Goodell wins, loses
Los Angeles Times
Roger Goodell was both the biggest loser and winner in Paul Tagliabue's bounty scandal ruling. Goodell's credibility has taken a huge hit over the course of this ordeal, and having his predecessor correct him in such a public forum has to be a blow to the ego.
But Tagliabue did Goodell a huge favor too. By affirming the factual findings of the investigation, essentially siding with Goodell at every turn, Tagliabue did nothing to strengthen the legal arguments of the (formerly) suspended players, the coaches, or anyone who might continue to pursue this case.
A judge could still rule differently, but it carries weight that Tagliabue, an ostensibly impartial arbiter, finds the pay-to-injure evidence compelling.
Saints biggest losers
I'm not sure there is a biggest winner here, but there are a lot of losers.
The Saints are the biggest losers.
Their season was ruined by a decision that seems to be heavy-handed at best and downright negligent at worst.
Roger Goodell is certainly a loser here. He made a decision that cost the Saints a head coach for a season and threw their entire year into turmoil.
And the players are losers, because their reputations have been forever tarnished.
The only winner seems to be Paul Tagliabue because he was the only one that seemed to have any sense in the whole affair.
Damaging for Williams
Gregg Williams had to hate what he read from Paul Tagliabue this week. The former commissioner's ruling put the blame for the bounty scandal on the Saints coaching staff, and specifically on Williams. It could affect Williams' ability to return to the league as a coach.
The ruling also hurts Sean Payton's image, but Payton will be back coaching the Saints next season and making people forget about his involvement.
Three players came out of this smelling pretty sweet, as Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove had their suspensions lifted. But the biggest winner was Scott Fujita, the linebacker who was exonerated by Tagliabue. The ruling suggested these players were merely following orders.
City of New Orleans hurt
The biggest winner in the ruling was the NFLPA.
The victory signals a potential shift in how Commissioner Roger Goddell handles future rulings.
With every decision, Goddell grew bolder in his authority and perhaps this case was the breaking point for the NFLPA.
Bountygate became more about the players against Goddell than the pay for injury concerns. The biggest losers are the NFL and the city of New Orleans.
Sean Peyton's yearlong suspension put an end to a legit shot at having the first NFL team playing and hosting a Super Bowl.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times