January 16, 2018

Vikings-Saints Stock Market Report by Ted Glover

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Due to the later finish in Sunday’s Vikings-Saints divisional round game, I didn’t get to include the Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover assessing the game in his patented Stock Market Report format. Belatedly, here’s the Buy/Sell section for this game:


January 15, 2018

Vikings beat New Orleans Saints 29-24 in improbable finish to advance to NFC Championship game

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

The first half played out pretty much exactly as Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer game-planned it, allowing the New Orleans Saints no chance to score and reaching halftime with a 17-point lead. The second half didn’t go as anybody game-planned it, right down to the so-improbable-that-no-movie-director-would-ever-script-it last-second winning touchdown to clinch the game for Minnesota:


January 12, 2018

The wisdom of Zim Tzu, pre-divisional round edition

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

This Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings will host the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round. By league rules, the head coach of each team must address the media at least once before the game, and despite his deep revulsion for all things media-related, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer held the obligatory press conference earlier this week. As always, Zim Tzu does not dispense his wisdom lightly or to those who are incapable of comprehending the totality of his vision. For those benighted souls, the Daily Norseman gets their only black belt Zim Tzu disciple to provide an informed and educated translation of the guru’s brilliance, appropriately interpreted for the unwashed masses:


September 12, 2017

MNF – Vikings beat New Orleans Saints 29-19 in season opener

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

One of the bigger story lines coming in to Monday night’s game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings was the return of running back Adrian Peterson. After spending his entire career with the Vikings, he was clearly relishing the chance to play against his former team and provided lots of juicy quotes to the media about his plan to “stick it” to the Vikings. It didn’t quite work out the way he was hoping…

The Vikings’ expensively re-tooled offensive line — who didn’t play a single down together during the preseason — did a great job of protecting Sam Bradford. Right tackle Mike Remmers was responsible for one sack by Cameron Jordan, but otherwise the line largely kept the pressure away from Bradford. Without the need to constantly check down or run for his life (like most of the 2016 season), Bradford put in a very impressive performance, 27 of 32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns. The most impressive was a lightning-quick three play drive late in the first half that covered 74 yards and ended in a touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs.


August 31, 2017

“Harvey is not Katrina”

Nicole Gelinas on the crucial differences between the situation faced by New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and that currently faced by Houston after being inundated by Hurricane Harvey:

The Houston region has received record rain, more falling in less than a week than it usually does in a year, and at least 30 people, including a Houston police officer, have died. Harvey, however, is not Katrina. One measure of this difference is in electricity provision. After Katrina, New Orleans was almost entirely without power for weeks. In Houston, by contrast, 94 percent of customers still had power as of early Wednesday.

Though we won’t know for sure for a while, the fact that Houston has kept the power on is likely in part a legacy of infrastructure investment after previous storms. Five years ago, Hurricane Ike actually cut power to 95 percent of Houston. But, as NPR reported after the storm, the city’s power company, CenterPoint, took steps after Ike, as well as after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, to upgrade the grid, spending $400 million. Houston, helped by $50 million in federal money, cut down tens of thousands of trees along power lines and outfitted poles with the ability to re-route electricity away from damaged routes toward undamaged ones.

With power, hospitals can continue to operate; even Ben Taub Hospital, surrounded by water, kept the power on. Stores, too, have quickly begun to reopen. Power also means that people whose homes didn’t flood can stay put, lessening the burden on police to keep neighborhoods safe from looters. If the power stays on — as it should, now that worst of the storm is over — Houston should do well. If it goes out, the city will have far more serious problems.


Empty neighborhoods and business districts invite looting. Houston had already arrested 15 people as of late Tuesday for allegedly trying to steal everything from liquor to an ATM, and for attempted robbery, as well. These arrests, plus a nighttime curfew, are a good sign; after Katrina, New Orleans police officers failed to keep control over the city, both because of the severity of the damage, which left most of the city empty and dark, but also due to their longstanding poor performance. Harris County district attorney Kim Ogg and Houston police chief Art Acevado have already set the right tone to deter wrongdoing. Ogg said Tuesday that thieves “are going to feel the full weight of the law,” and Acevedo said he would push for tough sentences for people convicted. In New Orleans, by contrast, state and local officials’ apocalyptic invocation of “martial law,” rather than calm reliance on the rule of normal law, only exacerbated the sense of chaos.

