Have you ever smashed a bug so ruthlessly that you left it there so all the other bugs could see what happens to bugs when they get out of line? That's pretty much what Roger Goodell did to the New Orleans Saints for participating in a bounty program.
In the old days the saying around the NFL was "the quarterback must go down and he must go down hard." In 2012 the saying around the NFL is "If the quarterback goes down he better be able to get up and play next week." As the NFL has become more and more lucrative the emphasis on protecting its star players has been paramount. There have been rule changes, adjusted practices, and equipment modifications to ensure player safety. In other words no one is going to hurt the golden goose.
I used to think David Stern was the biggest tyrant in professional sports, but Roger Goodell has surpassed him by leaps and bounds. Roger Goodell went Kaiser Souza on the New Orleans Saints. He took their coach away for an entire season (along with his $7,500,000 salary), took their 2nd round draft pick for two years, fined the organization a half a mil, suspended the GM for half the season and told defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (the ring leader of the bounty program) he wasn't sure if he could ever come back to the NFL. All this and he still hasn't got around to disciplining the players for their participation in this whole thing. I'm surprised he still allows oxygen to flow freely through the team facility.
The commisioner would have you believe the New Orleans Saints were maliciously and intentionally trying to hurt other players and ruin their careers. The reality is coaches were just giving out little bonuses for big plays. Other teams had bounty programs, they were just more discreet about it. I can promise you this, that old school menality is gone forever. Roger Goddell made sure of that by coming down on the Saints with great vengeance and furious anger. Next rule change? Quarterbacks wear flags and receivers are down after being touched with two hands. That's where the league is headed.