Saints Bounty Scandal Overblown

Let the vilification begin. The Saints are on their way from being seen as, well, saints to scoundrels. The team that boosted the morale of the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina aren’t so angelic after all. The halo hovering over Sean Payton are now devil horns grotesquely protruding from his head.

The severe punishment the Saints will undoubtedly receive is justified. However, the accompanying public slander is not.

Don’t get me wrong, the bounty system is despicable and I’m not talking about those cute little characters from the animated movie. In a game where violence is already front and center, adding a monetary incentive to hurt opposing human beings is downright heartless.

I am all for Roger Goodell’s stance on eliminating head shots from the game of football. The NFL may be a little sissier in this era but for the long-term health and safety of the players who don’t understand enough about the issue to help themselves, the increased sissiness is well worth it.

The New Orleans Saints have to be penalized severely for this bounty scandal. The NFL has to do it to send a message around the league as it has done with head shot artists like James Harrison. If it takes a couple of draft picks a million bucks that is fine by me.

What I won’t stand for though is the defamation of the Saints. Similarly to the UCLA incident earlier this week, the Saints are going to be seen in a light that they don’t deserve. It isn’t right that UCLA basketball players were doing ecstasy at raves or that star players were receiving excessive preferential treatment. The problem with the Sports Illustrated story was that it made out UCLA to be the only team in the country to have those issues.

That shouldn’t happen for the New Orleans Saints either.

The sad fact of the matter is that the bounty program is an old practice in the NFL. Gregg Williams didn’t invent it in 2009. Heck, the Washington Post reported that the Washington Redskins had a bounty program under Gregg Williams as well. The famous bounty bowl games in 1989 where Buddy Ryan had bounties placed on quarterback Tory Aikman and kicker Luis Zendejas are the most famous instances of this practice.

It’s an age-old system that certainly still takes place across the NFL. The Saints just happened to be the team that got caught.

Brett Favre’s comments on the subject speak volumes considering he was one of the biggest targets of the Saints bounty scandal. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered up $10,000 to knock him out of the NFC Championship game in 2009. Favre took some brutal shots that very much bordered on the illegal variety that game. Nevertheless, Favre was not upset, noting that that bounties are simply a part of the game. The ageless wonder stated that “said or unsaid, guys do it anyway.” “I’m not pissed. It’s football.”

Like steroids, because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right but vilifying the Saints alone isn’t warranted. I’m no NFL insider but this is surely a practice that is understood by players around the league as not being uncommon and possibly the norm. Listen to what Brett Favre is saying. He wasn’t the least bit surprised.

Everyone seems to be placing this scandal on a different level than Spygate. The title of John Clayton’s article on ESPN is “Saints bounty story worse than Spygate.” I don’t see it that way. To the best of my knowledge, the filming of opposing team’s walkthroughs is not one of those unsaid things that teams around the league do. I’m thinking Brett Favre would be more than a little bit pissed if he had been told that the Saints had been videotaping his team’s signals.

Who knows, Spygate might have been the reason behind a Super Bowl victory or two for the New England Patriots. Other Super Bowl champion teams aren’t doing that kind of thing. If we are strictly talking about integrity of the game, this bounty scandal can in no way be worse than Spygate.

A tarnished legacy for doing what other teams are doing and have been doing for years isn’t fair. Do we really know that the Minnesota Vikings didn’t have a bounty program as well in 2009? Sure, it’s naive to believe no one other than the New England Patriots have at least attempted to cheat the game using comparable methods but nothing has come out since 2008. The Washington Redskins have already been outed for their bounty program of the past. How much more is out there?

Hopefully Roger Goodell sends a message loud enough so that these bounty programs can finally be put to a halt. Player safety is the number one priority. Give the Saints the chair so to speak.

Just don’t let it ruin the their reputation.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as Behind the 8 Ball

It’s Peyton’s Choice

Peyton Manning is a man. He can make his own decisions and no one else should be telling him otherwise. As much everyone thinks they know what is best for Peyton Manning, they don’t.

Manning is coming off reportedly 4 separate neck surgeries in the past 2 years according to Don Banks of SI.com. According to his birth certificate, Peyton will be 36 by the time the 2012 NFL season rolls around. He has played 13 seasons in the NFL according to his stats page on NFL.com.

A lot of people talk about legacy. Brett Favre apparently had his tarnished.

Apparently, Peyton Manning could end up doing the same thing.

Nonsense.

Peyton Manning can do what he wants.

