I love the New Orleans Saints. To be honest, the Saints are not my favorite team, but it is hard not to love the Saints and their story: winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl just two seasons ago after the city was rocked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
When it came out several weeks ago the Saints and former defensive coordinator Greg Williams paid defensive players bounties for hits on offensive players, it shook the foundations of the National Football League. It was particularly frightening to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. But I, along with several current and former NFL players was not surprised this news broke. Why? Because it happens everywhere, not just with the New Orleans Saints. It’s just a matter of bad timing.All in all, I like Roger Goodell. I think he is doing a fine job as the commissioner of the NFL. I like his policies trying to protect personnel safety so that when players retire after long careers, they are not left with long-term health problems. Bounties on offensive players in the NFL is obviously not within Goodell’s policies on player safety.
He still overdid the penalties.
Sean Payton, the head coach for the Saints was suspended by the NFL for one year. He can’t go to the facilities, can’t interact with players and can’t get a paycheck for a year. Greg Williams, the former defensive coordinator now with the St. Louis Rams, was banned indefinitely from the League. Mickey Loomis, the Saints general manager, was suspended for the first eight regular season games. Pretty stiff penalties for an act that is happening all around the NFL, not just in New Orleans.
A bounty system may not be right, but it does happen in the NFL. So why are the Saints being penalized by the League for the bounty system and no other team? Why not suspend Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, for a year? Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh?
The answer? The NFL won’t suspend these coaches or other marquee coaches because their respective teams make the NFL’s money. Penalties like this will never happen in New York, New England, Dallas or Pittsburg simply because these teams are the most popular in a league that makes about $9 billion in revenue. Therefore, the NFL is sending the strongest possible message while at the same time protecting their major revenue-earning teams.
Despite the punishment dealt to the Saints, I don’t believe we are done with the bounty systems just yet.