With some, though not most, Houston neighborhoods now deserted, state law enforcement have a role to play here, as well, with federal support. A competent local police force will be busy, after a storm, in helping still-populated areas. In turn, state police and the National Guard, who have less experience interacting with people on a neighborhood level, can help by patrolling and securing empty areas. To that end, Texas has already activated the National Guard, adding 12,000 people to safety efforts, as well as for rescue and food distribution.

Oh, and as Caroline Baum points out, don’t be misled by idiotic claims that hurricane damage is somehow good for the economy:

You will no doubt hear assertions that the rebuilding effort will provide a boost to contractors, manufacturers and GDP in general. But before these claims turn into predictable nonsense about all the good that comes from natural disasters, I thought it might be useful to provide some context for these sorts of events.

The destruction wrought by a hurricane and flooding qualifies as a negative supply shock. Normal production and distribution channels are destroyed or disrupted. Producers have to find less-efficient (i.e. more expensive) ways to transport their goods. The net effect is lost output and income, and higher prices.

Over the years, I’ve observed a tendency among economists and traders to view such events through a demand-side prism. They see lost income translating into reduced spending on goods and services, which might even warrant some largesse from the central bank.

Of course, that is precisely the wrong medicine. Supply shocks reduce output and raise prices. The Federal Reserve’s interest-rate medicine affects demand. Lower interest rates will increase the demand for gasoline, among other goods and services, but they have no effect on supply. An easing of monetary policy under such circumstances would increase demand for already curtailed supply, raising prices even more.

But wait. What about all the new construction and investment necessitated by the devastation? Homeowners will have to rebuild. Businesses will have to replace destroyed or damaged plants and equipment. Pretty soon, we should start to hear about a boost to GDP growth.

In the short run, yes. But focus on the prefix, “re,” as in re-building and re-placing. After a natural disaster, housing starts are bound to increase, but there will be no net addition to the supply of homes. Capital spending will increase as well, but it will not expand the nation’s capital stock.

She also provides a link to this very topical essay by Frédéric Bastiat: That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen. In short, we see the spending caused by the need to repair damages (in this case from the flooding), but we don’t see what might have been done if the money hadn’t needed to be spent just to replace existing stock.

April 26, 2017

Former Viking Adrian Peterson to sign with New Orleans Saints

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Former league MVP to sign (a much smaller) deal with the New Orleans Saints for the 2017 season. Minnesota declined his option for this year partly because it carried an $18 million pricetag — significantly more than any other running back in the league. Chris Tomasson reports for the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Adrian Peterson finally has a new team.

The running back, who became a free agent March 9 after 10 seasons with the Vikings, told ESPN on Tuesday morning he will sign with the New Orleans Saints.

Peterson won’t have to wait long to run into his old team. The Saints open the season on Monday Night Football at Minnesota.

NFL Media reported on Monday that Peterson was close to deal with New Orleans. Peterson on Tuesday morning confirmed that, and gave ESPN contract details.

Peterson said his deal will be for one year with an option for a second year. He said he will make $3.5 million in guaranteed money in 2017, with $2.5 million being a signing bonus and $1 million guaranteed base salary. He said his 2018 option would include $3.5 million in non-guaranteed salary, with $2.4 million of it possible in roster bonsuses.

“I am excited to be joining the New Orleans Saints,” Peterson told ESPN. “I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit. Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings.

The NFL’s marketing department quickly fired up their copy of Photoshop to show AP in his new colours:

August 31, 2015

Ten years later – how the media covered Katrina

Filed under: History, Media, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

W. Joseph Campbell describes the media’s role in contributing to — and sometimes inventing — the persistent myths of what happened in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina made land-fall:

I call it the “myth of superlative reporting,” the notion that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s onslaught 10 years ago, journalists bravely held powerful officials accountable for their inept responses to a storm blamed for the deaths of 1,800 people.

