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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
    Phil McConkey
    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
    Jerry Jones
    NFL Draft Expert, has published the acclaimed Drugstore List since 1978.
    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
    Andy Freeland
    Statistician and researcher for NBC's Sunday Night Football.
  • "Bounty Pay" What Price Should Participants Pay?

    The recent news about Saints players/coaches being involved in a "Bounty" program isn't the first time we've heard about this disturbing motivational philosophy in the NFL. A "Win at all Cost" mantra has been long standing in this very physical sport. What surprises and disturbs me the most is that it is being used in today's game. The money being made by players, coaches, and owners today ... is at an all-time high. Why would players (with coaches consent), try to take out opposing players for a few thousand dollars more in their pocket ... when they are making millions? Wouldn't you want to help your own NFL brothers have long careers so that they would respect your goal to have a long career in the NFL? The opportunity to reap the monetary rewards from playing/coaching in the NFL is a privilege. This privilege is being abused and disrespected with "Bounty" programs. In an attempt to show solidarity, didn't these same players stand side by side in the current CBA negotiations, didn't they say that they wanted the same fair deal for all players, didn't they claim to be a united family or brotherhood? If somebody put bounty dollars on my head, I wouldn't consider them to be family. How hypocritical is that?

    Not only are "Bounty" hits on players wrong ... it's amoral. These bounty hits can alter a season and/or career of a player, as well as, the job status of a coach. Injuries to players are up because of the brute physical nature of the NFL. We don't need intentional knockout attempts to make that number go up. The league needs its stars to stay on the field, that's what makes the game so popular, that's what drives in the money in hordes. Injuries to key or star players can ruin a teams (as well as the fans) season in a hurry. They can also alter a coaches job status and his families future (just ask Jim Caldwell). The phrase "coaching fraternity" is thrown around all the time. Purposely trying to knockout opposing coaches key players goes against a fraternity code. Is a shot at winning (and a bigger payday) worth breaking the code? Is it worth breaking the moral fiber of the NFL commissioner's vision for the league? I don't think so.

    I had a "Bounty" put on my head in high school. It was my senior year, we were ranked #2 and we were playing a league rival who was ranked #1 in Southern California. We played at their place, from the start of the game defensive players began taking shots at my legs ... even when I handed the ball off to the RB. I was able to avoid the attempted cheap shots until the middle of the 2nd quarter. I ran the ball for about 15 yards, while lying face down I started to get up when I was speared in the lower back, being at their place ... no penalty called. I continued to play, but after awhile I couldn't breathe. I had my right guard call the snap count at the L.O.S. so that everyone could hear, but the biggest reason I had him do it was ... I didn't have enough air to do it. Finally, after another carry, I slowly walked to the sideline to tell the coach that I couldn't breathe, and, that I could no longer play. At halftime my dad and my godfather took me to the hospital where I found out that I had fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. The doctor told me that I was an extremely lucky young man (for which I looked up at him in bewilderment at his statement). He then told me that I could have easily had the other lung collapsed with one wrongly placed hit, and that I could have died. I missed the rest of the season, as well as the playoffs, which hurt our teams chances at winning a championship. I later found out that the school we played had a bounty pool on me, the player credited with putting me out of the game got somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000.

    This is why I abhor "Bounty" programs/hits. This brings me to my question. How should the participants in these "Bounty" programs be punished. The amoral acts of the high school coach involved were eventually discovered ... and he was rightfully fired. What should NFL commissioner Roger Goodell do?
    Should Saints owner Tom Benson be fined?
    Should HC Sean Payton be fined?
    Should GM Mickey Loomis be fined?
    Should the Saints lose a draft pick or picks?
    Should players be fined or suspended? How do you prove who was involved?
    Should Gregg Williams be fined, suspended, or both?

    If I were the commissioner, I would want to make a strong statement stating that ... This isn't going to be a part the NFL! It won't be tolerated!!
    I would administer a hefty fine to Tom Benson (he is the owner, and he is responsible for the organization), I would take away a draft choice (2nd round at least) from the Saints since both the HC and GM knew about it. I don't know how one can determine what players were involved, so they unfortunately get away clean. Because of the past history with Gregg Williams, I would send a loud message to coaches by suspending him for a year. I like Gregg, and I think that he is a tremendous defensive coach. But, letting this type of amoral behavior occur (with the possibility of shortening someone's career and earning potential) should not go unpunished. I know that Gregg resents being a part of this, he's not a bad guy, but he was a participant in an act that IMO ... is detrimental to the integrity of the NFL. What's your take on this matter?

