Yesterday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell specified severe punishment to officials in the New Orleans Saints organization for a policy that the team had provided bounties on defensive players if they were able to cause injuries to opposing players. The team’s head coach, Sean Payton, will be suspended for the 2012 season, the ex-defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, who was recently hired by the St. Louis Rams, is suspended indefinitely, and the General Manager of the team, Mickey Loomis, will be suspended for half of the season. As well, the team has lost its first two draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft.

Now, according to ex-NFL star and current analyst Warren Sapp, the individual who told about the payoff system to NFL officials was none other than Jeremy Shockey, who was a tight end on the team from 2008 until 2010. Sapp had told his twitter devotees that he had been told who had turned in the Saints. When a follower guessed that it was Shockey, Sapp responded “BINGO”. Shockey moved on to the Carolina Panthers after his tenure with the team, spent last year with them, and is now unconnected to any franchise. He is obviously unlikely to be picked up by another team in the face of these allegations.

Obviously, as a denizen of this region, I believe that this set of punishments was overly severe, and went after the wrong people. Tom Benson, one of the scummiest owners in all of professional sports, is left financially safe and sound. Benson, known as Umbrella Man, has long been regarded as an owner who cared little about the success of the team or the city. After Katrina, he begged to be permitted to move the franchise to either San Antonio or Los Angeles. The league didn’t permit this; instead, it forced him to remain in the Crescent City. At the time, Benson believed that his prime rationale for holding the team would be valueless. You see, NOLA has gotten the Super Bowl often in the past. As owner of the team, Benson apparently receives a number of tickets to this event whenever it is scheduled for the city, and is able to sell these at a premium price to the highest bidder. Well, Goodell could have taken this perk away from Benson for the upcoming Super Bowl, but chose not to. I wonder if this has something to do with Benson actually being one of his bosses.

So, the team will revert to its status as an also-ran. The fans will still go to the games; they’ll just regard them as an opportunity to get drunk and party (there are about 250 such opportunities every year in NOLA. And Umbrella Man will strut his stuff on the sidelines to the amusement of the other inebriated louts and the embarrassment of the players and coaches.