At first I thought that the the bountygate scandal was the work of Goodell's deranged mind. I thought he was damaged as a child when RFK was assassinated and his father took RFK's senate seat. Somehow Goodell's young mind concieved that as Sirhan Sirhan providing food for his family. It was a delusion that made Sirhan Sirhan a childhood hero and made NFL star Rosy Grier, who corraled him, the enemy. As his father became a longtime senator, Roger was promoted through the NFL league office to appease congress. Finally, Goodell's pent up resentment toward Grier manifest itself with the Bounty scandal.
That theory was all fine and good, but nearly a year into this thing with a defamation case pending, concussion lawsuits jumping from 3 plaintiffs to 3000 and the league office having lost billions in the lockout due to Rogers illegal TV deal, it doesn't explain why the owners haven't fired him. Even Saints owner Tom Benson has been conspicuous by his silence. Why is this?
The only real explanation is that Goodell hasn't initiated any of this. The lockout, TV deal and bountygate were all concieved of by the owners, and Goodell is just a high-priced fall guy - someone to deflect the blame from the owners. To believe otherwise you would have to believe the owners would stand idly by while Goodell has cost them billions of dollars. These are the owners mistakes, not the commissioner's.
In many ways, this whole mess started when Dave Duerson committed suicide two years ago. Understand that when former players asked for fair treatment back then, Goodell's stance was "show me" your hurt. Since players would have to produce their brain to prove the damages, it looked like a good strategy for the league. Then Duerson's suicide came, and the preferred method for players following suit became a gunshot to the chest. The players were, indeed, showing him.
This bounty thing was developed by the owners to shift the blame for the injuries to the players themselves. The whole scheme would work with any team, it didn't have to be the Saints. How did it end up that way? I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Tom Benson simply drew the short straw. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the former Jacksonville owner drew it on the first go round, threw it away and stormed out of the meeting yelling. "I'm selling." In contrast, Benson's reaction would have been much more cooperative, "Whee-doggie, them southerners ain't gonna like this down in the South!" Heck, It wouldn't cost Tom any money. He just takes his share from the middle of the table, anyway.
No, the sorry state of the league isn't Goodell's fault. No single man, no matter how twisted, could do this much damage. I think the owners had plenty of time in the past decades to evaluate Goodell. His psychosis simply made him the ideal man for the job.