There's a reason Roger Goodell gets booed by NFL fans.
As he stepped up to the podium to a chorus of boos last Thursday for the 2012 NFL draft, the urge to smile was unbearable. The reason for that, of course, is his constant attempt to make examples out of those that bring a violent nature to the game of football.
This morning, after taking his precious time on the decision, Goodell finally punished the Saints for Bountygate by suspending Will Smith for four games and Jonathan Vilma for an entire season, according to nfl.com.
To be completely honest, I'm not surprised in the least by Goodell's ruling. He's been trying to make an unsafe sport safe for the past couple of years, and he's making players like James Harrison become extinct.
Vilma deserved to be suspended for reportedly offering a $10,000 bounty to knock out Brett Favre, but being suspended for a year seems severe. First and foremost, don't be naive enough to think that the Saints are the first to offer bounties, and though other teams might not use money as incentives, it's still a matter of pride.
Brian Billick even admitted that every team does some sort of incentive to get their players fired up and ready for battle. And though there's cash on the table, that incentive means little to these millionaires. No, it's all about the mean streak, the edge needed to dominate your opponent and the mentality of being the baddest force on the planet.
Football is a sport that became popular because of it's physical nature and gladiator-type mentality. It's a man's game. So this decision is not only unfair, it's hypocritical.
The big hits are what drew not only us, but our fathers and their fathers before them into this beautiful game. For crying out loud, you see the UFC rising in popularity because of it's brutal nature. People respect those that are willing to put their bodies on the line to be great.
Heck, it's what made Brett Favre so beloved, and that's the funny thing about these allegations. Pretty soon the NFL won't have any kickoffs, and if a hit gets a gasp reaction from the crowd, a flag will be thrown.
Goodell's changes to the league might look good in the eyes of the public, but to the hardcore football fans around the country, it's an utter shame.
At this point, I'm just hoping my Sunday afternoons in 10 years won't be filled with Arena Football League-type scores because the defensive side of the ball will be irrelevant.
With Goodell in charge, I wouldn't be surprised to see that future come to fruition.