It has nothing to do with power. It's about not opening a Pandora's box. Of course Goodell would have no problem coming in, flexing his muscles, and overturning a game if he wanted to. But he doesn't want to, because he's smart enough to know that overturning this game could snowball VERY quickly. I'm not saying I'm happy about it, but that's why many, like me, were saying "they can't overturn this". It just wasn't going to happen.
Not opening a Pandora's Box...you mean like unilaterally suspending a guy for an entire year without providing sufficient reasoning or evidence? Look, I'm gonna be honest, none of the reasons you gave are good enough for not doing the right thing. There is no reason to think this would snowball because it is a completely unique and unprecedented circumstance. Goodell's decision to screw an NFL team and harm his league's integrity was anything but smart, and I have infinitely less respect for him since he was apparently too cowardly to do the right thing. No excuses on this one.
I guess if by "completely unique and unprecedented" you are referring to the replacement ref situation, you do have a point there. I hadn't really thought about that angle yet. So that, if anyone ever comes back and tries to appeal a game's ending in the future, the NFL can just say, "Look, when we overturned it that one time, it was a bunch of high school refs who never should have been there to begin with. We screwed up." That's all I'm looking for. I'm sure you can appreciate what I'm going for here, though. When I talk about a "Pandora's Box", I'm referring the phenomenon where one game is overturned, and so now every time there is a controversial (to any degree) call at the end of a game, the losing team will inevitably come to the NFL and petition to have it overturned. I can tell you the NFL does NOT want to ever be in that situation, where they have to defend themselves every time that happens and try to reason with the losing team as to why their situation is different from 'that one time' when it was overturned. But you have a good point, at least the NFL would have a pretty solid case to be able to point to the fact that real refs weren't involved that 'one time'. Nevertheless, I can assure you they didn't want to have to deal with that. I can assure you this, as well - now that they DIDN'T overturn this one, probably the best case that can EVER made made that a game should be overturned, they won't have to be bothered by teams in the future. That's a solid precedent they've set (right or wrong)!And yes, the Bountygate thing WAS a Pandora's Box as well... but that's for a whole different discussion, now, isn't it? :-)