Okay, kids, I’m going to try to be objective about this, but you know and I know that at some point I’m going to fail. As long as we’re on the same page we can move forward. Got it? Good.
The Saints franchise is in disarray. It’s been one hell of a week for the franchise as they’ve tried to handle their volatile free agency situation and now they have a nasty “bounty” scandal on their hands.
Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and members of the Saints defense allegedly put together pools of money they could collect if certain players on the opposition were hurt – with bonuses for players getting carted off. The Saints stand to lose draft picks and cap space while Williams – now the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams – could be suspended for a few games or even the season.
While ESPN and their high horsemen are going to lambast this practice as “despicable” and “inhumane” the basic fact is this isn’t an isolated incident. I know of high school football players who have put bounties on taking out opponents and I’m willing to bet a “Brett Favre getting carted off the field” amount of money that most NFL teams have similar methods of galvanizing defenses. Where the Saints probably messed up was not stopping once the NFL sent them a warning. This probably doesn’t make the national news if the franchise stopped when they were warned.
We all know how Roger Goodell operates at this point: jump down the throats of teams and players accused of making big or illegal hits to make it seem like the NFL cares about the safety of its players. But the NFL and the high and mighty ESPN analysts trashing the Saints (looking at you, John Clayton) are the same people that celebrate big hits and make a ton of money off of them. Just look back to last year’s playoff game between the Saints and the 49ers. The big highlight that shifted the tide and was trumpeted as a sign of 49ers toughness was a hit on Pierre Thomas that knocked his eyeballs out of his anus rendering him unconscious before he even hit the ground and causing him to fumble the ball. Yay! Football!
I’m not surprised there was a bounty going on under Williams’ watch. I’ll be the first to tell you there’s no question the Saints were taking shots at Favre and Warner in the 2009 playoffs. And if it was any other team besides the levee-rebuilding American angels out there crippling QBs they would have been called dirty. It didn’t help, though, that Williams spent the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl basically promising that he was going to try to break Peyton Manning’s face at some point in the game.
The bounty system, however, speaks to Williams’ shortcomings as a defensive coordinator. Instead of, you know, developing a defensive scheme, Williams’ idea of football is hitting people until they somehow forget how to play. Without someone like Darren Sharper to save cavemen ideas, he ends up conceding 40 points to the Seahawks and 36 to Alex Freakin’ Smith in consecutive playoff losses. So peace out Gregg.
Hopefully this “scandal” finally allows the Saints to be part of regular society. For the last six years, the Saints have been like the special needs team whose mom just died. Nobody has wanted to say anything bad about them because they spun the world backwards on its axis Christopher Reeves-style and un-Katrina’d New Orleans. But the fact is, the Saints have run up scores and gone out and tried to crack some heads. The aftermath should allow people to treat the franchise and its fans like normal human beings and judge us like everyone else thank you very much.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be taking my anxiety pills over the fact that we still haven’t locked Brees into a long-term contract and we’re most likely losing Marques Colston and a few other key pieces because of it. Awesome.