Tuesday, March 6, 2012

4 comments MMQB Review: Bounties for Everyone Edition

I have started a Fantasy Baseball league and Fantasy NCAA Tournament Bracket in Yahoo if anyone cares to join. The league ID is 76959 and password is "eckstein" for the Fantasy Baseball league and the league ID is 5876 and password is "eckstein" for the NCAA Tourney bracket. We have about three spots left in the Fantasy Baseball league and feel free to give feedback on the set up of the league if you would like.

After two weeks of Combine (Andrew Luck/Robert Griffin III) coverage, Peter King is now focused on the Saints and the bounty program they were running. This story has dominated the news with ex-Saints and defensive players generally not seeing the big deal and offensive players generally thinking the bounty program was terrible. While I have a general distaste (that's putting it mildly) for the Saints, I know they aren't the only team who runs a bounty program. They just got caught. I don't hate they got caught because the Saints aren't one of my favorite teams. I really don't like them. The positive stench of having Saint Drew Brees on the team has masked a prescription drug scandal, Saint Sean Payton running up the score on the Falcons this year and the fact I've always thought they were a little dirty. Mostly because of plays like this one. Still, I know other teams run a bounty program, they just haven't got caught.

Peter talks at length about the bounty program in MMQB and he'll talk more about this bounty program in Sports Illustrated this week. So look forward to that. You will be able to easily locate Sports Illustrated by seeing the cover, which will undoubtedly have QB Broncos or Jeremy Lin on the cover. You may be asking yourself, "but Ben how does this bounty program affect Brett Favre?" I'm glad you asked this question. Naturally in MMQB, Peter manages to bring the bounty program back around to Brett Favre, because that's just what he does. Everything in Peter's world comes back to Brett Favre. Sure there is a famine throughout the world, but how does this famine affect Brett Favre?

I found myself thinking about this scene over the weekend, with the news that the Saints of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, two years after Gleason left the team, began paying defensive players bounties to knock opponents out of games, and for making difference-making plays.

This does such a shameful disservice to Steve Gleason that I almost puke thinking about it.

It could also be the nine lattes and two trips to McDonald's before lunch that has Peter wanting to puke. I'm not going to suggest Steve Gleason had anything to do with the bounties on players and it certainly doesn't make his current situation less sad. Knowing Gleason's team intentionally put bounties on certain players and made an effort to injure a player at the exact spot where that player recently had surgery does a disservice to Steve Gleason. Football is a rough sport even without players being targeted for big hits.

"At times, players both pledged significant amounts and targeted particular players,'' the memo said. "For example, prior to a Saints playoff game in January 2010, defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 in cash to any player who knocked Favre out of the game.''

This the same Jonathan Vilma who was being protected on Twitter by George Atallah on Friday. Atallah said any person harassing Vilma over Twitter would be recorded by the NFLPA. Vilma is a big enough boy to offer $10,000 to knock players out of football games, but he needs the protection of the NFLPA from mean comments on Twitter once this allegation comes out. Words can hurt, I guess. Just leave Vilma alone! Can't he put a bounty out on a player and then not face an angry reaction from fans? I thought this was America. I thought Vilma could do whatever he wanted and never have to face any negative feedback for his actions. How unfair.

Anyone who thinks the Saints defense didn't go over the line to try to do just that wasn't watching the game -- and didn't see the three plays I reviewed over the weekend. Early in the game, Favre handed off to Percy Harvin, and after the handoff -- a handoff, mind you, a running play -- defensive lineman Bobby McCray ran at Favre and hit him flush in the chin. That brought a 15-yard unnecessary roughness flag from referee Pete Morelli and a fine from the league five days later.

In the third quarter, defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove got 15 yards for pile-driving Favre into the ground after a pass. Four plays later, Morelli missed an egregious high-low hit from McCray and tackle Remi Ayodele; maybe Morelli figured he'd just flagged Hargrove and he couldn't throw a flag every time Favre got mugged.