    Comments 79 Comments
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      I do believe that payments like this have gone on for a long time, but the Saints got caught. The league has to show it is serious about this. $500,000 to the team and head coach. $200,000 to Gregg Williams and loss of 1st round pick has to minimum here.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Saints organization: fine + loss of draft pick(s)
      Mickey Loomis: full season suspension for lying to the NFL. Up to Benson whether that makes him expendable.
      Sean Payton: 4 game suspension
      Greg Williams: 8 game suspension. Full season suspension if he too lied to the NFL.

      + A meaty fine and suspension for any active player who also lied to the NFL.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Turk, it's not about the money, it's about your teammates recognizing you contribution. Money is just a way to measure it.

      Kurt Warner retired because of these bounties. Remember the beating he took in the divisional round?
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      Turk, it's not about the money, it's about your teammates recognizing you contribution. Money is just a way to measure it.

      Kurt Warner retired because of these bounties. Remember the beating he took in the divisional round?
      Agreed wrt the money. It's symbolic.

      Favre also took a bunch of late hits from the Saints in his last game. Obviously, this is why.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Saints organization: fine + loss of draft pick(s)
      Mickey Loomis: full season suspension for lying to the NFL. Up to Benson whether that makes him expendable.
      Sean Payton: 4 game suspension
      Greg Williams: 8 game suspension. Full season suspension if he too lied to the NFL.

      + A meaty fine and suspension for any active player who also lied to the NFL.
      This may actually happen. Even if it's all for PR, Goddell seems to want to rid the game of unnecessary roughness.

      If they found that the bounty idea was started by Williams, I think a 2 year ban would be in order.
    1. Swami's Avatar
      I appreciate you writing this article, Turk.

      I've mentioned this before, but even though I'm a Canadian, I pay zero attention to the NHL. Marty McSorley and Todd Bertuzzi and the league turning a blind eye turned me off.

      Obviously, this goes on and just as obviously, it's unnecessary. If I were Goodell, I'd come down HUGE on this. Williams seems directly involved and not for the first time. I'd go with suspensions over monetary fines as they hurt far more.

      Especially with what we're learning about concussions, there is no need for this in the sport. Maybe we can't stop it but maybe we can. Let's at least try. Before someone dies.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      I forgot about fines for the coaches. Belichick took a 500 grand hit for Spygate. Maybe fine + suspension?
    1. Turk Schonert's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      Turk, it's not about the money, it's about your teammates recognizing you contribution. Money is just a way to measure it.

      Kurt Warner retired because of these bounties. Remember the beating he took in the divisional round?
      Why do you think they have $50,000 in a pool? If it weren't for the money ... there wouldn't be a bounty pool. I know the players mentality! I've been in a locker room as a player and a coach. Money matters to players. When I played for the Bengals, RB's would get a $20 bonus from a coach every time they got tackled to the ground by the defense on a run action pass. They got payed only when we won. If it weren't for the $20 incentive, the fakes wouldn't have been as good. Players love free, and they love money, as motivational incentive. With bounty pools come late hits and cheap shots ... those types of plays are less frequent without monetary incentive payouts. Players love having extra cash (whatever the amount) put into their pockets, especially married guys, because their wives don't know about the extra money. Just like ACDC says ... Money Talks!!!
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Thanks for the insight, Turk.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Frankly I don't think any punishment that Goodell institutes is going to be too strict here. You need to hit Gregg Williams and Sean Payton hard here. Both knew about this and did nothing to stop it. I don't know if you can actually go after the players here, because its hard to know who was really involved here, but I'm sure the investigation can provide some information. Fining Benson, Loomis and taking away draft picks are fine. At least a #1 pick should be taken from 2013 and frankly take away their #2 pick from this year's draft.

