Thursday, October 8, 2015

gregg williams

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On Wednesday, the NFL came down hard on the New Orleans Saints organization, head coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis, and Rams Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams for the parts they played in the “BountyGate” scandal.

Commissioner Roger Goodell was very heavy handed in dealing with those that broke the rules, and stomped upon the competitive spirit of the game, and he hasn’t even gotten to the players yet.  The odds seem good that those penalties will be quite stiff, as well.

However, the league can punish those guilty of the infractions all they want, but there is still going to be an empty feeling for those that were on the receiving end of the wrongdoings.

On two relatively recent occasions the NFL has punished cheaters while simultaneously providing the “victims” with reparations as an attempt to make up for the transgressions.

Today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a huge statement when he brought the hammer down on the New Orleans Saints for their bounty program. And while this isn’t exactly Vikings news, we felt that the punishment should be mentioned here since we’ve touched on the subject off and on since it came into the news.

No, the Vikings don’t get any compensatory picks. We don’t get a re-do of the NFC Championship game. The Saints didn’t lose their Superbowl ring. The Vikings will be compensated in no way, shape or form (for all you hoping they would be). But they did receive a punishment far more extreme than anything the likes of the NFL has ever seen. Seriously – it’s crazy.

The punishment (according to ESPN):

  1. Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams suspended indefinitely from the NFL.
  2. Head coach Sean Payton suspended (without pay) for one year. Roger Goodell will meet with Payton after the 2012 season to determine the coach’s status.
  3. General Manager Mickey Loomis suspended for 8 games (without pay).
  4. Loss of the Saints second round pick in both 2012 and 2013.
  5. A fine of $500,000.
  6. Assistant Coach Joe Vitt suspended 6 games (without pay) and fined $100,000.
  7. The players and coaches involved will be required to participate in efforts by the NFL to educate others on the importance of the respect for the game and those who participate in it. Their safety, sportsman-like conduct, etc…

In regards to the punishment, Goodell said,

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game… We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised… A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious… When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”

It is expected that there will also be punishments for the 22 of 27 players involved eventually.

One thing to keep an eye out for is if this has any effect on what the Vikings do with Remi Ayodele. It seems he’s already been displaced by some of the free-agency moves made so far this off-season. If he is one of the 22 players that will eventually (assumingly) be punished by the NFL, it may be wise for the Vikings to just cut their ties now.

Oh yeah, and since we’re already talking about things that aren’t really Vikings news… Tim Tebow is a Jet. Don’t you just love football?

NFL players continue to come to the aid of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in light of the recent bounty scandal. One of them, Darren Sharper (ex-Packer, Vikings and Saints safety), apparently hasn’t gotten the memo that Williams has already confessed and apologized for providing incentives for players to play with the intent of injuring their competition. Last Friday, Darren Sharper told reporters that there were only incentives for making big plays (such as interceptions, fumbles, etc…), not for injuring the opponent. Sharper was back at it today when he did an interview for a Philadelphia radio station.

“Saying that we were trying to maim guys or try to cart a guy off is just totally ridiculous… I don’t think Coach Peyton had anything or didn’t know anything about that. Coach Peyton didn’t have any idea what we were doing… Was it overseen and controlled by the coaching staff? Yes it was.”

I mean, seriously? Doesn’t Sharper have someone that can keep him informed and up-to-date on this stuff? It would really serve Sharper well to just shut up – something he’s never been capable of.

Fred Smoot is another one of the mindless fools that has come to the aid of Gregg Williams. Smoot played under Williams for two years with the Redskins. It has been reported, since the news broke about the bounty system in place in New Orleans, that Williams had implemented similar incentive programs during previous employment with the Redskins and the Bills. Smoot smooted,

“We started a pot as a defensive backfield of who could get the most forced fumbles, who could get the most interceptions… It was never a bounty… Gregg never put in a dime. Gregg never came in and said do this, or do that. We did that ourselves as a way to kind of pump each other up to go make more plays… He never coached dirty football… I never saw anyone paid for knocking someone out of the game. Did we, as players, put in pots to make plays, what we called ‘big splash plays?’ We did that. Players.”