There is a difference in defensive players playing hard and accidentally causing injuries and defensive players intentionally trying to injure an opponent. The problem I have with pointing out every single play where an opposing player got hurt is we are judging the intent of the defender trying to make the tackle. Sure, these hits looked bad, but it is possible they were not a part of a bounty program. Of course, on the other hand they could have been a part of the bounty program. It is hard to judge intent, so it is entirely possible the Saints wanted to make Favre feel uncomfortable in the pocket and get some hits on him, regardless of a bounty on Favre's head.

In defense of the Saints, after spending three summers hearing Brett Favre stretch our patience thin with his "will he retire or won't he retire" decision I thought about putting a bounty on Favre's head. About the time Favre wanted more publicity for a decision he had already made simply to keep his name in the spotlight where he prefers it, I would have offered a bounty on Favre's head. So perhaps the Saints were just doing what 95% of NFL fans wanted to do to Favre.

Fair or unfair, whether everyone does it or not, the Saints got caught urging their players to hurt players on other teams -- and paying them through a players' slush fund to try to do it. It's beyond reprehensible. If Goodell doesn't come down very hard, just what will he come down hard on?

What would we consider to be coming down "hard?" Is this bounty scandal worth taking away draft picks? Should there be suspensions or heavy fines? Peter doesn't realize suggest much in regard to this, just says the NFL will come down "hard" on the Saints. This is a fairly unprecedented issue in the NFL, so I am not sure if an organization-wide punishment and individual punishment would be appropriate. I'm betting the NFL hits the Saints hard with fines, loss of draft picks, and suspensions. Goodell has to keep up the appearance of the NFL as a "safe" league.

He has to worry about the message he sends to other teams and make sure they scurry to stop all such off-the-books payment and bounty systems. He has to defend the league against head-trauma-related lawsuits and show that the NFL is aggressively trying to make the game safe.

The game of football is inherently unsafe. The sooner we come to terms with this fact, the happier we will all end up being.

And there's the specter (idiotic, in my opinion) of the 18-game schedule, which only has a chance if somehow the league can prove through safer equipment and maniacal attention to erasing things like bounty programs that more games won't be an overt safety risk to players.

I haven't met a person who wants the 18 game schedule any time soon. I think the only people who want the 18 game schedule are Roger Goodell and his close relatives. Other than that, a 16 game schedule seems to work for everyone else.

Vilma is going down, and I suspect other player leaders could be banned for games too. Not that they're all still Saints, but I have to wonder how the league will manage the suspension if, say, six Saints are banned for a game or more. Will Goodell stagger them?

Why the hell would Goodell stagger these suspensions? Isn't the point to deter other teams from starting bounty programs like the Saints did? Wouldn't suspending players for two games, but staggering the suspensions so as not to adversely affect the Saints (or whatever teams these players now play for) seem to go against the very reason to suspend these players? The suspensions are intended to serve as a deterrent and aren't supposed to be worked around a team's preferable schedule so as not to negatively affect their chances of winning a game.

Or will the Saints be missing half their defense for Week 1?

This is what should happen if suspensions are handed down. I see no reason why they would be staggered and the very idea of staggering suspensions goes against the idea of using the Saints as an example to deter other teams from starting (or continuing) their own bounty program.

Favre isn't that angry -- but he is glad the truth is coming out

Peter will use any excuse to get in touch with Brett Favre. Any excuse will do.

"I have to pee. I wonder what Brett Favre will think of this new development? (calls Favre 19 times until he reaches him."

I caught Favre at the end of a day planting soybeans on his ranch in southern Mississippi Friday.

Peter loves to paint Favre as a man of the land working on his ranch, getting dirt under his fingers and callouses on his hands. In reality, I can see Favre sitting on a recliner, playing Wii on one television and watching a continuous loop of highlights from his career on another television. Whenever Peter calls and asks what Favre is doing I get the feeling Favre makes up something about planting soybeans, putting up a fence, or building a spaceship to move to a world that isn't tired of hearing his name.