Dan Rather, the former CBS News anchorman, gave voice to the “myth of superlative reporting,” describing Katrina coverage as “one of the quintessential great moments in television news,” ranking “right there with the Nixon/Kennedy debates, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate coverage, you name it.”

A quintessential great moment is was not.

The reporting of Katrina, as I wrote in my 2010 media-mythbusting book, Getting It Wrong, “was in important respects flawed and exaggerated. On crucial details, journalists erred badly, and got it wrong” in describing horrors the storm supposedly unleashed across New Orleans after making landfall east of the city on August 29, 2005.

Journalists reported snipers firing at medical personnel, I noted. They reported shots were fired at helicopters, halting evacuations from the Convention Center in New Orleans. They told of bodies being stacked like cordwood inside the Convention Center.

News reports also spoke of roving gangs that terrorized occupants of the Louisiana Superdome, where many people had taken shelter. The reports said children were victims of sexual assault, that one seven-year-old was raped and her throat was slit. They reported that sharks were plying the flooded streets of New Orleans.

None of those reports, as it turned out, was verified or substantiated.

“If anyone rioted,” said a bipartisan congressional report about Katrina, “it was the media.

“Many stories of rape, murder, and general lawlessness were at best unsubstantiated, at worst simply false.”

Erroneous and over-the-top reporting, I wrote in Getting It Wrong, “had the cumulative the effect of painting for America and the rest of the world a scene of surreal violence and terror, something straight out of Mad Max or Lord of the Flies.”

Here’s what I wrote ten years ago, based on the media reports coming out of Louisiana:


September 22, 2014

Vikings lose to Saints 20-9 in injury-filled game

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 00:02

I posted yesterday that I thought the leash on quarterback Matt Cassel might be getting shorter, after the horrible outing last weekend at home against the Patriots. Sunday’s game in New Orleans was starting to look like we had another instance of “Bad Matt” on our hands, but head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t have the chance to decide whether to make a quarterback change, as Cassel left the game midway through the first half with what was originally termed “turf toe”, but was later re-defined as “fractures in his foot”. Teddy Bridgewater came in to play the rest of the game — the Vikings only had Cassel and Bridgewater active, so rather than Christian Ponder, the emergency quarterback would have been next man up … and we haven’t had a definite word on who the emergency quarterback would have been. Cassel is definitely out for a prolonged period (possibly the entire season, if the MRI verdict is bad), and Bridgewater has been designated the starting quarterback for next week.

Aside from Cassel, other players who left the field due to injury included tight end Kyle Rudolph, right guard Brandon Fusco, linebacker Chad Greenway, and cornerback Josh Robinson. So if you’re keeping count, the Vikings are missing their starting QB (injury), starting RB (Adrian Peterson is on the Exempt list and away from the team indefinitely), starting RG (injury), starting TE (injury), backup WR (Jerome Simpson, who was cut this week for his continued legal issues), starting LB (injury), and backup CB (injury). That’s a full season’s worth of personnel changes in only three games.

While the game was hardly a thing of beauty, the team rallied around Bridgewater and the defence put in a much better performance in the second half and might have kept the Saints out of the endzone but for a badly timed penalty on Captain Munnerlyn which kept a scoring drive alive. When you don’t get a win, you look for positives, no matter how meaningless they might seem:

Of course, there were positives that were not meaningless, like the return of the intermediate-to-deep passing game:

Bridgewater’s debut wasn’t statistically eye-popping — 12 of 20 for 150 yards and a passer rating of 83.3, plus 27 yards rushing, but he made few mistakes and generally did everything you want your backup quarterback to do when inserted into a game part-way through. Cassel had not completed a pass longer than 15 yards in the first two games of the season (unless you count interceptions). It’s also interesting to note that Bridgewater didn’t play at Louisville until he replaced an injured quarterback in the third game of his rookie season, now he’s replaced an injured quarterback in the third game of his rookie professional season.

