“Skol Girl” writes at Daily Norseman on the less obvious victims of the bounty program defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran:
A few years back a close friend of mine was working in France and she said that one of the business metaphors frequently used to try to encourage a sense of working together was American football. She said the French business people used American football as a metaphor because they felt it was one of the best examples of nothing getting accomplished truly on one’s own. Even the most novice football fan would probably agree, nobody in American football carries the show single-handedly. Just as a combination of players can help a single player make a play, so too can a single player undo the work of everyone else on the field.
Well, in New Orleans, the defense just tainted and, basically, undid everything that the other players on the team worked for during that Championship* season. Drew Brees may have had nothing to do with the bounties, heck, he might not have even known about the bounty program, but his legacy as a player has the same asterisk next to it that Darren “X Marks the Spot” Sharper has.
A lot of players talking about what they miss after they retire from football say they miss the camaraderie of the locker room. That’s one of the reasons Brett Favre gave for returning to the Vikings in 2010 after the pounding he took during that NFC Championship game against the Saints. But the non-bounty program players on the Saints have to be feeling like their comrades just dinged them in the nuts.
The same goes for the Saints’ fans. In 2006 New Orleans was still fresh from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina when the Saints brought Drew Brees in from sunny San Diego. Brees and Payton had a great connection that produced some great on-field play and it gave Saints fans something to enjoy, something good to identify with–the sense that their team was coming back swinging just like they were. The team might not have originated all the messianic overtones that went along with choosing to stay in the rebuilding city, but they certainly benefited from them. So did the NFL, which loved and promoted the inspirational storyline that mirrored the Saints journey with that of the damaged, but recovering, city.