When I told him the extent of it, and the Vilma story, I waited for his reaction. "Hmmmm,'' he said, and paused. "That's about it.''

But we all know that isn't it. Brett Favre is a notorious liar. He is constantly saying, "That's about it" and then holding a press conference saying that isn't "it." There will be more. The rules holds true here. If Favre says, "That's all," there will always be more.

With Favre, the reaction is rarely three words long. "I'm not pissed,'' he said. "It's football. I don't think anything less of those guys. I would have loved to play with Vilma. Hell of a player. I've got a lot of respect for Gregg Williams. He's a great coach. I'm not going to make a big deal about it.

After reading these words, we now know Brett Favre will immediately make a big deal out of it.

Now, in that game there were some plays that, I don't want to say were odd, but I'd throw the ball and whack, on every play. Hand it off, whack. Over and over. Some were so blatant. I hand the ball to Percy Harvin early and got drilled right in the chin. They flagged that one at least.

It isn't a big deal, but the game was odd and it is clear Favre thought the Saints should have been flagged more often. But there's more from Favre about the Saints. Not that it is a big deal of course.

"I've always been friends with Darren Sharper, and he came in a couple times and popped me hard. I remember saying, 'What THE hell you doing, Sharp?' I felt there should have been more calls against the Saints. I thought some of their guys should have been fined more.''

So in summary...Brett Favre is not pissed, he doesn't think any less of the Saints, and he won't make a big deal out of it. Brett Favre also thinks there was something funny about the 2009 NFC Championship Game, he thinks the hits were blatant, he thinks there should been more calls against the Saints and they should have been fined more. But again, IT ISN'T A BIG DEAL. If you want, Brett can do another interview next week for Sports Illustrated about how these bounties were no big deal at all. He'll be glad to do another interview if you want. He'll do it, just ask him dammit!

We can all see that Favre's lying really didn't stop after he left the NFL. It seems he thinks these bounties are a big deal and he is still a little irritated about the 2009 NFC Championship Game.

The only thing that really pisses me off about the whole thing is we lost the game. That's the thing about that day that still bothers me. And that's the way it goes. If they wanted me to testify in court about this, they'd be calling the wrong guy.''

Not that Brett Favre will ever be called to testify about anything, but I like how Favre won't even show up if he is subpoenaed. Apparently Brett Favre doesn't consider himself to be subject to the rules of United States judicial system. There are no certain rules down where Brett lives in Mississippi. Only rules men of the land like Brett follow.

Can Peyton Manning's neck injury be traced to Gregg Williams?

What did Gregg Williams know about Hurricane Katrina before it hit New Orleans? Did he cause the levies to break?

What does Gregg Williams know, and when does he know it, about the rash of car bombings in the Middle East?

Can the Great Depression be traced back to Gregg Williams?

Abraham Lincoln's assassination? What exactly was Gregg Williams' role?

I wish we could avoid looking back at every injury caused by a Gregg Williams coached defense and link these injuries to a bounty that was on the player. Peyton Manning's neck injury very well could have been caused by the bounty on him. There may never have been a bounty on Manning. Injuries do happen in the NFL without a player getting paid $500 for a hit. So while I know it is a great story for the media to link the injuries of two Hall of Fame quarterbacks to the Saints bounty, the truth of this assertion has to be somewhat questioned.

I'm not defending the Saints or Gregg Williams, trust me, I would love to see every Saints draft pick taken away and Sean Payton get some karma thrown back on him. The whole prescription drug scandal involving Payton went away very quietly. I also believe this bounty is bad karma for having run up the score on the Falcons at home in Week 16 in order to chase personal achievements, when the Saints easily could have reached the personal achievements in Week 17 at home. I just want to avoid the hysteria of every injury caused by a Gregg Williams-led defense being blamed on a bounty program. This bounty program shouldn't be the boogeyman for every injury suffered by an NFL player.

