We have all heard about the bounties before. Defensive coaches would offer up smaller cash rewards for taking a player out of the game. Heck, any Giants fan (who's old enough) remembers that Buddy Ryan did it all the time back in the 80's.
On Friday we learned that DC Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints offered bounties on taking opposing players out of the game. This allegedly occurred while he was there in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
So why is it different this time?
Welcome to the NFL of 2012, where player safety cannot be taken seriously on one play when a player's head is taken off and then ignored when a coach is offering up bounties. If player safety is going to be a priority for the league, it must be enforced 100% of the time without inconsistent enforcement.
All eyes are on Roger Goodell. When the NFL's own site, NFL.com is talking about enforcement, you know it is a pretty large story.
My own take is simple. If you want to remove (or add) anything from the league, start taking away draft picks. George Young never liked trading away his #1 pick for anything because of two reasons: (1) they can never second-guess you for the trade you never made (something which I inherently disagreed with, a topic for another post) and (2) it hurt your organization the following year when you could not participate in the renewal of the draft. So taking away a team's first round draft pick is painful punishment. It's your lifeblood. Taking away draft picks hollows out your organization, and it guts your soul.
If the evidence confirms that the Saints offered bounties, take away draft picks. The Saints will surely get the message and so will the rest of the league too. Money, fines, and suspensions are one thing. Take away those draft picks and it really hits the organization at its core- that will get the attention of all 32 teams and the bounties will disappear swiftly.