New Orleans Saints: Just the Tip of a True NFL Problem

Doik DoikesContributor IIIMarch 6, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints looks on during warms up prior to playing against the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Superdome during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are engaged in the biggest scandal since the Patriots dealt with “Spy-Gate.”

Most NFL analysts are discussing how the Saint’s organization should be punished for supporting a bounty system—which former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was said to have organized.

What’s being dubbed as “Bounty-Gate” by many sports outlets, was said to include the awarding of cash bounties for injuring opposing teams' players. The latest and more notable bounty was one that Saint’s linebacker Jonathan Vilma placed on the head of retired NFL QB Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. Reports claim the bounty for taking Favre out of the game was as high as $10,000.

Anyone who follows major American sports in this country knows that the NFL is king. Men and women across the nation love the excitement of a pass being thrown down field, or the excitement a game changing sack brings.

Though, it’s hard to believe fans are rooting for James Harrison to concuss fellow NFL players, or that fans jump at the thought of a player getting severely hurt—which are all possible—the former happening more often. So with this report, mixed feelings are felt around the country.

Is it right to put a monetary motivation on making plays? Player contracts answer this question; the defensive playmakers in the NFL get paid big money to make plays.

The second and more daunting question is, is it right to put a monetary incentive on hurting guys? The answer undoubtedly is “no.”

Steve Young said it best “by allowing this to happen, makes this game a blood sport.” Nobody plays football for blood, the game is played for pride, and if blood is a result of having pride than you take your chances.

What’s most upsetting is the fact that guys would want to hurt other players for an extra $1000 “allegedly”.

Stevie Johnson a WR for the Buffalo Bills appeared on the Jim Rome Radio Show Monday and said it best: “it’s stupid, people have families, you don’t need to be doing that for a W.”

Exactly, so what does the NFL do? With more reports being released saying Head Coach Sean Payton knew about the program, and other reports suggesting that Gregg Williams had some sort of a bounty program instilled in nearly every locker room he was in; the questions still remains how do you punish the Saints?

No one has a clear answer, because nothing like this has ever happened in the league before. At any rate looking to a retired NFL QB who had to end his career due to multiple concussions seems to be the right approach so far. “You need to make an example of them so this never happens again” said Steve Young on SportsCenter Monday morning.

There shouldn’t be much thought as to whether or not placing cash bounties on other player’s heads is wrong or right? It’s blatantly wrong.

The bigger questions that need to be addressed are, how many teams have some sort of bounty program themselves? And what should the Saints punishment be so that this never happens in the game again?

Yes, all fans love a big hit, but no fan in their right mind hopes or wishes any NFL player gets seriously injured.

The NFL has already taken positive steps to deal with concussions and helmet-to-helmet hits, so Mr. Goodell lets listen to Steve Young's take during the same SportsCenter round table appearance; “this is a gentleman’s game when it’s kept within the rules, and we need to make sure it stays that way.”