Last fall, during an NBC telecast, Tony Dungy said Manning's current neck injury stems from that game. Manning's neck got wrenched and his helmet ripped off on a hit by two Washington defenders. We showed the highlight on our show. Manning, after being hit and crumbling to the ground awkwardly, lay there for a second, and when he rose, he stretched his neck and shook his right arm for a second, as if trying to get the feeling back in it.

Of course the head coach for the Redskins was Saint Joe Gibbs. We all know he NEVER would have approved of a bounty program because he is a saint and would never allow that to happen.

You'll be hearing a lot of Will Wilson in the next few weeks. He's Andrew Luck's agent.

I was saddened to learn Andrew Luck's agent isn't in fact Satan. So I was wrong in speculating about that in last week's TMQ. It would have made for a great story though.

Luck is Wilson's first client. Luck is also Wilson's nephew. Wilson, 44, joined the Wasserman Media Group of California as the executive vice president of football when Luck signed on with him. Luck is Wasserman's first client. Wilson, a veteran executive of several sports ventures (World League of American Football, Arena League, Major League Soccer, CART auto racing) got his agent certification within the last year and suggested to Oliver Luck, Andrew's father and the former NFL backup quarterback, that he be considered Andrew's agent.

Later in this MMQB, Peter will mention the large amount of first-time agents who have gotten into the business. He does this in a non-ironic fashion after detailing this story about Andrew Luck's agent who has never been an agent before this year and how this agent landed the executive vice president of football at a global media group immediately after signing Andrew Luck as his client. This doesn't seem to sound fishy at all to Peter. Peter seems to support the suggestion players drafted in the 3rd or 4th round don't need an agent. I guess Luck does need an agent since he is going to be the #1 overall pick. We wouldn't all those other newly certified agents to come in and use their personal connections with naive athletes in order to take advantage of them and try to advance their own careers. You know, like when a player hires a family member as his agent and then the family member-turned-agent gets a great job at a media company immediately after signing his relative as a client.

Fifty-one days 'til Christmas -- actually, the first round of the April 26 draft -- and here are my odds of who gets the big prize, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, via a trade with the Rams for the second pick in the draft:

1. Washington, 3-1. But this means GM Bruce Allen, as I suspect, will lose out on Peyton Manning because he won't bid as much guaranteed money as star-famished Miami owner Stephen Ross.

Plus, Mike Shanahan is a quarterback genius. He's a master at taking a quarterback and making him into the greatest quarterback in the history of the world...just like he did with John Elway, John Elway and John Elway.

5. (tie) Philadelphia and Kansas City, 25-1. Never eliminate Andy Reid in the quest for a quarterback. He loved RG3 when they met at the combine, as did Chiefs GM Scott Pioli.

Mike Vick can then teach Robert Griffin how to throw incomplete passes, get injured, and make excuses for why he doesn't do the work necessary off-the-field. This gets you two $100 million dollar contracts if you do all three of these things well enough.

"In a sick way, I guess it's flattering. If you had a bounty on you, you were a good player and they wanted to get rid of you.''

-- Former Washington quarterbacks Joe Theismann, to the Associated Press.

Sure, Joe. It's flattering. Just like it is flattering when a school shooter kills all the jocks while going on a shooting rampage.

"It's a good thing he targeted our son, honey. It means our son was popular!"

There is a reason no one listens to Joe Theismann and many of us are glad he isn't calling Monday Night Football anymore.

Sad to see the Steelers divest themselves of Hines Ward as a cap casualty. While we wait to see if he plays somewhere else in 2012, it's interesting to compare Ward to his two Pittsburgh predecessors who made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Each was a better deep threat than Ward. Ward blocked downfield better than either. And though they played in different eras (mostly) -- Stallworth retired in 1987, 11 years before Ward was a rookie -- it's notable that Ward caught more passes than Swann and Stallworth combined.

