Saints the Bounty Hunters

So, the New Orleans Saints are in trouble for offering “bounties” to players. This from ESPN:

“NEW YORK — New Orleans Saints players and at least one assistant coach maintained a bounty pool of up to $50,000 the last three seasons to reward game-ending injuries inflicted on opposing players, including Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, the NFL said Friday. “Knockouts” were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.

The NFL said the pool amounts reached their height of $50,000 or more in 2009, the year the Saints won the Super Bowl.

The league said between 22 and 27 defensive players were involved in the program and that it was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, with the knowledge of coach Sean Payton.

The investigation by the league’s security department determined that an improper “pay for performance” program included “bounty” payments to players for inflicting injuries on opposing players that would result in them being removed from a game.

In some cases, the amounts pledged were both significant and directed against a specific opposing player, according to the league’s investigation. Four former Redskins players, including defensive end Phillip Daniels, told The Washington Post that Williams had a similar system while serving as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator.”

This is apparently the most morally reprehensible thing to ever happen in football. My God, they’re actually paying their players to hurt other players! By the way, that was sarcasm. This isn’t devoid of all morality. Not even close. This is an extra incentive for players to do what they are already trying to do – win. And before you get offended, stop to think about it: What in the hell kind of results do you think a player would have if they were doing everything they could to avoid hurting someone?

The National Football League has been doing everything they can to take the hurt out of football, and that’s noble. But do you honestly think the sport would be as popular as it is if they made it a completely wussified game? Hell no. People pay tickets for the hard hits and tough battles. That’s the point of the game. Sure, what the Saints did is probably a little ethically wrong. But people are reacting if this suddenly nullifies the Saints’ Superbowl win. The real question that it seems no one is asking shouldn’t be a question at all:

Were the Saints cheating? The answer is “hell no.” Therefore, don’t act that this suddenly makes their Superbowl win worthless. Every other player in the league was gunning to injure Brees and the rest of the crew, the only difference is that there was an extra incentive for the Saints to hit a little harder. This isn’t some drastic, new development in football. It’s a mentality that was always there because these are grown men running on pure adrenaline.


I guess that was a little stream-of-conscious, but it was a brief rant that’s been building for a day or so.


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