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T.J. SIMERS

Spare the anger over a bounty system in the NFL

Football fans love the hard hits, and to pretend to be upset over the Saints' supposed payments for taking players out is ridiculous.

March 05, 2012|T.J. Simers
  • Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tries to unload a pass before taking a hit from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in the AFC championship game last season.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tries to unload a pass before taking a hit… (Al Bello / Getty Images )

Please, enough with the moral outrage.

News flash: NFL players were paid to knock players out of games, as if they weren't going to try to do the same if not paid extra?

You hypocrites, every one of you.

You love this game because people try to send other people into tomorrow without remembering what happened today.

Violence is as critical to the success of the NFL as the ability to bet on games or play fantasy football.

Do you really believe a bounty system increases that violence? Makes the game more savage than it really is?

Ray Lewis picks up dirt during Super Bowl introductions and is celebrated for his intensity for copying Russell Crowe's preparation for mayhem in "Gladiator."

Do you think Lewis backs off a quarterback if he's not being paid extra for a "cart-off" collision?

Plaschke writes about the damage done to Brett Favre and Kurt Warner: "At the time, we thought we were watching a clean hit. Turns out, we were watching a hired assault."

It's not as if defenders were hitting Favre and Warner with crowbars in an attempt to be paid extra. And I presume they would still have thought about clobbering the both of them if defensive coach Gregg Williams had failed to put a price on it.

Hired assault? Everyone who plays defense in the NFL is hired to assault the opposition, separate ball from ballcarrier and send a bone-jarring message.

Some people have worked themselves into an emotional lather and now liken this to criminal behavior. I would guess there's criminal behavior on almost every play in an NFL game based on the standards of most communities.

As the self-righteous sermon goes, players' lives are at stake, and how the bounty system changes that, I do not understand.

It's not a game conducive to healthy living. Everyone pays their guys to beat the other guy, and so now we're to believe a bounty system changes that?

Come on, big hits are celebrated by you hypocrites, thereby providing all the incentive a player needs to make a name for himself.

You play football for a living and you are trained to deliver a crushing wallop. Do you really think a defensive lineman grits his teeth harder because he stands to make an additional $1,500?

The bounty, of course, is unsettling to the sensibilities of most. It's hard to believe someone would actually pay someone to hurt another player.

But is that what was happening? Or, was the intent to improve a team's chances of winning by knocking the best player on the other team out of the game?

Are you any different from Williams? You watch a wide receiver almost get decapitated going across the middle and yell at the referee when he rules it an illegal hit.

Tell me that isn't you yelling at the TV. The wobbly receiver is helped to the sideline, but you've gotten what you wanted: a monster hit to enjoy.

It's football. You try to put as many licks on the quarterback as you can so he will think about it the next time he goes back to pass. It's basic to the game; it wasn't Williams' idea.

Folks point to the damage done to Warner, as if it would have never been inflicted had Williams not put a target on him.

Every player on the field knew Warner was the single biggest reason why the Cardinals had a chance to win, so knocking him silly had to be on the mind of everyone playing against him.

The fact that it's not portrayed as a bounty in other locker rooms doesn't mean every player on defense isn't trying to end Warner's day.

How many of you hypocrites were calling for "retaliation" last week?

The three hosts on one radio show were calling for something to be done to Dwyane Wade for fouling Kobe Bryant, breaking his nose and causing a concussion.

What is retaliation? More than likely it's a cheap shot, someone going physically out of his way to make contact with Wade so you might feel better.

That's the way it is in baseball. There's no bounty being paid, but if a pitcher doesn't hit the opposition after one of his teammates has been plunked, he won't get the respect of his teammates. And that's worth more than $1,500.

The bounty system is just another way to find a motivational edge. College teams put stickers on the helmets of players for making big plays. NFL teams include incentive clauses in contracts, paying players extra for quarterback sacks.

They used to make a big deal out of Dan Fouts' taking his offensive linemen out to dinner as thanks for keeping him protected.

In this case, Williams found a way for his players to bond the night before every game, giving the Saints an edge. He put a price on the head of opponents, promising his gladiators glory and riches if successful.

We are agreed Williams went too far, but probably not for the same reasons.

He did something to upset the sensibilities of those who are now viewing football as they would anything else in normal life.

But football is played by huge men already making huge amounts of money with a ton at stake over a span of 16 games. It's nothing like life as we know it.

It's all about knocking the snot out of the other guy — bounty system or no bounty system.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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