Despite the road loss, Ted Glover sees signs of life in the Vikings, particularly with Teddy at the helm:

When Matt Cassel was hurt early in the game, my Twitter timeline BLEW UP. Not because everyone was happy that Cassel got hurt (and seriously, if you did, you’re a terrible human being — get well soon Matt) but because it was Teddy Time, the moment we’d all been waiting for. And it was in about the most inopportune time one could ask a rookie quarterback to come in at — on the road in a very hostile environment, against a good team, down 10 points. His numbers weren’t sparkling (12/20 150 yards, 0/0…6 carries for 27 yards) but for a guy getting thrown into the fire, he looked good, and played well. He looked in command, and made some very good throws, including one to Greg Jennings on a frozen rope. It was a hell of an effort for a guy pretty much thrown to the wolves, and yeah, he missed some throws, especially a couple of easy swing passes to Jerick McKinnon that looked promising. And no, he didn’t engineer a touchdown, which was the first time since the Vikings didn’t score a TD in a game since 2010. But there was so much to like in the debut, that you can’t help but be encouraged that the Vikings maybe, finally, have stability at the quarterback position.

Update: A Final Dispatch From The Teddy Bridgewater Underground. ¡Viva la Revolución!

February 4, 2013

CBS Sports fumbles during SuperBowl blackout

Filed under: Football, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:23

In the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman asks why CBS didn’t bother to do any actual “journalism” about the blackout:

The fans inside the Superdome were not the only ones left in the dark when half the building’s power went out in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII Sunday night. Viewers were left with unanswered questions as CBS Sports’ sideline reporters, and the rest of the cast, failed to go into a reporting mode.

There was no outrage, no questioning how a thing like this could happen on the NFL’s biggest night of the year.

At a time when they should have been aggressively gathering news, CBS’ crew was satisfied with the crumbs the NFL dropped on them. And they swallowed the scraps gladly. Not once during the 34-minute delay did a representative of the National Football League appear on camera to attempt to explain what caused half the Superdome to lose power. Why should they? No one from CBS put any pressure on them.

[. . .]

Think about it. CBS pays billions for the right to air NFL games. Much of that dough is shelled out to secure rights to the Super Bowl. So, on the big night, there is a major screwup and the NFL won’t put someone on the air — and CBS won’t push the league — to try to explain what’s going on? That’s mind-boggling.

But not quite as wacked as CBS’ laid-back approach to reporting this story, which will go down as one of the more unusual moments in Super Bowl history. All the players were on the field, waiting, stretching. Why not take a camera and microphone on the sidelines for an interview? If they blow you off, fine — at least viewers would have something worth watching.

May 2, 2012

The real NCAA scandal is how they treat the student athletes

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:05

Gregg Easterbrook’s annual post-draft column spends a bit of time excoriating the NCAA for its massively misplaced ethical priorities:

The draft had been in progress more than a day when the Sinners finally chose, having traded their first choice and lost their second in Sinnersgate. New Orleans’s first selection was Akiem Hicks, who played eight-game seasons at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, going there after the NCAA blackballed him for recruiting violations. Nakia Hogan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune describes the deeply shocking abuses of which Hicks was guilty:

“In 2009, Hicks transferred to LSU from Sacramento City Community College. … But Hicks was mired in a minor recruiting violation and never got to play at LSU. The school discovered potential violations associated with impermissible telephone calls to Hicks in the recruitment process, impermissible transportation before and after his arrival at LSU, impermissible housing and reduced-rent at an apartment complex in Baton Rouge in the three months before his enrollment at LSU, and the purchase of one meal by a football office student worker.”

Impermissible telephone calls! Three months of help with rent money! One free meal! Lock him up and throw away the key!

The description of Hicks’ blackballing sums up everything offensive about NCAA hypocrisy. Not only is it theater of the absurd that the NCAA punishes telephone calls. Not only do college kids always need help with the rent — if a kid from an upper-class family who was applying to LSU got trust fund money for his rent and meals, no one would blink. The real scandal is that the NCAA punishes phone calls but could not care less about graduation rates.

