In the latest chapter of what has become the longest-running story in NFL history, commissioner Roger Goodell now holds the ultimate trump card. The public statement coming out of his office Tuesday was that he had adjusted two penalties in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal and upheld two other suspensions. The real story is how Goodell scored the most important evidence he could ever hope to gain in this case. The Saints players gave him their words. The commissioner took care of the rest.
That should be the one thing we all focus on when looking at this matter today. If it's true -- and at this point, everything is debatable in this case -- three of the four players accused of wrongdoing in this scandal basically incriminated themselves when meeting with league officials during their appeals process in September. They used words like "cart-offs," phrases like "crank up the John Deere tractor" and confirmed that the Saints were pooling money that could be used as rewards for injury-causing hits. In other words, they apparently gave Goodell mostly everything he'd been looking for in this investigation.