Tuesday, April 3, 2012

0 comments MMQB Review: Angry Saints Fans Can't Believe the Injustice of Ramifcations for Sean Payton's Actions

Last week Peter detailed Ex-QB Broncos move to joining the New York Jets and he also discussed the Saints bounty punishments that were seen by some as extraordinarily harsh. This week Peter discusses how the New Orleans community is rallying around Sean Payton and the Saints organization. The New Orleans residents are angry the NFL had the audacity to punish Sean Payton for the bounties that were put on some NFL players by the Saints defense. I always enjoy a good community rally around the idea there shouldn't be consequences for a person's actions. This is all going down about the way I would have expected. I sort of figured Saints fans wouldn't like any type of punishment on the organization for their wrongdoing. It's much easier to rally around a person and not have to think, "Hmm, is the punishment deserved in this situation based on the violation committed?" Mob mentality, or lack of an intelligent mentality among the mob, is fantastic.

Peter covers other draft-related issues in this MMQB as well, like apparently there are other players who have declared for the NFL Draft this year other than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. I know, I was as shocked as you are to hear this. Peter tells us a little bit about one other player not named "Luck" or "Griffin" in this draft. So by my calculations that is 3 players who have entered the 2012 NFL Draft. My favorite team picks 9th, so I'm not sure there will be any players available to be drafted at that point...if Peter's coverage of the 2012 NFL Draft is accurate of course.

Two headlines of the morning. Can't figure out which I like more,

Fortunately, MMQB is approximately 194 pages long. So there is time to fit both headlines in, as well as a little bit of whining about how difficult traveling around the United States is, with a little bit of inaccurate and annoying musings on the current state of the Red Sox.

New Orleans is getting really ticked off about the bounty sanctions on the Saints, and fans are responding with their wallets.

I'm not sure what happened is worth being ticked off about. Do Saints fans not like the harsh penalties, do Saints fans think the Saints shouldn't have been punished at all, or they just don't have much going on and feel the need to protest something? I can see how Saints fans would be angry at their favorite team, but to act as if an injustice has been done to the Saints? I don't see that.

The Eagles are winging their way to Texas to work out Ryan Tannehill today. Hmmmm.

An NFL team is working out a player they may or may not have interest in...has this ever happened before? Hmmmmmmm.

Jimmy Buffett did a concert last night on the waterfront in New Orleans. He wore a "Free Sean Payton'' T-shirt.

"In the most awkward moment of the night, Buffett then asked the audience if it wouldn't easier just to play his CD's through the loudspeaker so he could go home and count his cash, rather than forcing him to play music as the audience drunkenly attempts to pretend they aren't 60 years old and ignorant to the fact all of the good years of their life have passed them by. Buffett then referred to the audience as 'useless sheep' and started selling his licensed apparel with a 200% markup on the already 300% marked up price...naturally his apparel sold out in 20 minutes."

He dedicated his first song to his friend and Saints head coach Payton: "Sitting Here in Limbo."

Then Buffett opened up a mediocre coffee house in the New Orleans area that sold his mediocre beer inside his mediocre restaurant. He charges a cover charge of $20 for anyone to enter the coffee house...naturally it is packed every morning at 6am.

There is a town lots of New Orleans-area residents go to when they want to fish, Delacroix, La. It was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

The fact the area was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina doesn't mean the residents of that area can go around acting like idiots. So this information is irrelevant to me. If anything, the fact this area was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina should give this area more perspective on what a real tragedy looks like...and the real tragedy doesn't look like Sean Payton being suspended from coaching for a year.

Payton and the Saints were in the wrong concerning the bounty scandal. Deal with the punishment and quit crying about it. Get a community movement together for something that actually fucking matters, don't rally together so some rich white guy who doesn't even need to work over the next year can make a few more million dollars this year as the head coach of an NFL team.

As the cars got closer, the drivers could see she was selling "Free Sean Payton'' T-shirts.

