Saturday, March 3, 2012
BREAKING:::NFL CONFIRMS THING VIKING FANS KNEW FOR PAST 2 YEARS
As I'm sure you've all heard by now, being the educated, well-read individuals you are: the NFL has confirmed that the Saints defense had a bounty program dating back to the 2009 season. This news comes as no surprise to anyone who watched the Saints play in the 2009 playoffs. Before today, the depressing memory of a 3rd failed NFC Championship bid in my lifetime had been supressed deep into my subconscious. After today, the recollection of 'balls on the ground, balls on the ground' and the Ol' Dongslinger's ankle even more swollen than mine is currently (intramurals mishap) is fresh and stinging like a wound reopened. Breathe it in, Vikings fans. We all knew they were trying to hurt Favre. For Pete's sake, they tackled him on a run play 3 steps after he handed it off in that game (among many other obvious cheapshots that the league admitted to missing a week later). The Saints may not have succeeded in their bid to knock the toughest quarterback to ever play the game out of it, but on that fatal across-the-body interception, every Viking fan in the universe was screaming "RUN FOR IT!"
Favre had all the green he needed right in front of him. Hell, there may as well have been tickets to Miami sitting on the other side of that down marker as far as I'm concerned. If Favre runs those 12 feet and slides, he walks off, and we trot on the most accurate kicker in the league. I would've liked our odds. But after absorbing a brutal high-low hit only minutes earlier that nearly took him out of the game, he just mentally cashed in. We all know how the rest of that story goes. But you know what? We aren't allowed to care about this. If any team wanted to stop their quarterback from getting murdered, there was an easy and obvious answer: do it right back. My dad claims to not care about sports, but he watches them, knows a ton about them, and always said exactly that when we talked about the '09 NFC Championship. He'd say, "if we didn't want them to hit our quarterback dirty, after the first shot, Hutch or Kleinsasser or anybody needed to tell them, 'if that's how you want to play, we're taking out Brees' knees.'" He's absolutely right. If we didn't want our quarterback being hit illegally, we should've sent Letroy Guion or Fred Evans or Jayme Mitchell out and had him roll up on the Breesus. I bet if the 2009 Vikings had that attitude, we wouldn't have lost that game.
For anyone who follows big-time college football and the NFL closely, this bounty stuff isn't a groundbreaking case. Judging the response from the NFL player community, it isn't something that's even irregular. This may have just been an operation that got too big to ignore, since it was known about from the front office all the way down. I mean, nobody needed to do an investigation to tell me the Saints were trying to hurt their opponents' key players in 2009. There are surely many facts that will come out in the following days, and I'd like to admit I didn't read the report in full detail. My first question would have to be who instituted this practice. I know Gregg Williams is taking the majority of the heat on this one so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if Jon Vilma was heavily associated with it either. My reasoning on this (BESIDES the 10K he reportedly put on Favre's head in the NFC Championship) is Vilma is an alumni of my favorite college football program, the University of Miami. Despite it's many accolades, the program has also gained infamy over an "alleged" bounty pool run by 2 Live Crew frontman Uncle Luke. If nothing else, the bounty culture was certainly nothing that made Jon Vilma uncomfortable. EDIT: News has come out that both the Redskins and Bills had similar bounty programs during times Williams was coaching there.
At this point, I need to be clear that I don't think we should be mad about this. I'm sure they would have been gunning for Favre in that game even if there were no bounties. Still, that game made me hate the Saints.So I am nothing but excited about the fact that we'll soon find out what the worst punishment in NFL history looks like as a small consolation. The actions of Roger Goodell will be swift and impactful., because this is the first time something like this has ever happened. After dust settles, the SpyGate punishment will look like a weekend retreat. I can only hope that the punishment is 1/100th as devastating on the Saints' franchise and fans as the loss in '09 was for us. Unlikely, since it most definitely won't bring a Lombardi trophy to Minnesota, but cross your fingers. Perhaps the Rog will choose to crucify his only son, the Breesus, to pay for the sins of the Saints. More likely, players involved will be suspended for at least 2 games, and I would not be surprised to see as high as 8 games for the most poignant offenders. Gregg Williams and Sean Payton will also likely be suspended or potentially lose their jobs following this, along with the fines that are sure to be well over the 500K Bill Belichick forked over for his part in SpyGate. Finally, the Saints stand to lose a few draft picks along with a substantially larger amount of cash than what Payton and Williams are fined. Good thing those Cajuns like things spicy... because this one is gonna burn more than Snoop Dogg in Jamaica fresh off of a glaucoma diagnosis.