Goodell will gladly take the faux public rebuke from Tagliabue because it strenghtens his claim that the league aggressively protects players from unsafe working conditions.

    Rest assured Tagliabue’s report is going right into the NFL’s defense folder to be front and center as evidence of league commitment to player safety at upcoming trial.

    Well played Paul and Roger. Well played.

  75. dryzzt23 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:41 AM

    “The coach/management made me do it” defense is now en vogue with NFL players. Personal responsibility, knowing right from wrong, sports ethics, it’s all out the window now b/c players WILL lay the blame on a coach, GM, or owner from here on out.

    The players paint themselves as “victims” yet they are part of the 1% that Obama hates so much, yet he will defend them b/c they are part of a union. These same players rail against Goodell for trying to implement safety measures to protect them from injuries BUT then these same players will play the “victim” card and sue the NFL after they retire by crying “oh woe is me, I didn’t know that I could get hurt by playing pro football, oh pity me”

    I am on the side of the owners and management, WHO looks out for THEM? Nobody that’s who. Owners are the damn MINORITY!

    Go owners and good job Goodell, these players EARNED their punishment. All Tags did was ensure that the tail (players) wag the dog (the NFL).

  76. dryzzt23 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:45 AM

    Oh by the way, to clear this up: Goodell works for the OWNERS, he is not accountable to the damn players.

  77. sb44champs says: Dec 12, 2012 8:21 AM

    “Careful examination of the 22-page, single-spaced ruling generated by Tagliabue definitely confirms that Tagliabue has indeed tried to insulate Goodell from liability for defamation, if for no reason other than to insulate Tagliabue’s law firm from losing one of its most important clients.”
    ===============================
    Um, last time I checked, this constitutes a major ‘conflict of interest’ and thats why Tags will never admit that the Saints did absolutely nothing wrong!!!

  78. sb44champs says: Dec 12, 2012 8:33 AM

    Why does ‘thejuddstir’ hate the Saints so much?
    He’s either a Vikings or a Falcons fan, lol!!!

  79. godofwine330 says: Dec 12, 2012 8:39 AM

    In the words of Michael Kelso…”BURN!”

  80. aintasinner says: Dec 12, 2012 8:47 AM

    juddstir, are you calling for a bounty on Brees? What a hypocrite! You chastise Saints fans for “crying” over the bounty allegations and you essentially call for one on Brees? It would be “cool”? Say what you want about Brees but you can’t say he has ever caused injury to another player but it would be “cool” to see it happen to him? You are a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black. And if karma does exist, just maybe you get your wish only it won’t be Brees who gets injured but rather, someone you care about. Disgusting!

  81. essentialsausage says: Dec 12, 2012 9:38 AM

    Tagliabue didn’t give a damn about player safety while he was commissioner. He would have looked like a huge hypocrite had he upheld the suspensions of the Saints players. He never should have been the one to arbitrate this.

  82. dukemarc says: Dec 12, 2012 12:16 PM

    Easy for Tags to say – since he ran a league that cared little about player safety or accountability. He was a joke as disciplinarian while he was Commish – he only cared about how big the TV contracts were.

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