Enough Football Violence
I watch because there’s intricate strategy in every play called, and there’s extraordinary athleticism in every play that goes better than expected.
I watch for the 54-yard field goal with five seconds to go.
I watch for Tim Tebow, who doesn’t administer any crushing hits at all, but makes you wonder about the power of positive thinking and the corkscrew turns of fortune.
I stop watching–I even turn away–when an outstretched, utterly vulnerable wide receiver is about to take a helmet in his side and hit the ground with the kind of impact that could cause a concussion if he’s lucky, worse if he’s not. And I find myself conflicted about my enthusiasm for the sport, given its grim toll.
Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! The biggest NFL news in quite some time hit yesterday - that the Saints defense under the direction of former DC and momentary Denver head-coaching candidate Gregg Williams (and mentor to recent Broncos DC and new Oakland head man Dennis Allen) employed a bounty system funded mainly by players to reward each other for knocking out opposing players and forcing them to be carted off the field, along with less-nefarious goals like creating turnovers and scoring touchdowns.
Who else put cash into this system? A felon not employed by the team, but with a direct line of communication to Saints coach Sean Payton.
Williams, who rejoined his old boss Jeff Fisher (when both were with the Titans) in St. Louis to run the Rams defense, issued a statement yesterday acknowledging the program and taking full responsibility for it. The league's investigation found the bounty system existed throughout Williams' three-year tenure in New Orleans; as could be expected, the Redskins defense employed a similar system while the well-traveled Williams was coordinating their defense. Joe Gibbs, his boss in Washington, is claiming ignorance.
It's worth noting that between Williams's stints in Washington and New Orleans, he spent the 2008 season running the Jaguars defense for new Denver DC Jack Del Rio, then Jacksonville's head coach. As for Williams' first stint with Fisher in Tennessee, ex-Titans safety Blaine Bishop claims there was no bounty system.
NFL: Saints defense had 'bounty' fund
Between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, maintained a “bounty” program funded primarily by players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the NFL announced Friday.
The investigation showed that the total amount of funds in the pool may have reached $50,000 or more at its height during the 2009 playoffs. The program paid players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off,” with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.
“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Goodell said. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.”
While I'm sure Roger Goodell is going to feign the requisite amount of shock and disgust at this news, it doesn't come as a surprise to the rest of us. The idea of taking out an opposing player is as old as the league itself. What makes this story even more peculiar, however, is that Saints owner, Tom Benson, ordered Mickey Loomis, Saints GM, to stop the bounties. Yet, they continued. Loomis can probably kiss his job (and his proverbial ass) goodbye.
Here's some additional food for thought: Dennis Allen, former Broncos defensive coordinator, was defensive backs coach for the Saints in 2009 and 2010. So he knew all about his mentor's "bounty" program.
What are the chances that he brought a little of this sugar to Denver? Not high, would be my guess.
What are the chances he brings it to Oakland as their head coach? Zero, now that Goodell is making the rounds.
Don't try to read the future in unpredictable NFL; more Snaps
To repeat, I think Philadelphia and Denver make the most sense as a mystery team in the RGIII sweepstakes, because the Eagles can get out of their Michael Vick contract after 2012, and John Elway is said to be impressed with Griffin and his pass-first, run-later skill set. The No. 15 Eagles and No. 25 Broncos could be motivated enough to join the likely suitors of No. 4 Cleveland, No. 6 Washington and No. 8 Miami.
Peter King had written in his latest MMQB that he thinks Denver picks a quarterback in the first two rounds, and he mentioned in the current SI that the Rams already had several feelers—including one from a team "you would never expect". That last part apparently prompted something of a Twitter kerfuffle.
As noted in today's Lard, Rams GM Les Snead echoed King's MMQB point by stating that some of the teams expressing interest in the #2 pick are not so obvious.
Former Denver Bronco Perrish Cox not guilty in sex-assault case
Former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox has been found not-guilty on two counts of sexual assault of a victim unable to assess her condition.
