And here we thought Paul Tagliabue was just the architect of today's soulless, humorless, self-important NFL.
Now here comes Tags unfurling a backhand to the chops of his successor, Roger Goodell, by setting aside the suspensions of the four New Orleans Saints that Roger the Hammer placed in stocks on the town square as Bountygate examples. And the Blob has to say, it's about time.
The responsibility for Bountygate has always fallen on the coaches who endorsed and drove it, not on the players who were bound by decades of tradition and cultural norm to go along with it. No more how economically empowered NFL players are, the essential hierarchy of football remains: What Coach says goes.
And so no player anywhere was going to defy any system or scheme put in place by his coaches, even one as morally bankrupt at Bountygate. Would Lombardi's players have bucked the system? Landry's? Don Shula's?
Of course not. And so the full weight of the punishment must fall on those in charge, i.e., the coaches. Holding the players so harshly accountable because they went along with it is to hold them accountable for doing what they've been taught since they were playing pee-wee football: Obey your coaches.
Good for Tags to finally recognize as much.