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.
Poor Spags has had no luck since he left the Giants. Now he's handed a defense that will almost certainly be missing key members for extended periods of time. The guy deserves better.
Andy, I agree wholeheartedly with you on this, but I would take it one step further. Gregg Williams should be "suspended for life." His practice has now been with 3 organizations with players concurring from Buffalo, Washington & New Orleans. That type of coaching has no place. If the NFL is serious and I believe they are they will send a stronger message with the suspension. If other coaches are compliant they too deserve suspensions for at least a season. But Williams deserves "zero tolerance" here. Draft picks lost, owners who knew and turned the other cheek should be fined heavily as well. The players who committed these acts should be punished monetarily but can't be suspended. Because all they did was follow what their immediate bosses instructed them to do. If the NFL even tries to suspend them the Players Association would have a field day with it.
But someone has to explain to me however why players would risk $10,000 fines for questionable hits by the NFL when the bounty paid was only $1000- $1500. Where is the logic in all of this?
@I Bleed Blue Look to the right for the George Young quote for the logic.