By Danny Cox
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell‘s punishments in the New Orleans Saints‘ bounty scandal were overturned, and many thought that some of his power had finally been trumped. While the situation is still open and suspensions or fines may come, they will be nothing compared to what he originally wanted to do.
Goodell threw down some of the harshest punishments in NFL history, but they were not able to stay in place. The question is: did it change the opinions of some players as to how they looked at Goodell and his power?
It appeared to be so, at least in the first couple weeks of the season. Players were delivering big hits and even throwing out threats before games because they just felt as if they now had the upper hand.
Week 3 of the NFL showed that Goodell is still the commissioner of the league, and that he still will throw down the fines, suspensions, and bans when the time comes for them.
The first big punishment was laid down on safety Ryan Mundy of the Pittsburgh Steelers for his hit on Oakland Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Mundy was fined $21,000 for the hit that led to Heyward-Bey being knocked out on the field.
Sunday’s game came to a halt for over 10 minutes after the scary hit, which sent Heyward-Bey crashing to the field in a heap and being carted off. He ended up suffering a concussion and a strained neck. The good news here is that he is expected to make a full recovery.
As for Mundy, he said there was no deliberate malice in the hit he delivered and he did not intentionally lead with his helmet. The hit was frightening to watch, and it brought a hush over the crowd in Oakland. Raiders coach Dennis Allen did not believe there was any intent by Mundy to go out and injure Heyward-Bey.
“I don’t think people are trying to go out there and hurt people,” said Allen. “The safety was playing the game fast and physical. It’s a tough game to play when you’re making split-second decisions on how you play the game. It’s the unfortunate things that happen in this game but we move on from it.”
Coming up in second, but certainly not for viciousness, was Denver Broncos’ linebacker Joe Mays’ hit on Houston Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub.
For those that haven’t seen the hit, Mays came up high on Schaub and ended up literally knocking his helmet off of his head. Schaub immediately reached up and grabbed both of his ears. You see, the hit actually ripped off a piece of his left earlobe.
Goodell had a rather easy decision in what he would do with Mays, and that ended up being a one-game ban and fining the linebacker $50,000. There was no denying that a huge fine would be in place for Mays, but the one-game ban isn’t entirely shocking either.
Mays has already appealed the ruling and ban.
Roger Goodell may have watched some of his power in the NFL take a big hit when his bountygate suspensions were overturned, but that’s not to say he isn’t still a governing officer over the league’s players. It’s also just a given fact that he’s not going to let players go out there and just wail on others any way they choose.
Goodell may have abused his authority and thought his power was bigger than others did, but he still does do a good job in looking out for the health and safety of the NFL’s players.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.