He isn't incarcerated. This is lunacy. Why not rally around and spend money on causes that really matter? Why act like Sean Payton is in the right on this issue? He's not even in the right. His team collected bounties on players and that was wrong to do. All of this occurred while Sean Payton was the head coach, so he is being punished. He isn't being jailed, he is living life better than 99.5% of the New Orleans residents and you are rallying around him with shirts that say "Free Sean Payton," as if he was wrongly convicted of a crime. The idiocy of an American mob can never be understated. Only in this country can we sell "Free Person X" shirts for a person who isn't convicted or suspected of a crime.

What's funny is Peter has spent two MMQB's over the last month wishing he could make political statements in his MMQB. Here's a chance to make a statement involving sports and he reports this story without any obvious comment. Well, Peter is making a subtle comment by focusing on those who think Payton's suspension is unduly harsh in MMQB.

Outside the Superdome Sunday afternoon, about 30 locals gathered to protest NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's year-long suspension of Payton. One carried a sign reading, "Go to hell Goodell."

They are so quirky, those New Orleans people. By the way, Goodell says "you're welcome" for helping convince Tom Benson to not move away from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Benson wanted to get the hell out of New Orleans after Katrina hit and Goodell/Tagliabue convinced him not to do this. You could be an NFL-less city or cheer for the Los Angeles Saints. That look of non-gratitude means so much to Goodell.

Several wore T-shirts that read: "Quit hatin' on my boy Payton."

The world is against you. There should be no repercussions for placing bounties on and trying to intentionally injure opposing players.

The Saints had two $100,000-plus suites available for the 2012 season as of the middle of March. Within 24 hours after the league's sanctions of the Saints were announced, both suites were sold. In addition, the Saints ticket office, in the three days after the sanctions were announced, had more than 150 callers asking to buy season tickets, with most saying they were doing it to show support for the team in the wake of the league's sanctions.

It is good to see it takes a bad cause to get the community to rally around the Saints.

There's a groundswell of anger in New Orleans, from what I can tell.

Anger at....who? The Saints did the crime. The punishment was harsh, but the Saints did the crime. Why should they not be punished? Are the idiotic Saints fans saying NOTHING should be done by the NFL? Or is it Sean Payton who they thinks deserves a pass? After all, this is America, you should pretty much be able to make any decision and never have to face any repercussions of that decision.

But I know New Orleans. It's not going to go away,

Peter "knows" New Orleans. He knows the entire city.

The Super Bowl is in New Orleans this season. Remember the booing Goodell got at the NFL Draft last year? That could sound charitable compared to the reception he could hear in New Orleans during Super Bowl week.

I am sure the sound of morons booing him while greatly hurt Goodell's feelings. Speaking of feelings, I have a feeling the Saints fans would have thought differently of the bounties if their precious Saint Brees had gotten hurt by a team who placed a bounty on his angelic head. No matter though. I'd love to hear suggestions from these "Free Sean Payton" folks on what an appropriate punishment should be.

Fact is, this is the time of year -- 24 days before Round 1 -- when teams buzz from town to town to get their drafting ducks in a row. The Eagles working out Tannehill could just be Philly doing its due diligence on a good player. That's what it probably is. But with the Eagles and quarterbacks, you never know. It could be more.

It very well could. I don't know why the Eagles wouldn't sign Mike Vick to a $100 million contract and then draft his replacement less than a year later. It makes sense to me. The Eagles certainly don't have any offensive line or linebacker needs that's for sure.

More from Tannehill shortly. Now for the remnants of the NFL meetings, and looking ahead to the Kiperization of our lives over the next three-plus weeks:

"Kiperization" means "talking about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III and ignoring most of the other players in the 2012 NFL Draft."

1. If Roger Goodell is talking about changing the culture of the league, he should start with some NFL Network programming.

It's been very clear from the beginning that Peter King thinks the punishment on the Saints and Payton is excessive. He hasn't really told any stories of people who support the suspension or punishments. I feel like I need to mention this.

