Goodell “disappointed” Tagliabue did not hold Saints accountable

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell worked for Paul Tagliabue, has always expressed admiration for Tagliabue, and believed Tagliabue was the right man to determine the player discipline in the Saints bounty case. But after Tagliabue overruled Goodell and decided that no Saints players would be suspended, Goodell is disappointed in Tagliabue.

“I was disappointed he could find conduct detrimental and there is no discipline, that he could excuse that type of accountability as a coach’s responsibility,” Goodell said of Tagliabue in an interview with the New York Times. “I don’t share that perspective. This isn’t a new policy. The bounty rule has been in place for decades. It’s a core part of our rules.”

From the beginning, Goodell has made holding people accountable a staple of his term as commissioner. And Goodell has been much harsher with player discipline than Tagliabue ever was. Goodell says he stands by that approach.

“What you’re doing is you’re enforcing the rules,” Goodell said. “What is clear is there were violations of the bounty rules. That’s not just my opinion and our facts. It’s been supported by everyone who has looked at it, including Commissioner Tagliabue. That doesn’t belong in the game of football. And that’s something we’ve made very clear. We didn’t look for this. But when it occurs, you’ve got to deal with it and make sure there is no misunderstanding that everybody is accountable.”

With the specific case of the bounty program, Tagliabue got the last word. But it’s clear from Goodell’s comments that he doesn’t plan on changing his iron-fisted ways in future cases of player discipline.

61 responses to “Goodell “disappointed” Tagliabue did not hold Saints accountable

  1. Yeah, me too. But I’m not surprised.

    Tagliabue essentially acknowledged the NFL’s findings were accurate, but he still let them off the hook.

    Paul saw a way to get back in the news in a positive way and curry some favor with the players and fans Nothing more.

  2. I agree with goodell. Players do need to be accountable especially for evil intent to injure someone. The risk of football is great why put in more potential risk just to be a ciminal. Only one team wins a ring and as a fan i want to see the best competition and pay money for the best competion. Bounties are unnecessary in the game of football or in any profession in our world.

  3. “From the beginning, Goodell has made holding people accountable a staple of his term as commissioner. And Goodell has been much harsher with player discipline than Tagliabue ever was. Goodell says he stands by that approach.”

    Rightfully so, and if anything he still hasn’t been harsh enough – at least on certain issues, like drunk driving.

    Way before the most recent drunk driving tragedy I was calling on the NFL to crack down on DUIs. That’s where they’ve failed big time.

  4. When are the owners gonna wise up & can this turkey? Every time he opens his yapper he makes the League look bad.

  5. Why is Goodell still talking about this? Oh yea, it’s because he’s like a spoiled child used to getting his way. A power hungry freak who wants to show the world he’s more macho than the NFL players. What a tool!

  6. Fans everywhere that can think for themselves, and are not easily manipulated, are disappointed in Roger’s false allegations and baseless sham investigation.

    Roger Goodell tarnished the image of the league badly. His lies and exagerrated “evidence” would never hold up in front of an unbiased, reasonable person.
    I think the whole sports world is “disappointed” in how two-faced, and classless the league has become since Roger took over as commissioner.

    Roger is also going to be very disappointed when the complete transcripts of all testimony is revealed and it proves that he no reason to target the Saints and Vilma, and when it proves he made up “evidence”, lied, and defamed innocent people.

    Judge Berrigan is going to make him very, VERY “disappointed” also

  7. Oh, shut it up, Roger Goodell. Would somebody please tell this clown that the more he talks, the more he reminds most NFL fans why we dislike him so much! Sometimes, the best strategy is just to shut up, stop talking, declare victory and move on.

  8. Goodell’s “iron fisted” ways only come into play if the players do something that warrants discipline. It’s clear the assertion that “they did nothing wrong” is false. They did do something wrong. The only issue is whether they should be held accountable. I side with Goodell on that one. Maybe the punishment was a bit harsh but that is better than no punishment at all. I like Tags but he has never held players accountable and his ruling in this cass is no different. Players will keep violating the rules until they are held accountable. Blame the players for the actions rather than excuse it and invite further infractions.

  9. Poor Roger. He can’t find anyone to support him in his pet crusade.

    Goodell is bound and determined to create an instant legacy for himself and leave his mark on the game by whatever means necessary.

  10. nolajoe says:
    Dec 24, 2012 9:24 AM
    Why is Goodell still talking about this? Oh yea, it’s because he’s like a spoiled child used to getting his way. A power hungry freak who wants to show the world he’s more macho than the NFL players. What a tool!

    Saints cheated, Goodell went overboard. Tags bailed them out. Goodell hoped Tags went with him because he’s a suit as well.

