Player Bounties, Part of the Game?
We have all recently heard about the Saints bounty scandal, and now more players and coaches are acknowledging their existence, are bounties part of the game? This is not something new. Bounties have been around probably since the game began.
Think back, there was the bounty bowl between the Eagles and Cowboys where is was alleged that Buddy Ryan put bounties on QB Troy Aikman and K Luis Zendajas. Zendajas left the game with a concussion after a hard hit. The NFL actually touted the rematch of these two games as Bounty Bowl II. Then there was the Packers Charles Martin who wore a towel with Chicago Bears players numbers on it. He threw Bears QB Jim McMahon to the ground violently and separated his shoulder, thus Ending his and the Bears season. Former NFL WR and current NFL analyst Chris Carter stated in a recent interview “I put bounties on guys. If a guy tried to take me out, guy takes a cheap shot on me? I put a bounty on him right now!” asked if they carried financial incentives, “absolutely”
So, why has the NFL come down with harsh penalties now against the Saints? Easy, its about money on different levels. First, after the lawsuit led by Jim McMahon was filed by NFL players and families stating the league did not protect players and inform them of the harm that could be done after concussions. Second, the league does not want bounties being put on the leagues superstars. Not having the big names playing could cost the NFL dollars in the long run.
Football is a violent game by nature, “blowing a player up” is part of the game and the players mentality. Although I feel these penalties and suspensions will not end “bounty programs” maybe it will curtail it a bit. After all, as much as fans like to see big hits, we wouldn’t love the sport without its biggest stars.