Sean Payton and Roger Goodell met for over four hours on Monday afternoon in Goodell's office. Over. Four. Hours.
They talked and hashed and talked some more. In that meeting, Payton took responsibility for much of what happened in the case now, and forever, known as Bountygate.
After that four-hour-plus meeting, it was decided that Payton would be reinstated. His suspension lasted 281 days.
Thus, it's over. Bountygate is finally done.
The reinstatement of Payton by Goodell was the final move of this long, sordid case that began seemingly in the 17th century. It never seemed like it would end. It never seemed like the lawsuits and charges and counter-charges would ever stop. But they have.
We can talk about the lessons learned, but that would take days. The most important thing to emerge from this case -- whether you believe the Saints were guilty or not -- is the following.
Because of this case, there may never be bounties again.
The practice of paying for big hits or knockouts or, more specifically, the practice of turning pay-to-injure hits into a form of capitalism, will probably never happen again. No coach or player will want to risk it.
Repeat: No one will risk happening to them what happened to New Orleans. No one.
I've been asking players and coaches over the past few months if they believe paying for performance or paying for big hits is dead, and everyone says yes. Now, to some degree, of course they're going to say that. But people I trust say those types of things are done.
In the end, despite all of the crazy turns this case took, and all the damage done to many different people, something good came out of it.
Bounties of any kind, in all probability, are dead.
Originally posted by Mike Freeman on CBSSports.com