You don’t exactly need this t-shirt appearing on every street corner in New Orleans to tell you that Roger Goodell isn’t exactly the most beloved person down by the bayou. Contrary to what you might believe as an outsider, Louisiana native and co-chair of the host committee James Carville says Bountygate is just water under the bridge.
Carville, a former Bill Clinton adviser and prominent media personality, isn’t worried about the warm welcome his city is about to give Goodell, who for the whole season has basically been Public Enemy No. 1. Carville claims to be good friends with Goodell, and that New Orleans will just have to get over themselves.
“It’s going to be fine. It’s like rope-a-dope — everybody had to punch themselves out, write their stories, get it out of their systems.”
“I’ve given the commissioner a tour of the city. He knows a lot about the city. He did a lot to keep the Saints here when he was deputy commissioner.
“Certainly, if he didn’t want the Super Bowl here, we would not have it,” Carville said. “I understand everybody was frustrated. But Coach Payton’s back, Mr. (Tom) Benson has invited the commissioner to sit in his box, and we’re ready for the Super Bowl.”
I don’t think anybody’s doubting New Orleans’ ability to host a great Super Bowl. As for Saints fans just being able to get over Goodell and the Bountygate scandal, I’m not so sure. They’re a great contingent, but a passionate one, and especially with a disappointing 2012 season, won’t forgive so easily.
That having been said, New Orleans is a Super Bowl cornerstone — it’s hosting for a record 10th time — and one of the most remarkable, unique cities in the country. What Carville said about Goodell trying to maintain the NFL’s partnership with New Orleans isn’t untrue, so perhaps the citizens of New Orleans can be counted on to give him a good ol’ fashioned Cajun welcome. Like Carville says, “This is not just a city. This is a culture.” Let’s see if the culture is willing to forgive a sworn enemy.