Smoot’s defense of his former defensive coordinator directly contradicts the detailed account of former safety Matt Bowen who was also with the Redskins under Williams.What’s funny is that even if there was no bounties placed on injuries and it was just for interceptions, sacks, etc… it still violates the NFL cap rules.

In other news, amidst all of the turmoil taking place in New Orleans (whether it be due to the bounty news or franchising Drew Brees), the Saints have also found time to bring in Randy Moss for workouts. Rumor is the Saints want to bring in the veteran wide receiver to help clean up the locker room culture and encourage players to play for the love of the game instead of monetary incentives. (I kid…) But seriously, the Saints are one of the few teams planned to be bringing in #84 for workouts.

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If there was ever an NFL punter that weighed in on every league-wide issue to the extent that one had to assume he wants to work in football following his career as a player, it is Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

Kluwe has never shied away from making his opinions known, even when the topic may result in him shunning a fellow player, and “bountygate” has proven to be no different.

It threatens the image of the game.  When you look at an NFL game…you don’t want to think that guys are out there actively trying to hurt each other. NFL’s a violent game. We all know the risks when we step on the field. Granted, as a punter, I don’t face those risks quite as much as other people. At the same time there’s a chance a guy’s going to hit you, injuries happen, that’s part of the game, that’s why people are interested in it. But what people aren’t interested in seeing, unless they’re sadistic twisted people, is guys that are actively trying to hurt other people. That’s not part of what makes the NFL the most popular sport in America.

As a player you don’t want to believe guys are out there trying to hurt other guys.  It’s a dangerous game and that’s without trying to hurt other people. You’re in a lot of vulnerable positions and it’s really an issue of trust. Players have to be able to trust each other that if you’ve got a guy in a vulnerable position…you have to trust that a guy’s not going to dive into your knee and end your career. Because if that starts happening teams are going to retaliate. Then all of a sudden it starts escalating and you get superstars that are done.

Kluwe didn’t stop there.  He went above and beyond surmising how scandals like this one can damage the game of football, and continued on to single out a few individuals and provide his suggestion for their punishment.

“I think that Vilma and Williams should be banned from football for life. And any of the guys that took money on a hit that injured someone should be suspended for at least a year.” Kluwe added, “You have to make a serious example out of what has gone on here.”

As more details begin to trickle out regarding this mess, I have to say, it is difficult to disagree with out outspoken punter on this one.

Well, shoot, here I thought the post below this one was me taking an unpopular and unique stance on the whole “bountygate” brouhaha.

Guess not.

In the hours since I penned that plenty of others have suggested the practice of bounty hunting in the NFL is no surprise, that the Saints simply got caught, and I have even seen suggestions elsewhere that the NFL should punish them by taking away their rights to a 2012 franchise tag.

Now, I know the Vikings aren’t the only team affected over the last two or three years by Gregg Williams and his unacceptable bounty program, but it is clear they are among the most affected.

Reports have emerged that prior to the 2009 NFC Championship game linebacker Jonathan Vilma threw ten grand on a table and said it would go the player that knocked quarterback Brett Favre out of the game.

As us Vikings fans remember well, that game featured plenty of cheap shots to Favre and it was quite a feat that he was able to finish the game (badly).  This scandal also brings up memories of Adrian Peterson indicating Jabari Greer excessively twisted his ankle on the bottom of a pile in 2011, which nearly caused him to lose his cool.

We know the Saints are going to get punished and I still think there is a case to be made that the team should have their franchise tag revoked this offseason, but is this a case in which the NFL’s punishment should include payment to the team(s) affected by the broken rules?

It wouldn’t be the first time the league did something like that.

In 2008, the NFL found that the 49ers had been tampering with Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs, talking contract with him before they had the right to do so, and San Francisco had to forfeit their fifth round draft pick as a result.  The two teams were also forced to swap third round picks, increasing Chicago’s draft position in that round.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that plenty of other factors didn’t play into the Vikings loss to the Saints that postseason (ahem, twelve men in the huddle), but there could be a slight chance that the team is in line to receive compensation of some sort for being on the receiving end of Williams’ tactics.

Let’s hear it Vikings Territory, do you think the Vikings should get something out of this?  If so, what should they get?

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