Okay, so the New Orleans Saints are guilty of paying ‘knock out” and “cart off”‘ bonuses to defensive players and placing bounties on quarterbacks. So their defensive coordinator “Dr. Heat” was behind the entire caper and, God forbid, the head coach was aware of it! Well, all I can say is “so what!” “Who the f*** gives a crap! This is football! In football players get hit, and they get hit hard and often. Like it or not, that’s the nature of the beast and fans wouldn’t have it any other way. We love it!
Football is a full contact sport. During a game bodies collide, fly and get trampled. It’s a war zone, a battlefield with lines. Frank Gifford once described pro football as nuclear warfare, where “there are no winners, only survivors.” Now the commissioner is looking into the whole bounty incident. Yes and by the time he’s through there will probably be fines, stricter enforcement of the rules and even some changes in the way the game’s played, and football will never be the same. All because the Saints got a little extra incentive to do what they get paid to do anyway!
Sadly there are those who find the entire bounty thing appalling. They believe players particularly quarterbacks should be better protected, because they are the primary target of the defense. Everyone wants a piece of the QB, the field general. Everybody knows he’s the guy you’ve got to stop. You know, get in his face, let him taste a little dirt and put the fear of God in him. Those Saints players didn’t do anything wrong. they were doing their job, only they were a little more motivated to try harder. What’s so bad about that? Every other business uses incentives to motivate their employees and get the job done, why not football?
What’s the hell is happening to the NFL? What is the league trying to do to our great game of football? Where are those gridiron gladiators of old who went to battle with nothing more than shin pads? There wore no helmets, mouth guards, shoulder pads or flak vests to protect themselves from injury. In fact helmets didn’t become a part of the game until the 1920’s, and even then offered little protection. They were made of leather and looked more like aviator caps than protective head gear, but I guess something was better than nothing. Those leather heads wouldn’t know what to do with all the protective gear players wear today. They were real men! “Protective Gear! We don’t need no stinking Protective Gear!”
So the powers that be who run the NFL want to protect players, that’s awesome, good idea. They want to protect the quarterbacks, that’s okay too, but protect doesn’t mean to coddle or baby them, they don’t have to destroy the game in the process. Aren’t penalties, fines and suspensions enough for those who hit a bit too hard or too often? Apparently not. What’s next Mr. Commissioner? I hear there’s actually been talk about adding another official to the game whose sole responsibility will be to stand in the backfield and keep his eyes on the quarterback to ensure he’s protected from unnecessary, rough and late hits.
Give me a break! Football is a game of hard hits! That’s what it’s all about! That’s what we love about the game, the hard hitting action, the thrills, chills and spills! We live to watch the quarterback scrabble as the defensive breaks through the line and targets him for a sack! That’s what makes the game so damn exciting. Sure, the quarterback needs protection, that’s what he has an offensive line for, when that protection breaks down he’s fair game! If he gets hit and goes down hard, oh well! That’s just the nature of the game.
But now we have these prima donna QB’s who make millions of dollars for throwing the ball who want to be treated more like kickers who can’t be touched once the ball is kicked! It’s Hands off unless the kick is blocked. Even John Madden my all time favorite coach (after George Allen) believes the QB needs more protection and supports this ridiculous save the quarterback idea.
What’s next, a hit free zone around the QB sort of like a batters box in baseball? Yeah, maybe we could do away with the pass rush, make linemen eligible receivers and simple let the QB have 5-10 seconds to stand in the passers box, find a receiver and throw the ball! Sure, why not? Maybe while they’re at it they should just rename the league the NFFL, the National Flag Football League or how about the NTFL, the National Touch Football League! Now wouldn’t that be special! It would certainly be safer, but boring as hell! Come on people this is football we’re talking about here! Pain is the name of the game. Tackles, hard hits and knock downs are what its all about. That’s why the big guys on both sides of the ball make the big bucks. They’re paid to knock each other down and get to the QB as often as possible.
I’m sorry but those guys didn’t go after Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner or any other QB for the bounty, they did it for all the right reasons, for their teammates, for the fans and for the win! It’s what they do. Hell, some player contracts include incentives and bonuses for quarterback sacks! Isn’t that a freakin’ bounty as well?
I say we leave football as is. There are already too many rules and regulations that hinder the game. A football game is a battle in a war of might. When the game is over the team that played their hearts out and did everything in their power to win are the victors. Let’s let these gridiron gladiators play the game the way it’s meant to be played, hard, fast and fierce…