There has been a lot of talk about how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be received in New Orleans during the week of the Super Bowl.
It’s a well-known fact that Saints fans are more than a little upset with Goodell over the bounty scandal. Personally, I think a lot of fans are overlooking the fact that their team did something very wrong in running a three-year bounty program and Goodell was simply doing his job and protecting the NFL by handing out harsh punishments. But I don’t think Saints fans suddenly will see it that way, even after player suspensions were vacated in the appeals process.
Goodell is going to be the public’s top enemy during his time in New Orleans.
But Les Carpenter makes an excellent point that Saints fans and those who despise Goodell should keep in mind.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints came very close to leaving New Orleans. Team owner Tom Benson wanted to move his team to San Antonio. But former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was intent on blocking any move to keep the Saints in New Orleans for the long haul.
Who did Tagliabue put in charge of making sure the Saints didn’t leave town?
Goodell, who then was one of Tagliabue's top assistants.
The Superdome was a mess after the storm. Local officials thought it would take until 2007 to get the facility back into shape. The NFL feared that if the Saints had to spend another season in San Antonio, they’d be gone for good.
Goodell got the message across to local officials that the Superdome needed to be ready for the 2006 season. Goodell then worked hard to make sure that happened.
I still expect that even though Goodell reinstated coach Sean Payton from his suspension Tuesday, the commissioner still will get the cold shoulder from New Orleans fans whenever he makes public appearances during Super Bowl week. But maybe those fans should stop and realize that Goodell has done a lot of good things for New Orleans.