The jury deliberated for four hours on Thursday and just over two hours today. The verdict was just read in Douglas County District Court.
Someone's going to sign him. Anyone willing to bet it's not the Bengals?
As Florio notes, Cox would be unable to avoid testifying in a potential civil suit.
Chat wrap: Could Broncos make a play for RG3?
Bill Williamson: Could be the Broncos. But that’s no mystery. The Broncos scouted him during the season often. The problem is, there is little chance they can move up from No. 25 all the way up to No. 2 to get him.
BW: It could come down to that scenario, although I might put Chad Henne in the mix. I think Orton and Campbell are comparable, although I think Campbell may have slightly some more upside. Crennel loves Orton, but quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn knows Campbell well. It could be very interesting.
BW: I’m hearing Mathis is high on their list. Williams may be one of the biggest free agents on the board, but Mathis is a high quality player who is may be a tad cheaper. If Mathis doesn’t sign with the Colts, the Chargers may be in play.
Today's grammar lesson come from our friend, Bill Williamson. What's the topic? Auxiliary verbs. They are the Mother's Little Helper of verbs: they allow one to appear to say something profound while giving weasel-like escapability. Can, might, may, will, could--the list goes on and on.
Will the Broncos move up and take RG3? They might.
Will the Chiefs keep Orton? They could.
Will Woody Paige suddenly self combust? He may.
That's right, anything could, might, or may happen. Of course, it might not, either. And that's the beauty of this kind of football writing.
You don't have to say anything at all.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The jury in Perrish Cox's rape trial failed to reach agreement on a verdict yesterday, and they will resume deliberations today.
As Mike Florio sees it, this extended discussion is likely a bad sign for the prosecution, especially following such a brief trial short on facts and testifying witnesses. But, Florio stresses that a potential acquittal of Cox would point to the strength of our judicial system in not providing convictions in the absence of conclusive evidence and/or testimony.
A Lone Tree detective testified that while in a holding cell, Cox posed the following query to explain his accuser's pregnancy:
What if she jumped on me when I was passed out?
For what it's worth, Mike Klis thinks the prosecuting attorney is a low talker.
Jury gets case against former Bronco Perrish Cox
Cox did not testify in his own defense of charges that he raped a woman who was passed out at his apartment over Labor Day 2010.
In court earlier this morning, the prosecution played a video recording of the interrogation of Cox in December 2010, during which he repeatedly denied having sex with the alleged victim.
“I didn’t touch her at all,” Cox said, throwing his hands into the air. “She wasn’t even drunk.” After he was arrested by police, Cox asked the officers “I’m going to jail? Are you kidding me?”
In his closing statement, Steinberg said his client may have lied about having sexual contact with the alleged victim. “There may be a long line of distinguished individuals who did the same,” Steinberg said. “But that doesn’t make it rape.”
I'm sorry, but is Steinberg implying that Perrish Cox is a distinguished individual?
Fletcher Cox - DT - Mississippi State, 6-4, 298 lb
One of my favorite stories from the recent Combine was one told by NFL Network's excellent analyst and draft expert Mike Mayock about his own introduction to Bill Parcells. The first thing the two-time Super Bowl champion head coach said upon meeting Mayock was, “You’re like a bull in high grass, Mike.” "What’s that?" asked Mayock. “You’re lost.” Parcells replied.
Mayock may have come a long way since then, but it's also fair to note that even the best of draft guys are wrong a lot of the time. On the other hand - so are head coaches and GMs. Those that try to comprehend the draft are always going to be in some high grass. That's one of the things that makes it so enjoyable: you can always either find a diamond in the rough, or take a can't-miss candidate who can -and does.
Did you read ESPN.com’s story about Hines Ward being cut by the Steelers, the only team he’s known for 14 seasons? Did you see that their headline was “No Happy Endings,” because Ward loves Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh loves Ward and it’s sad that it had to end this way?
Sigh. There's a whole lot that can be written about Hines Ward and his achievements as a football player before getting into his ethnicity. Unfortunately, the Worldwide Leader does not seem to think so.