I’m still not really getting the whole impact about the New Orleans Saints’ scandal dealing with bounties. There’s been an investigation into it that says former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams set up a pot where players threw in money, then got rewards for certain in-game accomplishments, such as recovering a fumble or sacking the quarterback.
Where the Saints are in trouble: There were also rewards for knocking players out of the game, allegedly. The NFL said that violates the bounty rules.
A few thoughts about the scandal:
- As a Saints fan, I’m more upset about the Saints placing its franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees. Getting a long-term deal signed with him should have been a no-brainer, and that would have let the Saints use the tag on guard Carl Nicks — a big reason Brees broke Marino’s passing record last year.
- Rewards for knocking players out of the game were like $1,000 or $1,500. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma allegedly offered $10,000 to take Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game during the 2009 NFC Championship. These guys make hundreds of thousands a week, and $10,000 is supposed to motivate them? And if they got flagged for a bad hit, they’d likely pay a penalty equalling twice that? C’mon.
- This bounty thing is not exactly cheating. The players can still get called for penalties. Remember in that NFC Championship that there was a high-low hit by Bobby McCray and Remi Ayodele on Favre that, if it had been called, would have reversed an interception and kept a drive alive. It might have altered the Saints’ Super Bowl destiny. And, again, a penalty on that play would have resulted in a five-digit fine, easily. You’re telling me that hit was fueled by a $1,000 bounty? While this may be morally worse, it’s not the level of cheating that Bill Belichick and the Patriots got busted for.
- I don’t exactly believe the NFL is concerned about player safety. If so, they’d say something to every other team in the NFL about how they’d be watching. They would also drop the idea of an 18-game season. Or have rules against ALL helmet-to-helmet collisions, not just for “defenseless receivers” or quarterbacks.
The NFL isn’t mad at the Saints for player-safety reasons. The NFL is mad because the Saints circumvented the salary cap. Allegedly.
- I am a Saints fan, which means I am a Saints apologist. I likely do not have my head in the right place on this issue. But I tend to agree with the Cajun Cannon.
- The most important thing about these bounties is what parents tell their football-playing children about this. I wrote the Globe’s editorial last week about what parents can do, and I recommend parents get hypervigilant about monitoring what their kids are asked to do by coaches.