      The NFL is already seen as a violent league. There are ex-players suing the league because they didn't do enough to protect the health of the players. Goodell has to lay the hammer on New Orleans and make sure this doesn't happen ever again. So as I said, I don't think there is a punishment he can lay on the Saints that is going to be too strict here.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      They say the cover-up is worse than the crime. I think that goes in spades here.

      The bounty program was bad enough.

      But every member of the National Football League has a duty to come clean in any league investigation. The proper running of the league depends upon it.

      Therefore, failure to be honest with investigators is a paramount crime. You cannot lie to the league and escape severe punishment. So I think the stiffest penalties will go to anyone who was interviewed by the league, who knew about the bounty program, and who lied about it.

      We know that Mickey Loomis is on that list. Can we assume that Greg Williams is too? His hasty mea culpa shows he's quivering in his boots. We don't know if they interviewed Sean Payton, but I can't see why they wouldn't have. He's the head coach, after all, and we know they talked to the owner. In addition, any active players who were questioned and who lied will also be in for it, by my reckoning.

      Spygate cost the Patriots a 1st round draft choice and Bill Belichick $500,000. You have to believe that lying to the league and running a bounty program is going to be more painful.

      The Saints could be feeling the effects of this one for a while.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      The luster wore off the NFL for me last year so I won't bother commenting on this latest disappointment. Execute 'em all?

      Kudos to Turk for writing about it though. Dude, you have been so missed.
    1. cml's Avatar
      Agreed that Spygate should be used as a baseline. We have a situation where a team lied to the league about something they were doing, plus continued in the face of an NFL warning. So I think at a minimum you are looking at hefty fines and a forefeiture of a 1st round pick.

      I think you also have to take into account the climate of the NFL, where there is more attention being paid to player safety issues (or, if you are cynical, at least more lip service being paid to that point). Given that, I suspect that the NFL almost has to come down harder. I'd expect Gregg Williams to be suspended. A suspension for Mickey Loomis and / or Sean Payton also seems reasonable. And there will be fines for each of those individuals, plus the team.

      I suspect that hobbes27 is right, though, in that it's pretty unlikely any punishment the NFL levies will be viewed as "too harsh" by fans. I think many fans wouldn't care about bounties for big (but legal) plays. If the NFL has evidence of intent to injure, though - and it seems they do - the league really can't even give a hint that such behavior will be tolerated.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by brauneyz View Post
      The luster wore off the NFL for me last year
      Wha' happen?


    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Wha' happen?
      What? You mean you couldn't hear me in Atlanta griping during the lockout? I love football. The NFL, not so much anymore.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by brauneyz View Post
      What? You mean you couldn't hear me in Atlanta griping during the lockout? I love football. The NFL, not so much anymore.
      Ah, sorry, I missed most of that. I joined late during that game. Yeah, labor actions suck. I just shrug and move on.
    1. GoBigOrGoHome's Avatar
      Double the Spygate punishment plus Williams gets 8 games, Payton gets 4, Loomis gets a year off. You can't lie to the league, get nailed anyway, then continue to lie about your actions all the while continuing your practice of rule-breaking.

      The stupidity & the cover-up are far worse than the crime, IMO.

      Ifthe NFL has direct evidence linking specific players to acts intentional injury, they need to be taken to task as well. Not fined, either, suspended.
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      The Saints don't have a first round pick this year. If you really want to send a message, nullify the franchise tag they just conveniently slapped on Brees today, and let Brees hit free agency this year. And take their first round pick next year.

      I think Williams AND Loomis should be required to take a year off and Sean Payton for 4 games at a minimum.
    1. chris's Avatar
      The question is also what will happen in Washington,Buffalo,and Tennessee?.Heck, for that matter what will happen in St.Louis if Fischer is found with any past dealings/knowledge of this occurring?. If memory serves me,he did play for Buddy Ryans defense in Chicago, did he not?.Buddy had long been accussed of the same thing....
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      I would guess, nothing. I suppose the league could launch an investigation into those clubs. Don't know why it would, though, unless someone came forward with something. And to rise to the level of New Orleans, the league would have to show it went right to the top of those teams. Again, in my opinion, the thing here isn't just the head-hunting, it's the deliberate deception of the NFL.