In the year Hicks tried to enter LSU, the federal graduation rate for the LSU football program was 42 percent, compared to 56 percent for the school as a whole. (Find any Division I sport program’s graduation statistics here.) The NCAA took no action on that.

College football players are creating hundreds of millions of dollars of value that goes to fund luxury living by coaches, college administrators and NCAA staff, but are not getting educations in return. Each passing day brings more evidence of the Taylor Branch “new plantation” analysis of big-college sports. As big-college coaches and NCAA administrators dine at four-star restaurants, one hungry kid gets one free meal — that must be punished! The horror, the horror!

April 23, 2012

Yet another New Orleans Saints scandal

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 15:21

A new report at the ESPN website:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told Friday that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons, “Outside the Lines” has learned.

Sources familiar with Saints game-day operations told “Outside the Lines” that Loomis, who faces an eight-game suspension from the NFL for his role in the recent bounty scandal, had the ability to secretly listen for most of the 2002 season, his first as general manager of the Saints, and all of the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The sources spoke with “Outside the Lines” under the condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals from members of the Saints organization.

[. . .]

Under Article No. 9 of the Constitution and Bylaws of the NFL, which lists “Prohibited Conduct,” the league specifically bans the use of “…videotape machines, telephone tapping or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic device that might aid a team during the playing of a game.”

“That would be a stupendous advantage if you had that,” said Rick Venturi, who was the team’s defensive coordinator during the period the sources said Loomis could eavesdrop on opposing coaches.

“That’s shocking,” Venturi said, when told of the allegations. “I can tell you if we did it, nobody told me about it. … Nobody ever helped me during a game.”

March 22, 2012

More on the New Orleans Saints

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:30

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.

March 21, 2012

NFL hands down punishments in Saints’ bounty hunting scandal

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 13:56

The NFL has finally announced what penalties it will assess against the New Orleans Saints and individual coaches for the bounty scheme the team ran (individual penalties against players who took part have not yet been disclosed):

  • Saints’ head coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay from NFL activities for one year.
  • Former Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended without pay indefinitely. The NFL will review his case after the 2012 season. This will also hurt the St. Louis Rams who hired Williams this season.
  • General manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for eight games.
  • Assistant head coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for six games.
  • Loss of the Saints’ second-round draft pick in both 2012 and 2013.
  • A $500,000 fine on the club.

The penalties for the 22 or more individual players are apparently being held until the NFL Players Association can complete its own investigation into the scheme.

Earlier posts on this issue here and here.

Update: As several people have pointed out, this has a commonality with a lot of political scandals, in that the original sin is compounded by the cover-up attempts. It’s pretty much a certainty that this wasn’t the only bounty program in the league, and the penalty would likely have been much less if the Saints hadn’t worked so hard — as an organization — to cover it up after the initial accusation was made.

March 7, 2012

Perhaps the NFL doesn’t want too many people watching the 2009 NFC championship game right now

Filed under: Football, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:03

I retweeted a post from the Daily Norseman yesterday to the effect that the NFL Network had, without warning, pulled a scheduled re-broadcast of the 2009 NFC championship between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. Gregg Easterbrook perhaps explains why:

The Vikings-Saints NFC title game two years ago may have been where the Saints’ deliberate rule-breaking was worst. Immediately after that game, I wrote, “Saints players came after [Brett] Favre so hard — four times slamming him in ways that invited late-hit or roughing penalties, only two of which were called — Williams [seems to have] told his charges something along the lines of, ‘Pound Favre every time you can; we will take a couple of roughing flags in return for making an old guy worry about the next hit.'”

