Monday, January 28, 2013

SUPER BOWL CAN'T COME QUICK ENOUGH: Deaths, Bounties, and Soft Play

From a noted champion, I just want the Super Bowl
to begin all ready!

Felipe M

We asked our panel to weigh-in on the rough week the NFL experienced last week.

Sean Payton has been reinstated by the NFL.  Did Roger Goodell make his point to the rest of the NFL as far as bounties go?

Never a dull moment in the NFL as it appeared another ho-hum week that led its way to the annual Pro Bowl turned ugly.  First, Payton was once again, allowed to join the New Orleans Saints and immediately went to work at the Senior Bowl where he could be seen scouting the fresh talent and rubbing elbows with all of the coaches and front office personnel, sharing notes and thoughts on players and perhaps chronicled the events of his life in the past year or so during his suspension.  That wasn't so bad.  That’s actually a good thing to see a coach do his job.

It got worse when it was announced that Junior Seau’s family would sue the NFL after posthumous tests showed that the former player was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

Concurrently, a new study last week showed chronic brain damage among living, retired NFL players.  The players' brains seemed to "deteriorate" faster than a human being who did not participate in football.  

Then NFL hitman, Bernard Pollard stated that not only will the NFL die out in about 30 years, but he expects there to be a death of a player on the field. The player who is getting a reputation for being the Patriot Killer, also stated that fellow players are getting tired of being fined for hits and tackles that have become illegal in today’s NFL.  Many fans and pundits are all ready viewing a world where America’s most talented athletes will think twice about the prospects of playing football for a living and participate in other, safer sports.

Finally, putting on the final blow on the NFL this week, President Barack Obama also made a statement about not having his hypothetical son play the sport and would like the league to “reduce some of the violence.”

So what was the subject about again?  Oh yeah: so did Goodell make his point about the bounties?  Our panel doesn't think so:

  • “No he did not.  Payton should have been kicked out of Football along with Greg Williams.”—Johnny J (A bit extreme, but definitely would have gotten every head coach’s attention to the matter—Ed).
  • “Goodell wasted his/our time.  Bounties are nothing new and are here to stay. They simply got caught.”—Dan P (Remember, every old, crusty, former player came out of the cornfields to tell the whole world how they use to set up bounties all of the time back in the medieval days of the NFL and that Goodell was just making the game too soft.  And then those same players continued to go after the NFL vicariously through their lawyers—Ed).
  • “No, because just like the NCAA, all Roger Goodell does is punish problems instead of getting at the core issue of the violations.  Rather than creating a fair shake for everyone (i.e. alter the extreme violent nature of the game), Goodell wants to look as if he cares about the players safety.  Similar to any two-bit, prison warden who follows the old prison mantra--"rule, not rehabilitate.”—Donny R

These are some harsh, critical words for the NFL’s commissioner.  But to his credit “some” progress, could be said, was made with these unprecedented punishments handed to the Saints’ organization.  There has to be some optimism that some of the dark, ugly habits of professional players and their equally disgusting coaches’ behaviors were somewhat eradicated.  It’s hard to believe that most of the locker rooms will revert back to implementing a bounty system after they saw what happened to the Saints. 

Or it could be argued that a lot of locker rooms will lay low for a while and come back with modifications and even more subtlety than before.  I believe, however, that C. McLain sums it up best:

“I’d put money on it that Goodell definitely did make his point.”

Special emphasis on the word, money.

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