The tarnishing of the infamous legacy is one of the most absurd concepts in professional sports. People illogically believe that it is in duty to protect an athlete’s so-called legacy. There is this idea that one should stop playing before the inevitable decline of father time or injuries take their toll on that person, making them unable to perform close to the level that fans are used to. Rumour has it that continuing to play past this point of substantial decline or even just the possibility of playing past that point is grounds for tarnishing of the legacy.

For some reason, it is engrained in sports culture that what you do late in your career can take away from the things that happened in the prime of your career. The thing is, this George Costanza idea of going out on a high note really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Last time I checked, you can’t erase what’s written in the history books. That stuff is down in permanent marker, you know, the TO kind of sharpie. But more importantly, the decision of whether or not to keep playing really shouldn’t come down to legacy at all.

Brett Favre still wanted to play. Peyton Manning wants to as well.

Who are we to try and tell these guys what to do? This isn’t our life. We aren’t their mothers.

They should be able to play as long as they want. If there is someone out there that is willing to pay them money to play the game that they love, then by all means they can choose to carry on with their careers. If playing is what the heart desires, the barrier stopping that from happening should be a Donovan McNabb situation. McNabb isn’t close to the level of Manning or Favre, but there came a time this past year when no was willing to pay McNabb to play football. Hey buddy, now it’s time to retire.

As weird as it was for fans to see Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform or Warren Moon in a Chiefs uniform, the far from fairy-tale endings to their careers have done next to nothing to skew the way they have been remembered.

Of course, not that it matters anyways.

Michael Jordan said that he wanted to go out on his own terms. He did that when he tried his hand at professional baseball. He did that when he played 2 seasons for the Washington Wizards. Michael Jordan did what he wanted to and has probably left the game happier because of it.

Regret is one of the worst feelings in life. I’m young. At 20 years old, I almost certainly don’t understand what real regret is. Nevertheless, it can’t be easy for a professional athlete to live the next 50 years of his life and know that he had more to give to the game. To walk away from the only identity and livelihood you have ever known is undoubtedly a scary thing. It’s scarier to think about when you know that there’s more left in the tank.

Brett Favre became one of the most repulsive athletes for his multiple pseudo-retirements. However, when you reflect back to his magical season at the age of 40 in Minnesota, you can’t help but think it was all worth it. Again, what I think doesn’t really matter. It’s what Brett thinks. I bet he would be the first to tell you that having one of the most improbable, unpredictable and captivating seasons in sports history made it all worth it.

If he had listened to what everyone was saying, we would never have seen what Brett Favre had in store for us that season.

Peyton Manning is barely a year removed from being on top of the NFL mountain. If he wishes to return to the NFL, most likely not in a Colts uniform, then he should do so. If not, he can walk away from the game as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

He has to do it on his terms though.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as Lin’s Rise Shouldn’t be so Surprising

What Else Should We Expect?

Joe Paterno is 84. His brain doesn’t work the same way it used to. Too bad that’s not a worthy excuse for his, once again, selfish decision today. The previously beloved coach announced that at the end of the season he would step down as the head coach of Penn State.

What a joke.

If it wasn’t certain that Joe Paterno doesn’t have anyone else’s interest in mind but his own already, then this announcement surely did it. JoePa does what is best for JoePa. It’s always been this way, except before the world never really knew it.

At his press conference, Paterno said that he wanted to finish his final season with “dignity and determination.” In case he didn’t know, that ship has sailed. It left the moment we found out all JoePa did when he was informed of the accusations toward Sandusky was to report it to the proper authority.

It’s hard to believe that Paterno could even think about finishing a football season at this point in time. Clearly, he still doesn’t have any remorse or regret for what he has done, or rather what he didn’t do. Penn State is 8-1 this season. JoePa wants to go out on a high note. In the grand scheme of things, football has become insignificant in the context of this devastating story for most of us.

Not JoePa though.

JoePa can’t even pretend like he cares. His best teary eyed bluff could have been detected by my 6-year-old cousin. Paterno said that “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” Yet, with the benefit of hindsight and those thick, horn-rimmed glasses, Paterno doesn’t see what he has done wrong. If he understood the magnitude of his inaction in this issue then he wouldn’t wait until the end of the season to step down.

It really doesn’t matter if Paterno steps down now but it’s the principle of the matter. To retire after a few more inconsequential football games instead of immediately stepping down, tells the rest of the world that JoePa probably hasn’t lost much sleep over the scandal.