So did I do a good job by noting two years ago what is suddenly considered obvious? No, I did a terrible job. Yesterday I watched every New Orleans defensive snap of that game and found four, not two, instances in which unnecessary roughness should have been called against the Saints but was not. In retrospect, my column should have led with dirty play by the Saints. The four unnecessary roughness penalties that were not called:

  • On the game’s first snap, Favre handed off, turned away from the play and was hammered with a forearm to the chin by New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita. Not only should a personal foul have been called — Fujita should have been ejected on the game’s first offensive snap. Instead, no call. Scott, were you paid for behaving like a street thug?
  • At 6:14 of the first quarter, after Favre released a pass he was hit with a forearm to the chin by safety Roman Harper. No flag. Roman, were you paid for delivering that cheap shot?
  • At 4:15 of the first quarter, Favre released a pass and then Darren Sharper slammed him in the chest with a foreman. No flag. Darren, were you paid for having low standards?
  • At 13:29 of the second quarter, Favre released a pass and then was hurled to the ground by Bobby McCray. No flag. Bobby, were you paid for doing something you should be ashamed of?

Reviewing the tape, another aspect of the game jumped out at me that I missed when watching live, and so far as I can tell, all sportscasters and commentators missed, too. Beginning midway through the first quarter, whenever Favre handed off, he immediately ran backward 10 yards — to get away from New Orleans late hits.

And the assistant coach who ran the bounty operation? What a piece of work he is:

Gregg Williams has a classy first name, but may be a man of twisted values. Monday on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Mike Pesca dug up audio of Williams speaking after the Saints’ Super Bowl win. Williams says, “My whole life … I’ve been trying to get people to play nastier.” Can he seriously think lack of aggression is a problem in football? Williams also had this to say about his two sons’ youth football days: “I told their little league coaches my kids will play fast, they’re going to play nasty, they’re going to play tough. Tell the rest of the babies around them to speed up.”

What kind of a man boasts that his sons are nasty and denounces as “babies” 10-year-olds who want to participate in a sport safely? Williams needs to take a long look in the mirror — and by his distorted values, he has forfeited any claim to a leadership role.

The NFL has a bigger problem than figuring out how to discipline the New Orleans Saints players and coaching staff. Perhaps that is why no penalties have yet been announced. The bigger problem for the NFL is that they need to retain the aggression and the passion, yet clearly enforce and be seen to enforce the rules against deliberate attempts to harm other players. If they miss this opportunity, expect politicians (in an election year where media exposure is even more important than usual) to jump in and start trying to do it for them.

March 3, 2012

New Orleans to rename NFL team after “bounty hunting” revealed

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:05

Football is a fast, hard, dangerous game. But the New Orleans Saints made it that bit more dangerous for their opponents by offering head-hunting bonuses for injuring players during the game. This is against NFL rules, and it’s rather surprising to find that players earning hundreds of thousands per year could be motivated by such relatively trivial sums ($1,000 to $1,500 for knocking players out of the game):

The National Football League on Friday found the New Orleans Saints guilty of a wide-ranging system of bounty payments to between 22 and 27 defensive players from 2009 through 2011, and player-safety-conscious commissioner Roger Goodell could bring the hammer down very hard on the franchise.

The most alarming finding by the league, according to one club source who was briefed on the investigation late Friday afternoon, was this: Before the 2009 NFC Championship Game, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered any defensive teammate $10,000 in cash to knock then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game. Favre was hit viciously several times in the game. Favre told SI.com Friday evening: “I’m not pissed. It’s football. I don’t think anything less of those guys.”

The details of Vilma’s offer were in a report to the 32 NFL owners, sent out by the league to detail further what the league’s 50,000-page investigation found.

Early indications late Friday afternoon were that the sanctions against the Saints and their former defensive coordinator who the league said administered the bounties, Gregg Williams, will be severe. The league said the penalties could include suspensions, fines and loss of draft choices — the latter of which could be particularly damaging to the Saints, who do not own a first-round pick this year. Their first choice will be late in the second round, the 59th overall … unless Goodell takes the pick away.

Football is a rough sport, but Goodell needs to crack down on this with enough force to send a message to the entire league. Taking away New Orleans’ draft picks would certainly be a punishment of that magnitude.

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