    Let it go already.

  11. I’m disappointed that Goodell wanted to make a statement so bad that he affected the competitive integrity of the league this year.

  12. Goodell loves to flap his gums about “protecting the shield” and people being held accountable, at what point does he hold himself accountable and realise that the #1 person tarnishing the shield is himself.

    His heart might be in the right place and teams/players might need punishing BUT his ego gets in the way and he goes overboard trying to feed it, he’s made himself one of the more famous names in the league and that simply shouldn’t be. It doesn’t help that the punishments handed out seem to change depending on how he feels at that moment in time.
    Remember when Dallas QB coach Wade Wilson took steroids to improve his quality of life (diabetes) and was suspended 5 games for PED, like the steroids would enhance his performance as a coach BUT then Sean Payton steals & takes Vicodin with not so much as a fine from Goodell.

  13. Goodell “disappointed” Tagliabue did not hold Saints accountable = Mr. Burns is mad at Smithers

  14. The reason that there was no history of suspensions for conduct such as the saints is because Tags was commissioner and he didn’t suspend anyone for anything ever if he had a choice.

    Him throwing historical punishments back on this was him affirming his own decisions which was highly selfserving on Tags part but it should have been expected by Goodell.

    Anyone thinking Vilma is going to win anything in court is dreaming.

  15. Should have known better than to get Tagliabue involved. Worst commissioner ever. Jerry Jones had to drag him and most of the rest of the NFL kicking and screaming on board with modern marketing strategies. Retroactively voiding Deion Sanders’ original Cowboys contract after a hush-hush backdoor deal with Gene Upshaw reminds one of the current sham of the Cowboys and Redskins being officially sanctioned for not unofficially and illegally colluding with the rest of the NFL to limit the earning ability of NFL players.

  16. So is a lot of fans of playes the leaguee has suspended and fined over and over. The darlings of the South got caught, they knew it and the league blew it how the addressed the bounty.

  17. What doesn’t this commissioner get about reality. THERE WAS NO BOUNTY program – EVER! His own predecessor couldn’t find credible proof of such a thing.

    Now lets see what he does to the Raiders (suspension of coaches & players, removal of draft pics, levying of huge fines, etc.) for their open admission that they were targeting Cam Newton for injury in order to, “take him out”.

    The man’s gotta go.

  18. It defies logic that people can purport to have read Tagliabue’s opinion (or at least summaries of it) and then claim it served to rebuke Goodell’s original findings and allegations. It did not. To the absolute contrary, Tagliabue received substantial evidence from all parties and ruled the evidence supported ALL of Goodell’s claims.

    In regards to three of the four players, the ONLY difference between Tagliabue and Goodell was who should have been punished. Both agreed that the organization and its coaches operated the bounty program and participated in an “unprecedented” cover up. Both agreed the organization and coaches deserved severe repercussions for their actions. Goodell believed the involved players should also be punished for their participation. Tagliabue apparently felt that Vilma, Smith and Hargrove didn’t have the capabilities to stand up to their coaches so they were spared his wrath.

    The whole point to this article is that, in light of Tagliabue agreeing that the Saints operated a bounty program, Goodell is surprised Tagliabue chose to vacate the punishment of the three players. That’s it.

    And for those commenters (see KathyKathy) who can “think for themselves” and believe Judge Berrigan is going to teach Goodell a lesson, you may want to actually read about the laws governing the tort of defamation of character. Based on your comments, you haven’t the slightest clue about the issues involved or the fact that Vilma’s case has utterly no merit.

  19. If you have a rule for decades that has been disregarded for decades and you suddenly decide to enforce that rule with over the top penalties, there’s going to be resistance. If you are seen to be reacting to the threat of law suites rather than the health and safety of players, there’s cynicism. When the violators are called to account for their Crimes Against Football and the evidence is shaky, there’s outrage. R. Goodell should remember,” Only the Lord should wield a terrible swift sword”.

  20. Goodell is power hungry.

    The “findings” are very self serving to the NFL and anyone who thinks otherwise is an incompetent fool who should be stripped of their driver’s license so they don’t hurt anyone.

    Also don’t operate heavy machinery or use anything with a sharp object if you agree with Goodell or if you do, just don’t do it around anyone else so at least natural selection can take it’s course.

  21. So Tags agreed there was a bounty program and did not uphold any punishment for the players. I’m shocked after all this is the same man who let an accomplice to murder continue to play.

  22. This clown still doesn’t get it. He’s unfit for the position. There was no bounty. It was cash instead of helmet stickers for big plays, including big hits. It was exactly what was going on in every NFL locker room. The Saints were caught and a stiff fine would have done the trick. Goodell damaged a franchise and I would argue the league.