JoePa only lost sleep because he was thinking about his tarnished legacy. JoePa only wishes he could have done more to make sure that this whole story never came out to ruin his beloved reputation. The only thing that’s a tragedy in this matter to JoePa is the fact that he can never go out on top of the College Football world.

409 meaningless freaking wins.

It’s like the old adage for criminals. They’re sorry, but sorry simply because they were caught.

Joe Paterno was caught for who he really is. He’s another iconic sports figure who is not made in the beautiful image that the fans and media have created. Brett Favre sexted and whined, Tiger Woods cheated several times, Lebron James is not the Chosen1 and Walter Payton wasn’t quite so sweet.

Joe Paterno had and still has no interest in the children he could have saved. This is the person that he is and, at 84, I guess there’s no reason we should expect him to give in to what everyone else not only thinks but knows he should do.

Joe Paterno isn’t retiring immediately and that’s just JoePa being JoePa.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as Only One Solution to More Goals in the NHL

Don’t Suck For Me…Or Else

Andrew Luck is worried.

Well, at least he should be.

“Suck for Luck” is sweeping the nation. According to Luck, this doesn’t concern him too much. He is just going to go out each week, play his game and continue striving for a national championship.

In theory, the Heisman candidate shouldn’t be wasting his time and energy on which city could be his new zip code for the next 15 years. In theory, he is going to be drafted onto an awful team. Too bad for Andrew Luck the Indianapolis Colts are screwing with the nature of the NFL draft.

Luck is saying all the right things but we know all too well that the Colts would be a devastating landing spot for the Stanford product. To Luck, going to Indianapolis would make him feel like he was kicked in the groin by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robinson. He can ask T.J. Lang how that feels.

With 6 teams – the Dolphins, Jaguars, Vikings, Rams, Cardinals and Colts – still firmly entrenched in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes, you would have to put Colts as one of the frontrunners after 7 weeks.

The Dolphins and Colts are the two favourite heavyweights in the ‘suckiest be luckiest’ division. But after the thorough beat down the Colts took at the hand of the New Orleans Saints, 62-7 on Sunday night, the Colts might have Vegas giving them the best imaginary odds to take it all.

I don’t think I can remember an instance in my lifetime where Peyton Manning and quarterback controversy was used in the same sentence.

Andrew Luck got into Stanford. He’s smart enough to know that he doesn’t want to be part of one of those. He can ask Aaron Rodgers how that feels.

However, it would be ironic if the first player touted a once-in-a-decade talent since Peyton Manning ended up fighting it out with him for the starting job.

Nevertheless, an ironic situation isn’t topping Andrew Luck’s NFL aspirations bucket list. For his own sake, Luck must make sure he doesn’t ever have to face that ironic situation. He has the power to prevent it but his personality might stop him from doing so.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, there is no doubt that Andrew Luck will be ready to start week 1 of the 2012 season. Heck, he would have been ready to start week 1 of the 2011 season. I still believe he should have come out last year. Maybe he didn’t want to go to Carolina but it has got to hurt a little bit to see Cam Newton have such a successful first half of the season.

The thing is, Cam Newton is exactly the reason that Andrew Luck can’t let himself end up in Indianapolis. Consider this, 4 quarterbacks drafted in 2011 and 8 quarterbacks drafted since 2010 are currently starting in the NFL. It would be crazy if Luck wasn’t starting week 1 of 2012.

No one knows how many years Peyton Manning has left, especially following 3 neck surgeries. Although, if we have learned anything about Peyton we know that he wants Brett Favre longevity, which doesn’t bode well for Andrew Luck.

Luck foolishly proved that he is a selfless individual by returning to Stanford for another unnecessary year. He doesn’t need to prove it again.

Related: Make the Right Decision Andrew Luck

At some point, but not yet, he is going to have to speak up and tell the world that he will not sign with the Indianapolis Colts if Peyton Manning is there. A selfish ultimatum from a selfless individual. Yeah, he might be criticized by some for a move like that but it would be worth it in the long run.

The other Manning wouldn’t sign with the Chargers. His reputation wasn’t tarnished by his refusal to sign. He won a Super Bowl.

Even if the Colts ended up taking Luck, fully intending to trade him, is there really a guarantee that some team is willing to pay the inevitably mammoth price to get him? The 2012 draft is projected to be one saturated with quarterback talent. Well known prospects Matt Barkley out of USC and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones round out the top 3 quarterbacks.

Is the price for Luck really worth it when other potential stars are available in Jones and Barkley?

What about the possibility of stepping into Peyton Manning’s shoes following a trade of the Colts legend?

