According to news reports and talking heads everywhere on sports tv and radio, the New Orleans Saints are being investigated for what has been deemed an “institutionalized bounty system.” Apparently defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was paying off players in an incremental system in which hands hits and knocking opposing players out of games was rewarded monetarily. This story is showing absolutely no sign of going away anytime soon and suspensions, fines, and even firings may be in the near future.
My stance on the whole thing… who cares?
I understand the issue with a coach offering to pay players for such tactics, so if Williams is made the scape goat in all of this and never coaches in the NFL again, then so be it. But for the players and even other coaches to get caught up in all of this is ridiculous. Stories involving players and bounties come up every few years and still people act like this is something surprising. They act like bounty systems and player pools for hard hits don’t happen on other teams.
News Flash: It does. This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last bounty controversy in the NFL. In other news, water is wet, the Cubs won’t win the World Series this year, and football is violent.
Let me repeat that last part… Football. Is. Violent.
Eliminating bounty systems and instituting strict penalties for such behavior isn’t going to eliminate violence from the game. I don’t understand why people are getting all up in arms about the fact that the Saints, and even other players caught up in bounty scandals, were hitting opposing players with the intent to knock them out of the game. Last I checked, the whole purpose for defensive players is to hit the guy with the ball as hard as humanly possible. It was like that in 1960 and it’s still like that in 2012. But I mean, it’s not like the NFL has ever gone out of it’s way to promote such violence.
The best part of all of this is former players are coming out and saying this isn’t that big of a deal. They stand by the fact that the intent is not necessarily to injure, cripple, maim, or do something illegal. It’s to simply hit the living snot out of the guy across from you. I agree. Even Brett Favre himself has come out and said it’s not the big deal everyone is making it out to be. Meanwile, journalists are looking at hits on Kurt Warner and Brett Favre and talking about how they can’t be looked at the same way.
Nothing about what was happening was necessarily illegal. Yes, the Saints drew flags for hitting Favre late, but none of those hits were outside of the realm of what would constitute a normal, in the middle of a play type of hit.
I’m sorry, but all of this comes back to the wussification of America. I know that sounds awful, but it’s the truth. It’s the same attitude that’s resulted in everyone getting a trophy and everyone making the team. Heaven forbid someone get hurt physically or God helps us emotionally and psychologically. How ever will one get over such problems in life!?!?!?
NFL players have been preaching for years that when they put on that helmet and walk out onto that field that they know what they’ve signed up for. They understand the risks of playing the game they love and realize there are certain risks associated. Good thing men in suits are trying to protect them and tell them what’s best for them.
The bottom line in all of this is simple. Change probably has to occur in the way NFL coaches and players go about their business. Bounties aren’t good for business, but everyone who’s either a fan of the sport or has ever played any sport should be able to understand how and why such a thing has come about. You should also be able to understand how such a system can be motivating and build camaraderie amongst players. So please, stop making this a bigger deal than it needs to be.
Otherwise, I’m putting a bounty out on you.