[caption id="attachment_13048" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="In this Sept. 26, 2010, file photo, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams looks on during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Williams, the former Saints defensive coordinator, apologized for running a bounty program that targeted opposing players for injuries. In a statement, he says the program was a "terrible mistake and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it." The NFL on Friday said that it had found between 22 and 27 Saints participated in the program over the last three seasons, and that players including quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre were targeted. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)"] [/caption]News of the New Orleans Saints running a bounty system from 2009 to 2011 leaking out on Friday shouldn’t come as a surprise.
NFL locker rooms are filled with reward systems used to incentivize performance and add extra motivation to play well on the field.
But what brought this issue to the level of a league investigation is the reward system was being overseen by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, not the players.
And let’s not get this twisted. The league is not performing a noble act here in the name of player safety by going after Williams and trying to rid the NFL of bounty systems that targets players with knockout hits.
The NFL is protecting its backside and the league’s renewed stance on player safety.
With the league being hit with a flurry of lawsuits from former players who claim the NFL failed to protect them from concussion issues, the league cannot afford to be exposed to more litigation.
Not to mention the image hit the NFL takes from fans when a story like breaks.
But I think former NFL player Matt Bowen, who played for Williams, says it best in his column for the Chicago Tribune.
Bowen: Some day, when my three sons grow up, I will make clear to them that this league isn't for everyone. No doubt, it can be downright disgusting living by a win-at-all-costs mentality. It's a fundamental part of the NFL's culture that isn't talked about outside of team facilities.
I'm not saying it's right. Or ethical. But the NFL isn't little league football with neighborhood dads playing head coach. This is the business of winning. If that means stepping over some line, you do it.
Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are a part of this game. It is an ugly tradition that was exposed Friday with Williams front and center from his time coaching the defense in New Orleans. But don't peg this on him alone. You will find it in plenty of NFL cities.
Win or else. That's the drill.
Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks echoes Bowen’s thoughts on the issue.
Dave Boling of The News Tribune writes that Williams’ actions were inexcusable, and his expected discipline could have an affect on the Seahawks with Williams now the defensive coordinator in St. Louis.
Dan Pompei of writing for the National Football Post offers another lukewarm evaluation of Green Bay soon-to-be free agent Matt Flynn.
ESPN’s Mike Sando has a nice graphic on showing the number of penalties from 2009 to 2011 for all teams for unnecessary roughness, facemasking, roughing the passer, personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct. The Seahawks are last on the list. But expect that to change with the way this defense plays.
Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes that the Seahawks could be interested in Miami defensive tackle Paul Soliai’s services.
Is this really Peyton Manning throwing in the video below? We’ll let you judge for yourself. If so, it looks like he’s progressed on the road of recovery from his neck fusion. Now, can he take a hit?