NFL Bounties

My wife caught the story on NFL bounty hunting before I did. She asked me about it on Friday night. I had to admit my shock, but no, I’m not really surprised.

It does point out the hypocrisy in pro football on the part of active players who have yet to arrive at either an untimely death or residence in an assisted living center.

The coaches are even worse. But like the players, they’re only out for the cash rewards of competition. Good thing it doesn’t count against the salary cap, eh?

I’ve long thought Roger Goodell was a most unconvincing man as a commissioner. If he’s going to penalize players for illegal and dangerous hits, it will indeed be interesting to see what happens with the Saints scandal. Or any other team morally challenged.

Wins and losses are tallied mostly by players who run, pass, throw, and kick the ball. A tackle will net you two measly points–less than a field goal–only in select circumstances. In his mind former Saint coordinator Gregg Williams may think this is a Dorothy Hamill sport in which you get extra style points money for sending a player to a hospital. But in football, there shouldn’t be grace points for the simple competitiveness of it all. Six, three, two, and one. These are good, simple numbers. 1,500 is an obscenity.

This is what I would like to see happen:

- The New Orleans Saints should forfeit all 2012 draft picks.

- The team needs to cough up a seven or low eight-figure fine.

- As player contracts expire, the New Orleans salary cap should shrink until an additional $50 million is donated to players’ retirement. The team should be prevented from cutting players under contract until the penalty is paid.

- Gregg Williams needs a lifetime ban from the NFL. Maybe after five years, that ban could be reevaluated.

- Head coach Sean Payton should probably receive a one to two-year suspension.

I think that would send a message that needs to be sent. Those post-game smiles and glad-handing between players will still continue. But I’ll tell you: if I played on a clean team, and I found out those chumps on the coaching staff were out to get me and my teammates, I’d be heading straight to the locker room after the next game.

Pro sports is in an awful state. I still haven’t reassembled all my old sports bookmarks after the recent browser setback. I’m not inclined to go back to my daily and weekly haunts just yet, either.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to NFL Bounties

  1. Football used to be my favorite sport, but these days I’m finding it to be almost unbearable. I wonder what this current situation might do to shed light on the debate that was had recently about helmet spearing, etc. I couldn’t believe my ears when I listened to these sports commentators and some players saying that it was just part of the game. I don’t remember helmet spearing 20 years ago.

    Is it also just a coincidence that the military invests a great deal of advertising and propaganda into NFL events? That alone is making it almost unwatchable.

    I’m glad baseball season is starting. That sport has had its ups and downs, but at least putting the opponent into a vegetative state isn’t on the list of objectives.

    I like your list of penalties. There’s just one more to be added: the Saints forfeit their Super Bowl victory from the 2009 season. No winner is listed for that year.

  2. Jen says:

    I know what you mean. Hockey fan, but after this last summer, I can’t help but feel a bit sick, if a fight breaks out.

  3. David D. says:

    “The quarterback must go down and he must go down hard.”

    At least until the recent and ongoing revelations concerning the long term health issues faced by many former players, anyone who regularly watched and enjoyed American football did so in part because of the physicality, if not outright violence, involved. It really is hypocritical of so many of us to express surprise that there is a subculture in the NFL, of which bounties are only one part, that makes this physicality possible.

    Many assume that the NFL bubble will never burst. In the long term, however, I think the NFL is potentially in a tough spot and not just with respect to the Saints situation. To survive, the game must become safer even while players continue to get bigger, stronger and faster. However, a game in which qb’s can stand in the pocket and wr’s roam the middle without fear may be safer but is decidedly less interesting. To me, there already is an imbalance between offense and defense that will only continue to grow with the game starting to more and more resemble arena football or the Madden video games.

    As for sanctions, I think your suggestions, which amount to an NFL equivalent of the NCAA’s death penalty, are beyond the commissioner’s actual authority. For example, there are limits on the amount of fines that can be imposed and even on an enhanced basis these will not come close to an eight figure amount. I also imagine that the commissioner’s disinclined to cripple a franchise’s ability to compete for the foreseeable future. Finally, you leave out participating players – i.e., the individuals who financially benefitted from injuring other players – from your sanctions. I imagine this was just an oversight.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled liturgical commentary.

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