Mutiny Over The Bounty

The NFL has a problem on its hands and it is going to be very interesting to see how this ends. I for one am not shocked that the Saints instituted a series of bounties to reward defensive players who knocked opponents out of games. Instead, I am left to wonder how many other teams did the same thing?

Football is all about violence.  Two practice drills come to mind. At my school they were known as “The Ring” and “Head to Head”  In “The Ring” a player stands in the middle of a circle of his teammates.  The coach takes turns calling out the numbers of those teammates who then run full speed at the player in the middle and try and knock him on his ass.  The player has to quickly figure out where the rusher is coming from or he gets destroyed. In “Head to Head” two players lie on their back with their helmets touching.  A coach stands over them and drops a ball into one of their hands.  That player gets up and tries to run, the other player tries to tackle him.  These are extremely violent and brutal drills, but they also capture the essence of the sport- football is a series of violent collisions happening all over the field 100’s of times in a game.

Now, I don’t offer those stories as justification for what has reportedly happened in New Orleans.  Paying someone to hurt another person is disgusting and perhaps this is the lone example of it, but I don’t think it is. I’m not saying everybody did it, but I would bet we will hear of quite a few teams that did when the NFL starts to investigate and they will have plenty to investigate. A football team has 53 players on the roster, plus 8 players on the practice squad. During the season, players get hurt and a team signs new players.  Conservatively, you probably had at least 65 players per team in the NFL last year.  That’s over 2,000 players in 2011 and if you assume half of them played defense, you have over 1,000 players who may have been part of a bounty scheme.

I don’t think most players are going to willingly admit to this, but some of them might. While we have no idea who tipped the league off to the New Orleans situation, let me offer up a guess.  Someone who got cut from the Saints roster, losing his livelihood saw a chance to extract some payback from the organization. Considering that fact that football contracts are not guaranteed, do you think there might be some other willing witnesses out there? How about a player who is on the Saints now, but played for another team in the past where this went on.  Think he will be willing to talk if New Orleans gets heavily penalized here?

I don’t think I am writing anything that hasn’t occurred to the NFL. I imagine the execs in the NFL offices are praying that this isn’t the case, but also preparing for the chance that it might be. This isn’t quite the Black Sox Scandal, but it has the potential to be close in terms of its reach. The NFL better buckle up, the next few weeks could be rough ones.

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Comments

  • blmeanie  On March 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    It is entirely a league issue, especially with all the migraines and long term health issues they are trying to say don’t exist. The average fan applauds the bounty system as long as their team is the defensive team.

    There could be lawsuits stemming from this:

    – player A was cut by the team employing bounty techniques, possibly because he refused

    – player B was injured by hit from team with bounty

    Nice touch on the title of the post

  • blmeanie  On March 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    espn just posted an article calling for the heads of Payton and the gm…

    • nysportsfanatic  On March 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Interesting take. If I am the owner and the story is true that the GM completely ignored me then I absolutely fire him. I’m not so sure about firing the coach though because the evidence appears to be that he only turned a blind eye to it.

      The problem of course is that firing your GM right before free agency and the draft and firing or suspending your coach puts you in a huge hole in terms of getting ready for 2012. If I was the owner and I felt that all the other teams were doing this, I am not sure I would want to pay that price.

  • blmeanie  On March 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    owner now backing both…looks like a fine is coming, loss of draft picks

    • nysportsfanatic  On March 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      I’m surprised he backed the GM, I wonder why? I bet you can add some suspensions to the penalties handed out as well.

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