Roger that, Mr. Goodell

By Jimmy Johnson

The game of football cannot be altered.

It features grown men using their bodies as human wrecking balls. Year after year, the players get stronger, faster and the overall pace of the game increases.

Within the past month, the NFL took an ugly turn with the recent developments regarding the New Orleans Saints.

Bounty hunting.

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams offered his players rewards for taking out opposing players.

Williams didn’t reward them for getting a sack, or correctly plugging the right gaps or housing an interception for a touchdown.

Instead, according to the NFL, Williams bounty scheme, “involved 22 to 27 defensive players; targeted opponents included quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. “Knockouts” were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.”

It’s sickening when you think about it. Imaginary dollar signs on players. You hit them “hard,” you get money in the bank.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t want to send a message just to the Saints by suspending head coach Sean Payton: He wanted it to echo across the entire NFL.

There isn’t the “I didn’t know what was going on” excuse anymore, one that the Saints are being accused of using.

Goodell’s one-year suspension of Payton was the right one.

Was it harsh? No. Goodell could have slammed his football gavel even harder and banned Payton from the league, but that decision should go to Williams, who is for now suspended indefinitely.

Goodell has been ridiculed for being too harsh as a commissioner. I’ll admit, I’m one of those people who hasn’t agreed with some of his decisions, but this was the right one.

Football is a brutal sport, but way the Saints were playing defense wasn’t brutal: it was sadistic and wrong.