Hey there, gang. . .yes, I'm still in Las Vegas on vacation, but I got up a little early while Mrs. Gonzo is sleeping in this morning. So, I would like to take a little bit to elaborate a bit more on my thoughts about the story we got into here yesterday, wherein the team that was suspected of being the dirtiest team in the National Football League was confirmed as being the dirtiest team in the National Football League.
(Thanks to the folks from Fantasy Sports Factory and their logo generator for giving me a means to create the logo to the right there. I don't have any experience with Photoshop or anything like that, so that's the best I can give you at the moment. If anyone can come up with a better version, please feel free to do so and place it in the comments section.)
We managed to get through yesterday with only one troll having been here to run his mouth, but we all know the situations that we've been in with fans of that particular team. We knew that their team was dirty, and we were simply told that we were "whining" or that we were "jealous" or any number of other stupid assessments. But, it turns out that. . .as usual. . .we were exactly right. The 2009 New Orleans Saints were, quite simply, not good enough to beat the 2009 Minnesota Vikings in a straight-up football game. . .so they had to take cheap shots in order to get the job done. If anybody deserves to have the biggest moment in their team's history tainted with something like this, it's those people.
"Hey, maybe you should have protected your quarterback a little better." Well, hey, maybe your franchise. . .all the way up to the general manager (who was told to put a stop to it by the team's owner after HE got wind of it). . .shouldn't have been running a fricking bounty program in violation of National Football League rules.
More after the jump.Obviously, the first justification for this is that, "Well, this is the National Football League. Everybody does something like this!" Give me a break. You really think that the coaching staffs and general managers of 31 other National Football League teams are in on something like this? Because my guess would be that they are not. Is it quite possible that players give each other extra incentives for making plays on the field? I'm guessing that they do, sure. If you can't tell the difference between that and a member of a coaching staff reaching into his own pocket to pay for those same sorts of things while the head coach and general manager (both of whom have full knowledge of the situation) stand around with their thumbs jammed firmly in their asses, then really, do yourself a favor and just stop watching football all together.
Because that's the difference. Every week, players from teams across the National Football League get little slips in their lockers from the National Football League telling them they need to cut a check to the league office for something they did. We've seen it before from players like Jared Allen and Kevin Williams on our own team. That's the thing, though. . .those players end up paying for their transgressions in some way, shape, or form. How were the New Orleans Saints punished for their cheap shot artistry? It was an awful punishment. . .they were allowed to take the Minnesota Vikings' rightful place in Super Bowl XLIV. Oh, the humanity!
But even if "every other team does it," only one team was openly stupid and brazen enough about it to get caught. And for that, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
Now, we all know. . .or, at least, we hope. . .that the Saints are going to get hammered for this. Draft picks, fines, yadda yadda yadda. But there is one penalty that absolutely, positively needs to come out of this.
When the dust settles and the smoke clears on this one. . .if Gregg Williams is still allowed to coach anywhere in the National Football League in any capacity, then the system will have failed. Williams not only knew that this program was going on, but was an active participant in it, reaching into his own pocket to pay players for their "deeds." Yesterday, after this story came to light, he issued
an apology a statement.
"It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it," Williams said. "Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again."
Here's the funny thing about that. . .apparently, Williams had the same sort of system in place at one of his previous jobs, when he was the defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. Gregg Williams isn't "truly sorry" about what he and his players did while he was the Saints' defensive coordinator. . .he's "truly sorry" that he was too damn stupid to cover it up better.
And this isn't said with any animosity towards the St. Louis Rams, the team that this rat swam to when he jumped off the sinking ship a few weeks ago. But really. . .fool the league once, shame on you. Fool the league twice, shame on them. Can anyone give a really compelling reason why this jackass should have an opportunity to fool the league a third time? Coaching in the NFL is not a right. . .it's a privilege. And Gregg Williams has shown, beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt, that he is unworthy of such a privilege.
As far as the other players in this farce. . .let's start with Jonathan Vilma. Unlike Mr. Vilma. . .and a good number of the fans that cheer his team on. . .I'm not going to sit here and actively hope for him or any of his teammates to get hurt. However, I hearken back to when one of Vilma's teammates said "X marks the spot" when talking about the surgery that Brett Favre had on his ankle prior to the 2010 season opener. We all know, now, what Darren Sharper meant by that. Because of the actions of Mr. Vilma and his teammates, there's going to be a lot of players in black, white, and gold uniforms next season that are going to have a lot of "X's" marking a lot of "spots." Now, again, do I want that sort of thing to happen? Nope. . .but in the event that it does, you sure as hell aren't going to see any tears from this guy.
Moving on, we have head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis, both of whom were fully aware of the situation and neither of whom did anything about it. Loomis was even ordered by Saints' ownership to put a stop to the program, and did not. Now, I don't know about you folks, but in most of the civilian jobs I worked prior to enlisting in the Air Force, when your boss told you to do something and you straight-up didn't do it, bad things had a tendency to happen. Is anything bad going to happen to either Loomis or Payton? I have my doubts. Why? Because of this steaming pile that Benson threw out there yesterday.
"I have been made aware of the NFL’s findings relative to the "Bounty Rule" and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."
The man didn't even have the testicular fortitude to offer an apology. What on earth makes you think he's going to have the stones to fire people over this? Hopefully the National Football League will take the decision out of his hands.
And speaking of the NFL. . .did it really take two full seasons to come to this conclusion? Really? Seriously? Was it really that important for you to bask in the happy afterglow of these jerks "rising up from the ashes" or whatever B.S. platitudes people threw in their direction?
Yeah, it sure was a "feel good" story. How good do you feel about them now, Commish? If I were you, I'd be embarrassed to have perpetuated such a fraud for as long as you and yours did.
In this life, people have a tendency to get what's coming to them. The New Orleans Saints, and the segment of their fans that thought cheap shots were a wonderful thing, are about to get theirs. Does it mean we get to go back and replay Super Bowl XLIV against the Colts to see who the real best team from the 2009 NFL season is? Nope. It would be awesome if we could, but it isn't going to happen. As fans of the Minnesota Vikings, we like to see the good guys win, that's for sure.
But sometimes, it's just as much fun to watch the bad guys lose.
Enjoy your asterisk, New Orleans. You most certainly have earned it.