Rather than wait for columnists to bait readers into blind Internet anger, we at SB Nation believe in setting the curve ourselves and doing so honestly. On
, we attempt to construct the most obnoxious column on earth. Today: Let's talk about New Orleans and Roger Goodell.
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- The weather is picture perfect down here, and strolling through the French Quarter Monday night, I saw a city getting ready for a celebration. The Super Bowl's in New Orleans this week, and the Big Easy is getting ready for a big party.
I guess that makes me the party pooper.
New Orleans is a fun town, sure. The food and music scene is overrated, and it feels like a third-world country most of the time, but the city knows how to celebrate.
The question is, should they really be celebrating?
After the way they've treated Roger Goodell for the past nine months, do the people of New Orleans really deserve to reap the benefits of Roger Goodell's big game?
Wait, hold that thought. Let's work backwards for a minute.
The last time the football world had its eyes on New Orleans, we were watching a city celebrate a Super Bowl. The Saints saved this city in a lot of ways. A few years later, the whole episode looks different.
The Super Bowl win may have been inspirational, but now we know that this fairy tale was bankrolled by bounty bonuses the whole time. It was like the steroids scandal in baseball all over again. Our memories were under attack, the evidence was staring us in the face, and the integrity of an entire sport was crumbling under the weight of it all. In stepped Roger Goodell.
Even though this was New Orleans, the world's favorite underdog, the NFL commissioner knew he had to draw a line in the sand and send a message to the whole world.
With Roger Goodell, it's not about nostalgia, it's about no excuses.
Goodell suspended the Saints coaches involved and singled out a handful of players with stiff punishments of their own. Then all hell broke loose. By prosecuting the people responsible, Goodell became the enemy. Somehow a story about headhunting Super Bowl winners became one big pity party for New Orleans, and the commissioner who dared punish them became something like a war criminal. It was bizarre.
In a "Who Cares?" society, I guess Roger Goodell's crime is giving a damn.
The outcry raged on all season long, and the nastiness was always loudest in NOLA. But the commissioner didn't flinch for a second. Roger Goodell knows you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, even if the fans want to skip breakfast.
The health of the game comes first.
Goodell refused comment for this article, because he's not going to distract from the football this weekend. But you know what? Roger doesn't need to say a word.
His actions speak louder than quotes ever could. What really happened with Bountygate?
Roger Goodell sacrificed his popularity for the sake of his principles.
"I don’t do things for public relations," Goodell told TIME magazine during the regular season. "I do things because they’re the right thing to do, because I love the game … If you want to do the popular thing, be a cheerleader."
Maybe we should be the cheerleaders then. Lord knows Goodell deserves it. Doing the right thing isn't always easy, and it's rarely popular. Just look at Abraham Lincoln or any other civil rights leaders through the years. Remember them when you look at scenes from New Orleans this week. Like this restaurant's front window:
Now who's facing discrimination?
Indeed, here we are in New Orleans this week, and walking around this city you see the calm before the storm. But this is the best kind of storm. The kind of storm that rains money on the whole city. The kind of storm that most cities can only dream about.
Maybe it was too late to punish New Orleans by taking away their Super Bowl, or maybe Roger Goodell was just too classy to seek justice. But we don't have to be so diplomatic: the commissioner of the NFL deserves better, and New Orleans doesn't deserve a damn thing. If they have to host the Super Bowl this year, then it should be the last time it ever happens. If Goodell has to enforce it, then so be it.
Don't smack the NFL in the face and then expect a pat on the back.
But the city's economy depends on blue ribbon events like the Super Bowl, you say?
Let them eat King Cake, I say.
If you ever start to feel bad for New Orleans, remember Roger. The man at the center. The man who's taken an avalanche of abuse this year, and the who's never once asked for any credit. He's a gatekeeper for The Shield, and if that puts him on an island, that's okay. He'll do it for the rest of us. As the Eagles once sung:
Desperado, oh you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
And freedom, oh freedom, well that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walkin' through this world all alone
It all came to me walking through the French Quarter last night. Roger is our desperado, the villain walkin' through this world all alone. A prisoner of his own principles.
As for New Orleans? Here's to hoping they dance the nights away all week.
Enjoy it while you can, NOLA.
Life in the Big Easy might get a little tougher when Roger Goodell stops the music.