New Orleans Saints fans are celebrating the return of coach Sean Payton from his suspension following last year's "bountygate" scandal.
But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will present the NFL championship trophy when the Super Bowl is played in New Orleans on Feb. 3, is getting a less-than-warm welcome in some quarters.
Some hold a grudge over the suspension of Payton and key players and coaches. Signs saying Goodell won't be served are posted at some bars and eateries. And Goodell's image adorns the dart board at one lounge.
From the Westbank to New Orleans to Slidell, Carnival officially kicked into high gear these past few days as 19 krewes rolled, celebrating everything from lions and dogs, to Wookies and Greek gods… even Mona Lisa & Moon Pies.
But, now it stops. For nine days. Because the Super Bowl is coming to town. I’d rather have Santa Claus.
The NFL is denying accusations that it covered up retractions made by key witnesses in its bounty investigation, or that Commissioner Roger Goodell has placed gag orders on Saints employees and others who could help punished players clear their names.
Lawyer Peter Ginsberg, who represents suspended Saints player Jonathan Vilma, made the accusations when punished players appeared earlier this week for an appeal hearing, a full transcript of which has been obtained by The Associated Press.