At the Parkview Tavern in Mid-City, Saints fans were glad to hear Tuesday that Sean Payton was cleared by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to return to the team.
“I think it’s wonderful,” one woman said while sipping what might have been a celebratory beer.
Originally Payton’s return wasn’t to come until after the Super Bowl. Tuesday’s decision moved-up the schedule by almost two weeks.
Other fans at Parkview were similarly glad to hear Payton would return early, but the two weeks difference really didn’t make too much of an impression on them. Keep in mind, Parkview Tavern keeps a photo of Goodell stuck to a dartboard.
“Our season is over,” one fan said.
Payton released a written statement on his return to the team. “I am thankful today Commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement,” it reads in part.
Team owner Tom Benson responded similarly with, “We are all thankful that Sean Payton has been reinstated.”
But some Saints fans wonder if Goodell’s decision is more about himself than Payton. Goodell after all is coming to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. Nobody would be surprised if Saints fans who might cross his path express their disappointment over the bounty investigation. So perhaps the commissioner thought fans would be nicer if Payton was free to rejoin the team.
At the Creole Creamery, Goodell is sure to get a cold shoulder. The business has two locations. Both have photos of Goodell on the wall with various marks made to add unflattering features. Below the photo, a message reads, “Do not serve this man.”
Serving up the ice cream, one Saints fan commented on any notion that Goodell is trying to make nice with fans before his visit.
“Oh, they’re going to see right through it. I don’t think that’s an issue at all,” he said.