It is not odd. Lynn Swann should not be in the Hall of Fame compared to the statistics put up by modern receivers. I recognize it was a different game when Swann played, but if we compare Swann's statistics to every receiver up for the Hall of Fame, we are going to have a lot of receivers in the Hall of Fame. That's the issue I have with comparing Hines Ward in any way to Lynn Swann.

Lynn Swann played nine seasons, had 336 receptions, 5462 yards, and 51 touchdowns in his career. He is in the Hall of Fame.

Muhsin Muhammad had 578 receptions, 7951 yards, and 44 touchdowns during the first nine seasons of his career. He is not a Hall of Fame receiver.

So yes, it was a different time, but that's also my point. Swann should not be used as a comparison for modern receivers. For God's sake, Calvin Johnson has been in the NFL for five seasons and had more receptions and receiving yards than Lynn Swann had for his entire career.

"Dolphins' Joe Philbin, in the row behind me on flight home, spent hours reading Pat Riley's The Winner Within, taking notes on yellow pad.''

-- NFL.com's @JeffDarlington, on his plane-mate on the way home from the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last week.

Do you know what was sad about Joe Philbin spending hours reading this book? The book is only 50 pages long and he was taking notes with a crayon.

"People who tell me they're tired of reading about Peyton are same ones who said they got tired of OJ coverage -- and watched every minute''

-- @bkravitz, columnist Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star, on the apparently insatiable desire of his readers for more Peyton Manning coverage.

Great point, Bob Kravitz. I like how you used your over-generalization to prove a point that supports you shouldn't change the way you are currently writing.

1. I think I'm more convinced than ever: The Patriots, who need major help on defense, should be at the front of the pursuit pack for Mario Williams, assuming the Texans don't put the franchise tag on him.

Why? The Patriots era of domination is over. Haven't you heard? It's been all over the Interwebs. There's no future in New England.

2. I think if any of the 22 players implicated in the Saints' bounty program ever ends up in one of the burgeoning concussion or football-as-long-term-damage lawsuits 10 years from now, I hope the judge takes one look at the suit, chuckles, and says, "Are you kidding? Get out of here.''

Just don't ask Brett Favre to attend this court proceeding...because he's not fucking coming nor is he testifying. He has some televis---some corn to plant and ten houses he has to have built by the end of the week by using his own two hands.

Just remember -- in 1998, the Chargers moved up one spot, from three to two, in the first round by dealing two ones, a two, a three and a Pro Bowl running back. Ryan Leaf was talented with baggage. Griffin is talented with no baggage.

Just remember--Ryan Leaf was neck-in-neck with Peyton Manning among many draft boards and Andrew Luck is most likely the consensus #1 overall pick. So there is a difference in the perception of Manning-Leaf as compared to the perception of Griffin-Luck. Just remember this too--Leaf's baggage wasn't as apparent to everyone before he was drafted as it was after he was drafted.

7. I think the admirers for Ryan Tannehill continue to grow, despite the fact he was a part-time wide receiver at Texas A&M. This from GM John Schneider of the Seahawks: "The guy was a quarterback in high school, just a football player. First and foremost, that's what we're looking for. Especially at that position. Guys that have always been in the quarterback schools, the special camps, and all that kind of stuff -- they make me a little nervous to a certain extent.

Riiiiiiight. I love some of the shit that comes out of a GM's mouth this time of year. I can't help but think it is bullshit that guys like Andrew Luck make John Schneider nervous because he has always focused on playing quarterback his entire life, while Ryan Tannehill doesn't make him as nervous because he hasn't always focused on playing quarterback.

This guy is a real football player. He played defense.

Is this as opposed to a fake football player? Also, how is having played defense qualify a player to be a better quarterback?

You could see him last year when he stepped in, he just went out and played. He had this natural toughness about him that the players really rallied around and went on a winning streak. And he did a great job.''

