September 18, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is hit by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith (94) after throwing a pass during the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. Dallas defeated San Francisco 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Should Saint's Coaches And Players Be Punished For 'Bounty' Business As Usual?

Word went out this past week that Gregg Williams, while Defensive Coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, led a bounty system with his players from 2009 thru last year.  The NFL has conducted an investigation and found substantial proof that he did.  The implications apparently are huge – fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks – to start.

Jan 14, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches from the sideline during the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Saints 36-32. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Gregg Williams himself has admitted as much by apologizing for it as a prelude to his punishment.  The General Manager and Head coach of the Saints, Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton respectively, may also be fined and suspended for not doing anything about it.  All I have to say about all this is:

Are you kidding me right now!?

This is the game of TACKLE FOOTBALLInjury is understood on every play.  The Denver Broncos Offensive Line has had the reputation as dirty players for years.  The Philadelphia Eagles had bounties at least since our own Dallas Cowboys coach, Jimmy Johnson, accused them of it in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  The Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.  The Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  These teams, no, every team has had the rep and the players that have ALL admitted to this types of behavior at different times and eras.  Even so, the players supposedly targeted have said that this is the game of football and the hits they took were clean.  So why are we going to vilify the Saints?

Is it because we pay so much money to specific players, players that are probably the ones that teams most want out of the game?  Owners want to protect their investment?  Kinda makes sense.  After all, it was word that the Saints players were trying to hurt Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, two of the best and most expensive QBs at the time, that re-focused the NFL’s investigation.

Why isn’t the NFL investigating how the San Francisco 49ers players broke Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s ribs in week 2 last year.  They broke his ribs, punctured his lung, took him out of the game and when he went back in, they tried to kill him.  Not a word from the NFL.  Just aggressive D from San Fran.  Come on, they tried to take him out of the game and they hurt him in the process.  Wake up people!  This is a violent game.  The job of the Defense is to physically stop the progress of the other team.

Don’t misunderstand my position here.  I don’t want to see clear, dirty hits that  go above and beyond the play.  Like hitting out of bounds or after the whistle – leg sweeps or grasping the QB’s legs and twisting (like the Steelers Kimo von Oelhoffen clearly did – in my opinion – to the Cincinnati Bengal’s Carson Palmer in the playoffs a few years ago).  There is no place in football for that.  That being said,  let these guys play.  The players showed, as a union, that they care for eachother’s well being.  Why would they intentionally end eachother’s livelihood?  Every time someones carted off, players from both teams hold hands together and pray.

Now we have the NFL about to come down like a ton of bricks on the New Orleans Saints and former Dallas Cowboys coach Sean Payton.  They are going to be set up like sacrificial lambs to pay the the price for a ‘Bounty’ business as usual.  For the most part, just for doing their jobs.  Truth is this:  Teams like the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots pay so much money to their ‘marquis’ players that field decisions become fiscal.  And those players:  The Mannings, the Bradys, as well as the Brees, the Romos, the Rodgers are sooo important to the revenue of their respective teams, that the NFL will go to great lengths to ensure they stay upright.  I guess that means they have no choice but to punish the Saints.  NFL irony – ‘punishing’ the ‘Saints’.

Artie Cappello

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Bounty Brett Favre Cowboys Dallas Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Drew Brees Gregg Williams Kurt Warner New Orleans Saints NFL Oakland Raiders Peyton Manning Pittsburgh Steelers Sean Payton Tom Brady Tony Romo

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