Let me start by saying that I don’t condone coaches paying off players to injure opponents. In no way it should be allowed and the NFL had every right to step in and punish the New Orleans Saints, most notably head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
However, if the NFL thinks the Saints are the only team in NFL history that has put bounties on opposing players, they are either seriously naive, or covering their tracks. Yes, the Saints are guilty, but bounties have been a dirty secret within the NFL for many years.
Now I have no information or evidence to prove this. I am only a conspiracy theorist and a hardcore NFL fan. But I truly believe this practice has been going on for many years and the punishment that Payton received, (a one year suspension and $8,000,000 fine) won’t deter it. The only thing the Saints were guilty of was getting caught.
Remember, football is a violent sport, played by hardened bad assess who don’t give a damn if they hurt someone or not. Men such as Deacon Jones, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Doug Atkins, Chuck Bednarik, Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, and Alex Karras were ruthless animals and didn’t think twice about their opponents well-being. The 1970s had quite possibly the 2 meanest teams in the history of sports itself. The Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s were beyond hard-nosed. They were vicious, unmerciful and downright evil!
The Raiders employed men who went by names such as “The Assassin”, “Dr. Death”, “The Hitman,” and “The Mad Stork.” The secondary alone was nicknamed The Soul Patrol and not because they were backup dancers to The Temptations.
The Steelers defence went by the moniker The Steel Curtain and when they hit you, it felt like 2 tons of steel coming at you at 100 miles an hour. “Mean” Joe Greene didn’t get that name by forcing players out-of-bounds. He kicked, clawed and head slapped you to the point of unconsciousness. Jack Lambert basically wanted to rip your head off if you dared cross into his territory. And Mel Blount admitted he targeted the head while delivering a hit.
I’m convinced these 2 teams had extra payoffs if someone was carted off, or knocked out of a game thanks to their collisions. One need to look no further than George Atkinson’s clubbing forearm of Lynn Swann, or Mel Blount piledriving Cliff Branch onto the turf.
You cannot tell me these hits didn’t come with some sort of payoffs included. Yes they got fined, but the rewards were much greater than the fines.
If you were wondering where Sean Payton may have gotten the idea of bounties, look no further than his mentor Bill Parcells. Payton was Parcells’ right hand man in Dallas from 2003 till 2005. No one will ever accuse Parcells of being warm and fuzzy. If anything Parcells was verbose and crude. All he cared about was winning football games and he would have steamrolled his own mother to win games. I go back to when Parcells was the head coach of the New York Giants back in the mid to late 1980s. You remember those Giant teams. Lawrence Taylor running over quarterbacks in between his cocaine parties. Harry Carson and Carl Banks stopping the run by any means necessary. Leonard Marshall and Jim Burt headhunting quarterbacks. Don’t believe me? Ask Joe Montana.
If you want more proof here’s Marshall’s hit on Montana during the 1990 NFC Championship game.
These hits were intended to injure Montana and I’m convinced Parcells paid Burt and Marshall a little extra bonus money for knocking out the greatest quarterback who ever lived.
Now did Payton or Williams pay a little extra to Saints defenders for trying to take out Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship game? It wouldn’t surprise me. History suggests it.
Yes the hits on Favre were nasty. Yes I do think the Saints did intend to injure Favre. Yes the Saints did receive some extra payoffs on the side. But I truly believe they are not the only ones.
Remember the Bounty Bowl between the Eagles and Cowboys in 1989? Buddy Ryan tried to injure the kicker! Yes THE KICKER!
Nice try NFL but that you only discovered now, what has been happening for many years leaves me to wonder, will it take a death on the field, before the bounties stop?
You can follow me on Twitter @jstar1973