I find it interesting that there are still split opinions over whether what the Saints did was acceptable.
I heard Brad Jackson on the radio this weekend ranting about how people don't understand what goes on inside NFL locker rooms and that this stuff is normal operating procedure across the league. He even suggested the audio was of dubious origin because no one has seen the video that the documentarian shot, and the sound is muffled.
I'm not sure what Jackson was even implying with the latter idea. Came across to me as a wild counter punch trying to discredit the evidence.
Not surprisingly, I have found much more articulate insights from Brian Billick. (The guy who famously collared Jackson on the sideline after a boneheaded penalty during the Super Bowl run and told Brad that he could be a pretty good player some day whenever he decided to stop being such an idiot).
When the bounty story first broke, Billick was not exactly outraged. He talked about how bounties are definitely part of the NFL and the mistake that was made was simply talking publicly about stuff that should stay inside locker rooms. Billick's comments a few weeks ago on the Dan Patrick Show were recapped on the show's website,
I agree with Billick here. I always found it odd that "bounty" became the focal point of the discussion. That term never got to the crux of the problem. The fact that money was involved never particularly bothered me. Getting two grand for a big hit, like the clean shot Jarret Johnson got on Hines Ward this past season, is no different than a college kid getting a sticker on his helmet for a big play. I get that intimidation and big hits are part of the NFL.Quote:
Billick says there is a defensive mentality to go after players and knock them out of the game. Billick says every team does things like bounties in their locker room. They just should never talk about it publicly. Billick thought that's where the mistake was.
Billick did say, however, players don't want to end the career of anyone. Not at all. Dan asked Billick how he would have dealt with Terrell Suggs' comments about the Ravens going after Hines Ward and Rashard Mendenhall. Billick said he would have sat him down --- as he had done when he was his coach -- and asked him what he was trying to achieve by talking publicly about that kind of stuff. Billick also commented on the Ray Lewis hit that took out Mendnehall. He said it was a clean hit.
What the term "bounty" fails to convey is the idea of purposely injuring a player. This is what is so damning about Williams' comments I just don't understand how guys like Brad Jackson can continue to downplay that aspect of Williams' comments. I refuse to go along with anyone who wants to argue that targeting hits on injured areas of opponents to knock them out of the game is okay.
Billick has now come out with more recent comments where he clearly calls what Williams did wrong, and says that in 40 years of coaching football he has never once heard a coach do what Williams did -- talk about targeting hits on injured areas of specific opponents.
I just don't get how anyone could miss that distinction. It's unfortunate and surprising that Goodell's office did such a poor job of defining the Saints' crime when the whole bounty-gate story broke.