If Peyton Manning were traded to allow Andrew Luck to start in his rookie year, the expectations and animosity surrounding Luck among Colts fans would be tremendous. While I’m sure Luck would be able to handle the increased stress, the conditions are certainly not ideal for a quarterback with so much already on his shoulders.

Playing in a Miami or Jacksonville type city would allow for a certain degree of patience that wouldn’t be accepted in Indianapolis.

It could be argued that learning behind one of the great minds in NFL history would be beneficial to Andrew Luck. Much like playing behind Brett Favre seems to have been most helpful to Aaron Rodgers.

Despite the possible advantage sitting out 2-4 years could have for Andrew Luck, his situation is far from similar to Rodgers. People tend to forget that Aaron Rodgers slipped all the way down to 24th overall in the year he was drafted. For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, I don’t see Luck slipping to 24th overall. Rodgers was not touted as a once-in-a-generation talent, he didn’t have the power to demand better circumstances and are we seriously supposed to believe Rodgers wouldn’t be the quarterback he is today if not for those years riding the pine.

If Luck is as great as they say he is, he can, should and will be able to learn on the job.

Andrew Luck doesn’t have to cost himself precious years of a football career that could potentially be one of the best in history.

All he has to do is speak up.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as Luongo’s Struggles are Incomprehensible to World

Al Davis Managing from the Grave?

So, Al Davis is at it again. That’s my only explanation. Who else could have orchestrated this sorry excuse for a trade?

Even from the grave a continually senile Al Davis is still finding ways to derail his Oakland Raiders who have finally started to get things back on track. Giving up a 2012 first round and a 2013 conditional pick, which could end up as high as a first rounder depending on Carson Palmer’s play, sums up everything we have been taught at the Oakland Raider school of General Managing for the past decade.

Just win baby!

With Jason Campbell on the shelf for at least several weeks, the Oakland Raiders obviously felt they had to make a move to stay in the playoff race. Jason Campbell has been about as good as his ol’ game managing self can be. It has been enough to put his Raiders at 4-2 after 7 weeks of the season.

Related: Jason Campbell the Solution? Don’t Think So.

However, the goal in any professional sports league is to build a perennial winner. The Oakland Raiders haven’t been able to build a once in a decade winner. This trade sure isn’t putting them in the right direction.

It is 1 step forward and 2 steps back playing on repeat.

The Raiders have now spent 3 picks (1st, 3rd and 4th rounder) in 2011 on three separate quarterbacks. Yes, 3.

This trade was not necessary and vital for a team that, at best, was bound for a first round playoff exit. This was not their final shot at glory à la Brett Favre. This was a team at last giving their faithful fan base a legitimate reason to get rowdy every Sunday.

The draft, on the other hand, is necessary and vital for a team attempting to build a competitive team on a yearly basis in the NFL. In no other league is the draft more vital than the NFL. With so much talent from around the country and so many roster spots to go around, talent can be found anywhere from round 1 through 7.

It’s a travesty when teams fail to understand the value of the draft and the Raiders have excelled at this. Think Richard Seymour.

I would have expected a trade like this from a 14-year-old fantasy football player reminiscing back to his elementary school days when Carson Palmer was his favourite player. I wouldn’t have expected the Bengals to get this sort of value for a pseudo-retired past his prime pro bowler. Not even from the Oakland Raiders.

But give credit where credit is due. Owner Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals refused to give in to Carson Palmer’s ridiculous demands and he was rewarded for it. With a little luck from Jason Campbell’s injury, Brown was able to receive tremendous value for his former franchise quarterback.

What can you say though about a man who went all Chad Ochocinco eccentric on us? Carson Palmer is going to be 32 in December and hasn’t given any reason for us to believe that he will play anywhere close to his former self. He also hasn’t played a down of football for quite a while now.

What do the Oakland Raiders expect?

They would be lucky if Carson Palmer could put up some vintage Trent Dilfer numbers.

The Raiders are set to pay the full amount of Carson Palmer’s $11.5 million 2011 contract. In addition, Palmer’s contract runs through 2014 season so it is quite possible, as SI’s Chris Burke points out, that Jason Campbell has “played his last down in Oakland.”

In an attempt to salvage a season that was inevitably lost after Jason Campbell’s injury, the Raiders have compromised the future of their franchise…yet again.

I guess “just win baby” is still at all costs necessary for this much maligned franchise.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as Brett Favre is Still the Best Torso

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,081 other followers

%d bloggers like this: