If football endangers its players lives, can Roger Goodell save the NFL from itself?

Updated: April 6, 2012, 4:02 PM ET
By Howard Bryant | ESPN The Magazine

BY 1989, Roger Goodell had been working for the NFL for seven years. It was a different time, when men were supposedly men and everyone winked and nudged at the Bounty Bowl that preceded Bountygate, when Buddy Ryan took out Jimmy Johnson's kicker on national TV, leading CBS to advertise the Cowboys-Eagles rematch as "Bounty Bowl II." Ryan made no secret of his disdain for Dallas. Then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue even attended the second game. Many laughed it off.

Seventeen ...

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