Don't start. I know. I shouldn't even be paying attention to "American" football (a badly misnamed sport).
headline about Coach Sean Payton of the Saints getting banned for a year because of "bounties", I couldn't help but peruse the article. And giggle.
Let's start with perspective. Peyton Manning (quarterback extraordinaire) just signed a deal worth $95,000,000 over 5 years. For the mathematically challenged, that's about 19 million per year. I must assume this is because the Bronco's think he'll take them to the Superbowl. 19 million per year is a pretty nice bounty.
However, the NFL forbids awarding players with "non-contract" bonuses. Whatever that means. You also can't award players for defeating certain teams or opponents. Yet, they get a trophy for winning their division and the Superbowl. Isn't that a bounty for defeating an opponent and a specific team? You run a football league largely popular because of the competitiveness of the athletes and you have the audacity to try and limit their competitiveness with a stupid rule?
Let's get to the bounties and the $95,000,000 perspective. Saint's defense players were given "bonuses" of $1000 for hitting someone so hard they had to be carted off the field. They were given $1500 for hitting someone so hard they had to leave the game. I don't know if that latter bonus degraded over time. Is it worth as much to have someone removed from the game during the fourth quarter?
Another perspective. The NFL hands out fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for "illegal" hits. So these guys get $1500 for taking someone out by hitting them below the knees and then the NFL honors them with a $500,000 fine. And making bounties "against the rules" is helpful to preventing injuries how?
These guys are making millions per year and you think they are going to be inspired by a $1500 "bounty"? It's just a bit more pleasant than putting a gold star on their helmet. However, it does increase the competitiveness and I imagine these guys live to compete. They also gave "illegal" bounties for trivial things like interceptions. I can't fathom the reason those are against the rules.
The really cool thing is that the Saints won the Superbowl during this bounty era. I'm giving full credit to Coach Payton. Jerry Jones should offer the man a job immediately.
Oh wait, he was the assistant coach of the Dallas Cowboys back in 2003. Assistant to Parcells. I wonder why they didn't come up with the bounty program back then. We may have done better.
Interestingly, they placed extra bounties on people like Aaron Rogers and Brett Favre (a whopping $5000). I didn't see any mention of Tony Romo. I guess there is some silver lining to playing consistently inconsistent. Even the evil opposing bounty hunting team doesn't want to see the backup quarterback (who may actually win the game).
I think I'm going to hate the NFL more this year than I did last year. I say let the coaches motivate their players however they can. They're dealing with a bunch of rich kids and bad attitudes. Or better yet, ruin the game by punishing the coaches who are trying to make it fun.