I'm not a Ryan Tannenhill fan. Perhaps I should be, but I'm not. I simply don't buy that his being a wide receiver for some of his career at Texas A&M will make him a better quarterback.

8. I think that was a good hire of Bill Polian, ESPN. You'll be able to get him to talk, and about important things.

Oh good, Bill Polian will still be in our lives. Just don't put him on set with Chris Berman. Two egos of similar size would cause the ESPN set to spontaneously combust.

9. I think this comes from one agent, who is ready to retire early because of the sharkiness of the business (235 new agents are registered this year in an already-jam-packed pool: "After about the first 15 picks in the draft, the rookies don't even need agents. The slotting system for every pick eliminates the need until a player is finished with his rookie deal. Pretty soon, the smart kids are going to realize they should just pay an attorney $750 to go over the contract just as insurance. It's a myth that we're going to be able to get more money for a kid picked in the third or fourth round.''

It is a myth that you can get more money for a kid picked in the third or fourth round, but an agent's job is to negotiate other contracts (endorsements, etc) and possibly convince a team to draft his player or go from drafting a player in the 3rd round instead of the 4th round. So in regard to contracts, this guy has a point, but otherwise I think having an agent isn't a bad deal. Maybe I'm wrong. It seems this agent just doesn't like all the competition.

c. Dick Ebersol has urged me not to mention anything about politics in this presidential-election year. And so I won't. But as a college grad and father of two college graduates and a husband of a college graduate, boy, am I dying to.

And boy, am I dying to tear apart what thoughts Peter has about politics.

e. I can't believe you didn't know who Adrian Gonzalez was, Adam Schefter.

Yes, Adam Schefter how dare you not know who a Red Sox player is. In fairness, to Schefter, Peter probably didn't know who Adrian Gonzalez was until he got traded to the Red Sox. I say that because in this MMQB Peter says this about his fantasy team:

As usual, I've done no homework on the draft, and the only non-Sox thing I've read about baseball in the last couple of weeks is that Mike Stanton is now calling himself Giancarlo Stanton. I'd better get on with the serious business of draft prep.

So it is obvious Peter isn't always up on baseball matters that don't involve the Red Sox. I can't believe you don't know any other baseball news, Peter King.

g. I've seen a couple of ads for the Masters, which starts a month from today. After going last year and crossing it off my bucket list, I strongly, strongly urge any of you who've thought twice about doing it to act on it, if you can afford it.

Peter can afford to go to the Masters by the way. He makes a ridiculous amount of money you know.

i. Trading Rondo, Danny Ainge? Linsane.

So now we are making Jeremy Lin puns in reference to events that have nothing to do with Lin or the Knicks? Also, trading Rondo isn't insane because he probably has the most value and could get the Celtics the most in return.

k. I am either old or out of touch with modern sports or both, because these first two paragraphs of a USA Today story confused me: "This weekend's title bout for Strikeforce will mark the first time a major promotion leads a card using a women's division with staying power. Bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and challenger Ronda Rousey will enter the cage Saturday (10 p.m. ET, Showtime) at Nationwide Arena more than 2 years after Christiane 'Cyborg' Santos defeated Gina Carano in the main event of s Strikeforce card in August 2009. This time the women have a realistic chance of producing future headliners.''

I can't believe you don't understand anything about MMA, Peter King!

But I still have no idea what the first sentence in this story means. I guess I must be lower than the lowest common denominator the paper is trying to reach. I don't get it.

So in summary, Adam Schefter is out of touch and lacks knowledge for not knowing who Adrian Gonzalez is. Peter King just isn't trashy enough to understand anything about MMA. If Peter weren't better than you, he would understand what that sentence about MMA said.

This is the old "everyone should like and know the things I like, but if I don't know something other people know then it must be incredibly stupid and irrelevant because I have knowledge of everything that has relevance in this world" train of thought. So MMA is about the lowest common denominator, so it doesn't matter Peter knows nothing about the sport, but baseball is awesome so Adam Schefter should know who Adrian Gonzalez is.

m. Beernerdness: Don't know how good you've had it until you walk into a restaurant in Manhattan, far from Portland, Maine, and they have Allagash White on the beer menu. Heavenly.

It's better than planting soybeans on a warm spring day in Mississippi.


Justin Zeth said...

reading Joe Posnanski on the bounty issue got me thinking about it. This bounty stuff is potentially extremely, life-threateningly bad for the NFL. Because it's not a long leap from coaches and team personnel paying you to injure opposing players to someone OUTSIDE the team paying you to injure opposing players (and there's an allegation Sean Payton's agent was doing just that). From there it's an even shorter jump to some outside interest like, oh say just for instance, gambling bosses paying players to injure opposing players.

Therefore--and I cannot believe I'm saying this because Goodell playing pretend he's an Ayatollah is doing harm to the league--were I in Goodell's position I would come down extremely hard on the people involved. By which I mean banning Loomis, Payton and Williams from the league for at least five, maybe ten years, and stripping the Saints of all their 2013 draft picks. (Not 2012 because they don't have a first round pick.)

To me it's pretty obvious that this is something many, or at least some, teams do and the Saints were just the first team dumb/flagrant enough to be caught at it. So consider it their stupid tax that they get to be made an example of, an example strong enough to make everyone else decide it's not worth it.

Bengoodfella said...

Justin, I haven't even thought of it that way yet. It really wouldn't be a far leap for a person to pay $500,000 to injure a guy like Aaron Rodgers so he can make a ton of money on a game. That point of view does change how I feel about this a bit. Goodell has to make it clear bounties are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

Of course coming down hard won't stop a gambler from paying a player to injure another player, but at least there is a history of hard sanctions for a player who has committed a transgression like be part of a bounty.

It wouldn't surprise me if Gregg Williams was done for 2 years. I think your suspensions probably won't happen. They could ban Payton for life and I wouldn't care though. I just don't like him. A 5 year ban seems like something the commish wouldn't do. I could be wrong though.

It wouldn't shock me if Vilma was done for the year. The NFL suspends players for a year when they do something off the field that hurts the league and this was on the field, so it has to be a harsh suspension, right?

There's no way the Saints were the only team. They got caught, so they have to pay the heavy price.

Martin F. said...

The thing i do believe from listening to all sorts of former players is that while bounties aren't unusual, coach involvement and the almost corporate style in which the Saints staff went about this, is.

I "think" it was Rodney Harrison, never a Lady Bing candidate, who himself didn't think there was a big deal about bounties thought when it got to coaches being involved that it did then cross the line. It's one thing for it to be players tossing money in a pool and doing it sort of half assed, but when it becomes a team sponsored activity, then it becomes weird. So when one of the most notorious cheap shot artists of the last 20 years is not to sure about coach involvement, Roger needs to bring the hammer with him.

In a nod like acknowledgement to Justin, I'd go after the coaches, but crippling a team does neither the NFL, nor it's paying fans any good. Take the 2nd in 2012 and 1st in 2013 and then say a $1,000,000 fine that counts against the cap for 2013. Then suspend Williams 2 years, and Payton and the GM a full year. Guaranteed, as Peter King of all people said, every Coach and GM will walk into the locker room and say "From this point on, if any of this shit is going on, it stops RIGHT NOW. If we hear or find out about it, you are gone, instantly." When you start taking away paychecks, the message gets through loud and clear.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, it is hard for me to fully get my mind around this. On one hand, I get why the bounties are wrong and why they should be punished severely. On the other hand, I'm sort of like Rodney Harrison in that teams will have a pool of money for a big play, but it can't be a team-sponsored thing.

Either way, there is no way the NFL doesn't come down hard on the Saints. I think Williams will get a year, Payton about four games and Vilma/other players will get 6 games maximum. I'm all about fines as well. That seems somewhat fair to me, but I can see Goodell going harder.