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Goodell audibles into winning play with Payton reinstatement

A more peaceful Super Bowl week in New Orleans may await Roger Goodell after his decision to end Sean Payton's suspension early.A more peaceful Super Bowl week in New Orleans may await Roger Goodell after his decision to end Sean Payton's suspension early.

Admit your complicit involvement in wrongdoing and make things right.

In the final analysis, that appears to be the logic applied by Roger Goodell in relation to Sean Payton, who was reinstated immediately as head coach of the New Orleans Saints Tuesday morning.

The celebrated but stained head coach of the Saints will get back to work immediately to clean the slate.

The meeting between Goodell and Payton resulted in apparent admissions from Payton to Goodell about his and his team's involvement in some aspect of a bounty program. To what degree, we may never know.

What we know now is that wrongdoing was committed and that it is time to make things right and move on.

With Super Bowl XLVII less than two weeks away, Goodell was heading into hostile territory and he knew it. Perhaps the welcome mat may still not be laid out but today's move will certainly soften the criticism and raucous reaction of irate Saints fans.

Call it good sense and good timing on Goodell's part.

Paul Tagliabue exercised sound judgment with his ruling to rescind player suspensions, to the chagrin of Goodell. The current commissioner followed suit with his wise decision today. Goodell has not always been the enemy of the state (or city) of New Orleans, as detailed in a revealing story by Les Carpenter of Yahoo Sports.

Payton will now head to Mobile to the Senior Bowl and will immediately begin scouting potential future Saints and attend to the business of hiring a replacement for Aaron Kromer as offensive line coach.

Has Payton changed his ways?

Hopefully, his aggressive, creating, brilliant coaching style and play-calling remains the same. Clearly, his approach to the rules and to the league must change. Perhaps he will be kinder, gentler with the media. Then again, that is not his persona. His aggressive, sometimes arrogant style is part of what makes him who he is--one of the very best in the business.

It is time to move on, regardless of emotions. As Joe Vitt said Tuesday in Mobile, "I can forgive but I can never forget."

Approaching the line-of-scrimmage (New Orleans), Goodell took one look at the defensive landscape and opted to call an audible. The play works for the Saints, Payton, New Orleans and Goodell. Perhaps he will rest easier in New Orleans next week, as will Payton, Tom Benson, Mickey Loomis and all Saints fans.


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