It was reported this week that Greg Williams, the former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, is being investigated by the NFL for an alleged “cash for bounty” system while with the Saints. Reports are that players were given money for putting an opposing player out of the game. The very nature of football (NFL style) is blocking, tackling, and vicious hitting. Anyone remember Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Jack Tatum, or Dick “Night Train” Lane? The resulting injuries have become part of the game, some even career ending. Is it any wonder that the average life span of an NFL player is a little over 3 years? But the fact that he crossed the line by paying players money to acheive said results has gotten the attention of the NFL. Especially in light of the closer attention being given to serious injuries such as concussions.
What did they expect? Have you seen an MMA fight lately? The whole object of the sport is to hurt your opponent anyway possible to win the fight. Did you ever see some of these older football players when they hit 50. Their knees and legs are so arthritic that it takes an hour to get out of bed, Johnny Unitas’ fingers were so knarled up he couldn’t hold a pen straight to sign his name.
The extent to which Greg Williams is punished is yet to be determined, in part because he admitted to doing it and not just once. While the NFL report only mentions his actions with the Saints (who won the Super Bowl in ’09), the Washington Post has reported that he had a similar bounty system in place while defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins. And former players for the Buffalo Bills, for whom he was the head coach from 2001-2003 have said that the same practices were going on here.
Really, the Bills? Coy Wire, who played safety for the Bills while Williams was the coach in Buffalo is being quoted in the Buffalo News as saying that an environment of “malicious intent” was here when he played. He went on to say that there were “rewards given to players who made a big hit that hurt an opposing player”. They were commended and encouraged for their actions. Wire also stated that “we had a philosophy in Buffalo about how the game is meant to be played and the type of defense that we wanted to be. We wanted to be relentless, vicious, and feared.”
Wow, those attributes never came to mind watching the Bills for the last decade or so. Nobody on those teams ever made me forget the likes of Joel Collier’s defenses when they ran roughshod over the rest of the good old AFL. How can I forget the hit laid on Keith Lincoln of the Chargers in the ’64 title game in the Rockpile. I don’t know if he was paid extra for that hit, but it knocked out Lincoln for the game, and changed the fortunes of the Bills from that point forward. When George Saimes got his arms around your ankles, you were going down. Those teams were relentless, vicious, and feared!
All I know about the Bills under Williams is that they stunk! Wire did say that there was no such system in place under suceeding coaches Mike Mularkey or Dick Jauron. Didn’t matter, their teams stunk too!
As far as the extent of fines to be doled out to Williams and the Saints, that’s going to be a tricky one. For starters it goes beyond just Williams. It is alleged that Mickey Loomis the Saints GM was aware of the bounty system and did nothing and that head coach Sean Payton turned a blind eye. Not too saintly were they? Here’s a thought; take away the Saints title and give Williams the chair. That oughta do it. And any other teams that have such a system in place would change in a hurry. As for the Bills, we just need better players, plain and simple.
I wonder what Mike Stratton is doing these days?
only in Buffalo….