Number five on the list was a linebacker from the '50s, Hardy Brown, who played the prime of his career with the 49ers. A thin, 6-foot Texan, Brown perfected nailing blockers and ballcarriers in the open field with shoulder shots, knocking out more than his share in a 10-season career. Brown was shown making several brutal shots -- legal, but brutal -- and then he appeared on camera. Very matter-of-factly in the NFL Network piece (produced by NFL Films), he talked about the Rams putting a $500 bounty on him.

The segment wasn't quite glorifying the bounty aspect. But Brown told the story with a bit of a smirk, as though he was reveling in it.

How is this different from Peter King talking to Brett Favre about the bounty on his head during the 2009 NFC Championship Game? I'm not saying NFL Network shouldn't pull this segment, but Brown was the victim of the bounty, not the perpetrator of the bounty.

If I'm the Saints, I'm searching YouTube today for the Brown segment, and I'm showing it when I appeal the league's sanctions.

What exactly would this prove? Should Roger Goodell suspend a 75 year old man for putting a bounty on Hardy Brown? Goodell is aiming to CHANGE the culture of football. He has stated this quite a few times. So Goodell is already acknowledging the bounty culture is present and needs to be changed. Therefore this video would provide no supporting evidence for the Saints to get the appeal approved because it would be a part of the bounty program that Goodell is trying to change.

Wait -- I found it.

Seriously Peter, you do realize you can edit MMQB?

As usual, Peter is letting his high regard for Sean Payton get in the way of his reporting. Peter can not like the suspensions and think they are too harsh, that's his right. But, Peter is trying to give the Saints talking points on how to beat the suspension and is highlighting the opposing viewpoint without talking to anyone who thinks the punishment was just. I'm not asking it to be fair and balanced, just say you like Sean Payton and think the punishment is too harsh because you have a personal interest in the case.

But maybe Goodell could be persuaded to soften the team punishment, given two factors: Williams doesn't work there anymore

Williams left on his own accord and the reasoning didn't have anything to do with the bounty scandal. I'm not sure how three years of bounties can be mitigated by the offending coach taking a new job for reasons that don't have to do with the bounty scandal. The bounties still occurred and Payton still did nothing about them. That doesn't change when Williams moves on to coach the Rams.

I read the item Sunday on ProFootballTalk.com, saying in essence that the coaches on the staff wouldn't take kindly to an interloper who doesn't know the team, and I don't doubt it's true. But this is a unique situation in pro football history. I'd be stunned if defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the only non-sanctioned staffer who's been an NFL head coach before, didn't accept Parcells openly.

I'd be glad for the Saints to hire Bill Parcells for just one year. The Saints are in my favorite team's division and Parcells coaching the Saints doesn't concern me at all. He's 71 years old and every player would know he is a short-timer.

Parcells history interlude:

Remembering when Parcells quit, or said he was done, is always a fun thing when he seems to be taking the whistle and clipboard out of the closet to coach again. Going back in history four times:

Bill Parcells is like any other coach in that he is a liar. He consistently lies about if he will coach again and his interest in coaching. If Parcells comes close to almost coaching the Saints, this would be the 3rd NFC South team he has flirted with coaching and then eventually turned down. This lying doesn't make him a bad person, it makes him a head coach.

Noted NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell says Tannehill is a more accurate passer on the run than Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, which is something to say for a guy who played wide receiver for two-plus seasons while waiting for the quarterback job to be his in 2010.

Oh Peter, with your factually incorrect statements. Ryan Tannehill didn't wait for the quarterback job to be his in 2010. Jerrod Johnson started the year off as the starting quarterback and Tannehill got the job because after Johnson played poorly in his seven starts. So Tannehill didn't wait for the job to be his, he got the job because Johnson played badly.

7. Bill Belichick is showing Greg Schiano the ropes.

I wondered the other day, when Belichick retires, if Schiano is the kind of guy he'd recommend to be his successor as Patriots coach. You never know what the future could bring.

Do you mind if Schiano coaches a few years in Tampa Bay and proves to be a competent NFL head coach first before deciding he is Belchick's successor?

8. Stephen Ross is not backing down.

Unbelievably, Stephen Ross has his own spin for why the Dolphins have missed out on players and coaches over the last couple of years.

Ross told me he never offered his coach job to Jim Harbaugh last year

Because Harbaugh probably wouldn't have accepted the job compared to the 49ers job.

and the Dolphins didn't have the comfort level and familiarity with Peyton Manning that Denver had with him.

Which is why Manning didn't want to play in Miami.

He also said he thinks Jeff Ireland "has done a terrific job and is a great talent evaluator,''

So the owner of an NFL team is publicly supporting his General Manager? Has this ever happened before? This is clearly a sign there are no problems in the Dolphins organization even though reality hasn't always agreed with this assessment of Ireland having done a terrific job as Dolphins GM.

As one GM told me during the meetings: "Just watch it ruin Mark Sanchez. He can't take the booing as it is. With Tebow subbing for him every game and the pressure to get the ball to Santonio Holmes, Sanchez will crack.''

Personally, I am excited to watch it all fall apart. The dumbest column I have read in a while (and I can't remember where I read it) said that Ex-QB Broncosmania was over once the Broncos signed Peyton Manning. With QB Jets in New York, QB Broncosmania is just getting started.

I disagree, vehemently. I don't know if Tebow's ever going to be a starting quarterback in the league for five or six years, or for any length of time. But I do know he can be an asset to a winning team. And if Sanchez can't take the pressure, that's tough. He should play somewhere else.

So you...do agree in a way? The GM wasn't saying it wouldn't work, he was saying Sanchez would crack at the pressure. Peter also said if Sanchez can't take the pressure he should go somewhere else. So the GM is saying Sanchez will crack and Peter is saying if Sanchez cracks he should go play for a different team. It's not the same thing, but these are diametrically opposing viewpoints.

I thought Tebow was going to be used five to eight snaps a game, but listening to coach Rex Ryan in Florida, he sounds like he's open to more -- up to 20 -- with the field spread, near the goal line, on two-point conversions, and maybe even using Tebow as the personal protector on the punt team. Having a defense in alert mode for Tebow will be a benefit no matter how accurate he is. Or isn't.

But the issue is, and I know Peter isn't stupid so he has to be willfully ignoring this point, is if Sanchez cracks under the pressure of having QB Jets behind him, then the entire Jets offense will run around QB Jets' skills. THAT is the problem. Having QB Jets as the backup behind a shaky starter is essentially the Jets saying they can live with QB Jets as the starting quarterback.

On Friday night, Gruden's session with Andrew Luck was on, and he challenged Luck for making a dumb read on a throw against USC -- on Green Right Slot Spider 3 Y Banana, one of Luck's favorite plays and one that he just got greedy on. He should have checked down to the fullback, Gruden was saying, but instead threw to his right to the wideout, with the matador cornerback for USC picking it off and taking it all the way back for a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter

Luck accepted why he should be happy to take the short gains instead of the big risks that backfire. "You can't go broke taking a profit,'' Luck said to Gruden.

Thanks Matt Ryan! Why take a risk when you can check down? Why throw a pass further than five yards pass the line of scrimmage and take a risk?

I'm not for a quarterback taking risks, but making constant check downs because you are afraid to make a mistake isn't what great quarterbacks do. Great quarterbacks don't take this risk in the fourth quarter of a close game either, so if Luck wants to be great then he needs to learn the time and place to take a risk. Otherwise, the defense will let him check down all game and I'm not sure how effective the offense will be.

Then Peter editorializes again by using a quote from DeMaurice Smith protesting the flow of information from the commissioner's office about the bounty scandal. It's so abundantly clear that Peter thinks the punishment is overly harsh and I can't help but think he wouldn't feel this way if he didn't personally like Sean Payton.

"Anything short of reverence is subject to ridicule.''

-- Jerry Tipton, longtime Kentucky Wildcats beat writer, on the criticism he has endured covering the team, in a New York Times profile over the weekend.

Kentucky fans, they be so crazy!

Why the Buffalo Bills are excited, now that Mario Williams is on the team:

New season tickets sold in the first two days after Mario Williams signed this month: 1,600.

