First off, who are we kidding? The NFL is a business and war, and every team/army is doing everything they can to gain advantage and win Super Bowls. Teams pay millions of dollars in salaries to players, and those teams make millions of dollars from ticket sales and the selling of merchandise. It is an insanely popular sport here and it is very much a part of our national culture and heritage. Football in the US is big, big, business.
Not to mention that the teams purposely look for players that hit hard and can deliver results. That is what they are getting paid to do. Sure they wear body armor in the form of a helmet and pads, but their coaches are purely focused on turning that player into a weapon on the football field. They practice for their game, much like gladiators practiced for matches in the arena, or how soldiers train for war.
Why do I know this? Because I played football when I was younger and hitting hard, targeting players to take them out of the game or to make crucial plays, and enjoying the win was what football was all about. You did not play the game to lose, nor does any player play the game to be ‘ineffective’. It’s a rough game requiring strategy, fitness and aggression, and fans and players wouldn’t have it any other way.
So when I read through this ‘bounty gate’ thing, I just shake my head as to how ridiculous and hypocritical it is. But it is also a Black Swan event in the NFL, because the New Orleans Saints found a scheme that worked and it has created an uproar. They created an offense industry that contributed to a win in the Super Bowl, and it did not require millions of dollars to fire it up. It reminds me of moneyball, another scheme that contributed to wins while saving money. (funny how Executive Outcomes won wars, while doing it on time and under budget too?… And they certainly shocked the world with their effectiveness. lol)
The other thing that is not mentioned enough is that bounties have been a common practice in the NFL for awhile. (please see the first article below) What ticked everyone off about the New Orleans Saint’s bounty program or ‘offense industry’, was that it was successful. That they won a bowl game, not that they were targeting players. All teams play the game violently and to it’s fullest, because if they didn’t, they would lose and they would lose out on money because fans and investors could care less about them. All teams have strategies that target the weakness or the center of gravity of the other team, and they have a very short period of time to win their war.
As to the bounty related rules, I also have to laugh. The teams are more concerned with salary caps so that teams that are well supported by rich owners or highly populated cities, do not have advantage over teams that do not have those resources. In the NFL, they try to make things equal when it comes to pay, just so the game is more interesting and fair. So when someone figures out how to properly implement an offense industry to win a game, and there is money involved with that scheme, then of course the other teams are going to cry. Not because of the safety issue, but because they didn’t think of it first. They also cry because it fits nicely in a morality attack to knock down a winning team. Remember Boyd’s ‘isolate your enemy morally, mentally, and physically, while increasing your moral, mental and physical standing’?
I do realize this is a sporting event and not warfare, so I guess some modicum of fair play should exist. lol But to me, what Gregg Williams did was awesome. This is exactly what ‘offense industry’ is all about, and Gregg used his particular bounty system to motivate his players to win their war. He also did it pretty efficiently by getting the players to add to their own bounty pool program, along with encouraging others to add to that pool. This gets everyone invested into the game. Williams could also focus on the key players of the opposition that would be strategically beneficial to take out of the game or render ineffective. Here is a brief run down of how it worked:
On March 2, 2012, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL had indeed found evidence of a bounty program. Later that day, the NFL announced it had obtained irrefutable proof of a bounty pool dating back to the 2009 season, based on a review of 18,000 documents. It determined that Williams had initiated the fund soon after he arrived in New Orleans in 2009, in hopes of making the defense more aggressive. Between 22 and 27 Saints defensive players were involved. The players and Williams contributed their own cash to the pot, and received cash payments based on their performance in the previous week’s game. For instance, a special teamer who downed a kick returner inside the receiving team’s 20-yard-line earned $100. Players could also be fined for mental mistakes and penalties. Players also received “bounties” for “cart-offs” (plays in which an opponent was removed from the field on a stretcher or cart) and “knockouts” (plays that resulted in a player being unable to return for the rest of the game). Players usually earned $1,000 for “cart-offs” and $1,500 for “knockouts” during the regular season, though they were encouraged to put their winnings back into the pot in order to raise the stakes as the season went on. Payments were known to double or even triple during the playoffs.
The NFL sent a confidential and detailed memo to all 32 teams detailing its findings. It revealed that the Saints had not only targeted Warner and Favre during the 2009 playoffs, but had also targeted Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton during the 2011 regular season. According to that memo, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 cash to any teammate who knocked Favre out of the NFC Championship Game. Another source told CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman that Reggie Bush’s agent at the time, Michael Ornstein, was closely involved in the scheme from the beginning. Ornstein contributed $10,000 to the pot in 2009, and an undisclosed amount in 2011.
What is also hypocritical is Senator Dick Durbin’s shock about the whole thing. He will be conducting a Senate hearing on the practice of bounties in the NFL, and in other sports. I actually look forward to what comes out of it, just so I can learn what the various teams of different sports have done. Who knows, maybe the State Department and DARPA could learn from this? Maybe the State Department can modify their Rewards For Justice program, and have Gregg Williams advise? lol –Matt
Saints took common practice of bounties to new, dangerous level
By Mike Freeman
Monday March 05, 2012?The bounty was $2,000, and the conditions were simple: Knock the starting quarterback out of the game and the cash was yours.
So it was on. The bounty was kept secret from the coaching staff and some of the team. Mostly, only the bounty hunters themselves — players on the defensive line — knew the whole plan. The money was fronted by the participants, and one player held the cash.
The problem was, in the game, no one reached the quarterback, and the bounty went unclaimed. The next week, it was doubled to $4,000. The quarterback survived the game intact. The pot grew to $8,000, and finally the defense had knocked out a quarterback, but there were problems. He was only out a few plays and the player who made the hit wasn’t part of the bounty crew.
The players spent the money on exotic dancers instead.
That’s one story from a player who asked that neither he nor his team be identified. Other players from around the NFL, in interviews, also recounted various bounty tales. The practice is far from isolated. Some players estimated 30 to 40 percent of all NFL players last season participated in a bounty system.
“This ‘bounty’ program happens all around the league,” former NFL lineman Damien Woody tweeted, “not surprising.”
“Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are part of this game,” former Washington defensive back Matt Bowen wrote. “It is an ugly tradition … you will find it in plenty of NFL cities.”
This, the players seem to agree on. There are many bounty systems in the NFL. They can inspire more energized play, and are usually created by players, not coaches. Players interviewed said bounties are offered for anything from knocking a player out of the game to delivering so-called “remember-me” shots.