  23. Goodell and Donald Trump have a lot in common. The whole world can tell them they are wrong, but ego won’t allow either to admit mistakes.

  24. Godell is blind as a bat! Stevie Wonder can see this entire bounty drama was a scam, Saints had in place a pay for performance which is a salary cap violation and not a bounty system..a huge fine was all that was warranted, The patriots in spygate just received a fine, but no suspensions..Godell lost and Tags cleaned up his mess and made the correct call, Goodell needs to shut up and move on.

  25. Tagliabue did what he should have done.. Preserve some respect in the NFL and pull the plug on that mess Goodell made.
    Goodell’s gotta go NOW!! before he start another big mess

  26. Anyone that thinks Tags ruling for Goodell was dome without bias haven’t been following this case. Tags is counsel to the same law firm representing Goodell against Vilma’s deformation lawsuit. Short of Goodell planting evidence himself Tags was not going to rule against him. But I say actions speak louder than words and the lifting of all suspensions even the year long suspension for Vilma says a lot more about how Tags actually felt.

  27. Tagliabue was kinda like Dennis Green: the Saints were who they thought they were, but they let ’em off the hook…


  28. @kattykathy says:Dec 24, 2012 12:05 PM


    By a ratio of near 3-1. People soundly disagree with you and think you are a puppet

    By a ratio of Saints fans maybe you idiot. The only puppets on this site are the Saints fans.

    Merry Christmas

  29. Let’s assess the situation to this point. We got a league that sold snot-bubbling, bell-ringing, bone-crunching, helmet-in-the-air violence for DECADES. Players complied with gusto; in fact, Reggie White had a bounty program with the Packers in ’96 when they won the Super Bowl. What’s different now? One word: LAWYERS. The league saw that they’re getting besieged with lawsuits from guys who willfully bought into a mentality of – wait for it – HURTING ONE ANOTHER and now can’t function normally as a result. Goodell overreacted egregiously. Blew up an entire franchise for a year, maybe longer. Tags understands the mentality of players better than Goodell ever will. It’s like training a pit bull to attack, and then putting it to sleep when it attacks. Not what a reasonable person would consider a viable business model.

  30. Goodell wants to blame somebody,he should blame the man in the mirror! he screwed this up,nobody else did!

  31. …and I’m disappointed in Roger Goodell. I think he’s been the worst commissioner in the history of the NFL. He’s bad for the game and he should be dumped by the owners.

  32. kattykathy says: Dec 24, 2012 12:05 PM


    By a ratio of near 3-1. People soundly disagree with you and think you are a puppet


    I am guessing by a ratio of 3-1, people haven’t actually read the decision and what Tagliabue actually says in it.

    Just because everyone think Tagliabue said “Yeah, there was no bounty” doesn’t mean that he said that. In fact, his decision says otherwise.

  33. And I’m disappointed that Goodell basically trashed the Saints reputation and 2012 season over locker room trash talk before one game three years ago.

    Yes, the Saints had a pay for performance system that rewarded good plays and penalized bad ones, and they also engaged in locker room hyperbole. However, from 2009-2011 the Saints were one of the least penalized teams in the league and caused the 2nd least amount of injuries to opposing players over that time. That alone is pretty strong exculpatory evidence.

    Goodell’s failure, and the reason that Tagliabue didn’t feel there was justification for even fines, much less suspensions, was that the product on the field didn’t match what Goodell accused the team of.

  34. This is getting so bad for Goodell that his masters, Mara and Kraft, may have to pull the plug on him. Goodell’s only hope may be to pull a David Stern and try to arrange a championship game between their respective franchises again.

  35. @cwwgk
    I think you need to look further into this yourself.
    Tagliabue was not doing a from the ground up re-investigation. He was taking the findings that the investigators found in the original investigation and brought in witnesses for the players case. Nothing else.
    For him to say “i find they are guilty” is the same as me saying they are innocent. Neither of us did an investigation.
    I find it also very curious that the first appeals hearing transcript was immediately released to the media because they thought it was a slam dunk, though it was far from it.
    Now we get mysteriously leaked portions of the transcript that would suggests Vitt is guilty of knowing/continuing a “bounty” program without context or complete examination.
    I have been having to suffer through this all season and for someone to still say they believe the saints are guilty of intentionally trying to injure should buy these beans I have. They’re magic.

  36. One has to appreciate the “We didnt look for this..” quote.. The NFL only investigated, interrogated, went after the one man backed in a corner, Hargrove, and then blasted the Saints on every media outlet prior to having ALL the facts.. BUT, according to Goodell, they didnt look for this.. When will people wake up and see this guy is a FRAUD!!

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