New season tickets sold in the first seven days after Drew Bledsoe was acquired in 2002: 1,273.

Let's also remember when Bledsoe was acquired in 2002 there were probably fewer new season tickets to be sold since the Bills had made the playoffs all but four years since 1988. I'm not saying this statistic means nothing, but since the Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999 I am guessing there are more new season tickets available to be sold in 2012 than there were in 2002.

Just thinking: Jack Elway worked with Oliver Luck. John Elway played for Stanford. Jack Elway coached Stanford. Andrew Luck played for Stanford. John Elway went to work for the Broncos, and as his first major act running the football operations, signed Peyton Manning in free agency after Manning was made expendable by the prospect of Indianapolis drafting Andrew Luck. That's one strange circle of life.

"It's the wheel of fortune, it's the leap of faith, it's the band of hope, til we find our place."

By the way, having random baby lions hanging around the studio while animation is being drawn is a bad idea. I don't care how cute the baby lions are.

Two hours down the road from Sanford, Fla., site of the Trayvon Martin killing that has inflamed the nation, I sat down for a relaxing exhibition game in Port St. Lucie the other day. On the scoreboard before the game was an ad, with a voiceover by the PA announcer, for a shooting range and gun shop near the stadium.

A fan (presumably a local person, though he never said) who I'd been talking with a couple of seats away noticed me listening to the ad -- with nine soundproof areas in which to practice shooting -- and said, "You're not in New York anymore, Peter.''

Yes, not every state can have gun crime like The District of Columbia. I'm pretty sure The District of Columbia is really close to Florida, as is Missouri, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Delaware...six other states that round out the Top 10 in firearm murders per 100,000 people in a state.

I think the reason Greg Cosell is so good analyzing the NFL -- whether on talk shows, TV, writing or Twitter -- is he often makes you think. As with this tweet over the weekend about the value of running backs: "No question lot of late rd/FA RB have been successful. Inarguable. Question then becomes where do you draft a RB, regardless of talent?''

In other words, is Trent Richardson at four too high? Is Richardson at 34 too high? Cosell makes you think, and that's a good thing.

If we look at the list of running backs who have been in the Top 10 of the NFL in rushing yards gained every year since 2008, it shows UDFA/late round running backs have been successful, but early round running backs have been more successful. Here are the number of running backs in the Top 10 of the NFL in rushing yards gained every year since 2008:

2011: Five 1st or 2nd round picks.
2010: Four 1st or 2nd round picks.
2009: Seven 1st or 2nd round picks.
2008: Seven 1st or 2nd round picks.

In that span, five times a 6th/7th/UDFA has been in the Top 10 in rushing yards in a season. So while Cosell makes me think, he also needs to understand a little research works wonders. If a team wants an impact running back, I think the earlier rounds are the place to find this.

c. Are you seriously telling me Danny Ainge tried to trade Rajon Rondo? What a ballplayer. Rondo being Rondo is the only way the Celtics have a chance in the playoffs. What a performance Sunday against the Heat.

Yes, Ainge tried to trade Rondo earlier in the year because he is a great player and if the Celtics were rebuilding then Rondo is the guy who get the most value back in a trade.

f. The problem with the women's game, to me, is that all four top seeds made it to the Final Four. Women's basketball needs a George Mason or Butler to happen. It's not March Madness in women's basketball. It's March Regularity.

Incorrect in my opinion. Regardless of what seeds make the women's college basketball Final Four, as long as the tournament takes place the same time as the men's tournament and it continues to feature women's basketball (which is a sport America has consistently shown is not being accepted as a preferred sport), it will not ever be as popular as the men's NCAA Tournament.

k. Beernerdness: As long as we've talked about Jimmy Buffett in this column, I raised a couple of cups of LandShark Lager while in Florida. It could have a little more taste, but it's better than Bud.

"It's better than Bud." I just pissed in a cup and drank it. My piss is better than Bud also. That doesn't say much.

Somewhere Jimmy Buffett is laughing that he just sold another bottle of his mediocre beer...Sean Payton is probably playing the bongos as Buffett laughs.