So did anything happen Wednesday? What’s that? No, not much.
From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talk at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The NFL has suspended Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team's bounty program that targeted opposing players.
Saints get marched on
And with one stroke of his pen, Roger Goodell just changed the stakes of punishment in team sports.
As you surely know by Goodell threw the book at the New Orleans Saints for the bounty system the entire organization was either a part of or complicit in allowing to continue.
Here's a scorecard of the punishments dealt by Goodell
— New Orleans head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season because he was told to make it stop and did not and according to the NFL tried to cover up the system and than actions while allowing it to continue. Coaches make a living believing they can do no wrong so we guess it shouldn't be too surprised when they believe they are above the system and can get away with anything, but it seems like the Kindergarten lesson of lying about you did is worse than what you did is missed by more and more coaches.
— Former Saints DC and current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely for running the bounty system in which Saints players were paid thousands of dollars for knocking opponents out or hurting them to the point where they had to be carted off the field. Williams has done this in multiple stops around the NFL, and reportedly even put his own money into the pool.
— The Saints organization was fined $500,000 and order to forfeit second-round picks this April and in 2013. Ouch-standing.
— No players have been suspended yet, but you have to believe those are coming too.
And what does the 5-at-10 think? Well, picture the cheesy heavy guy in sappy movies that starts clapping slowly at an emotional moment, and then the applause builds and builds until it's a standing ovation. Goodell absolutely had to hammer the Saints for a multiple of reasons, and this sent a clear message that addresses almost all of them.
Goodell had to be harsh about the bounty-system in general if for no other reasons than appearances. If for whatever reason you don't believe it's wrong to try to purposely injure your opponents and to be paid extra to do it (which is barbaric, by the way), then fine. But the NFL has taken great steps to try to have a safer league, and to make strides in dealing with concussions but turn a blind eye or just slap the Saints' wrist to bounty-gate would be the height of hypocrisy.
Goodell has issued a ton of fines and suspensions in years past for questionable/dangerous hits and to let a system that rewards questionable/dangerous hits go would be unacceptable.
Plus, the NFL is already facing growing amount of litigation from former players about safety concerns and life-altering injuries. So if the stories of a bounty-system went uninvestigated and worse under-punished, the lawsuits would grow in number and damages.
Nevermind the fact that Payton and the Saints front office obviously ignored the orders of the NFL main office and went about their bounty business and then lied about it after the fact. Is the punishment harsh? Sure it is. But it's fair too considering all of the surrounding factors.
There have been former players talking about bounty-systems and how they have been around for years. And maybe they have, but this is Goodell's way of sending a clear message that they won't be tolerated. Heck, these punishments are so strict, half the teams switched paper towels from Bounty to Brawn.
Big Tebow heads to Big Apple
As if the news of the Saints getting thumped was not big enough, then comes the story that Tim Tebow, Patron Saint of Good Dude-ness and Wobbly Passes, is dealt to the New York Jets. Wow.
That's right, that Tim Tebow, the professed Christian and former missionary who has been among the most beloved sports figures in recent memory despite being one of the most maligned for balky mechanics and a lack of accuracy. And now he's a member of those New York Jets, the team that set an HBO record for cussing on "Hard Knocks" and has arguably the league's most dysfunctional locker room and outlandish head coach in Rex Ryan.
Seems perfect right?
Well, let's add in the fact that Tebow is being brought in to run Wildcat packages in new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's offense and will be behind starter Mark Sanchez on the depth chart. Yes, that's the same Mark Sanchez who has doubters in his locker room and had 26 turnovers last year for a Jets team that was picked to win the Super Bowl by many but failed to make the playoffs.
Well, let’s add to the fact that this is NYC. The world’s largest media market and melting pot that likely figures to be making Tebow an even bigger lightning rod (if that’s possible). And there probably be a question about Tebow in only every news conference given by any Jets player, coach or front office type for the next 10 years.
Well, let’s consider that the most famous Jet ever — Joe Willie Namath — went on the radio Wednesday and called it a publicity stunt, jumpstarting the second-guessing of the move and its ramifications.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, everything. In fact, here’s saying that the Jets organization is the single worst fit for Tebow the player and the person.
Hey, we believe Tebow can be a successful quarterback someday. We believe the Jets could win it all even with the oaf as their coach. We understand Sparano’s desire to have a Wildcat option (but if that’s what this is, draft Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson in the fifth round and be done with it).
But we don’t believe this will work. At all. Namath’s theory may be spot on, and when we’re agreeing with Namath about almost anything, well, that tells you how cracked the entire situation is.
The games figure to be tight and highly competitive. Are we talking about Louisville-Michigan State or the all-Ohio battle of Cincinnati-THE Ohio State? Of course not.
We're talking about the Overrated/Underrated Challenge and the Kemba Walker Memorial Shootout. We're down to the wire here folks, let's take a look at the scoreboard.
Here's the Overrated/Underrated entries that still have a shot at winning (remember the first No. 1 seed out gets a point and the last double-digit seed standing gets a point):
chas9 — Syracuse/NC State
BiSpy — Michigan St/Xavier
Pridemo — Syracuse/Ohio
BigBlue — Syracuse/Ohio
Follower — Syracuse/NC State
StuckinKent — Syracuse/NCSU
McPell — Syracuse/NCSU
wcole777 — Syracuse/NCSU
Ware — Michigan State/NC State
5-at-10 — Syracuse/Xavier
ThatIDoKnow — Michigan State/NC State
Redlegs11 — Kentucky/Long Beach State.
Here are the folks in the Kemba Walker Memorial Shootout (pick the two players that you think will score the most points in the next two rounds, and there's still time to enter this one in either the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org):
StuckinKent — Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas)
McPell — E. Johnson (Kansas), Brady Heslip (Baylor)
5-at-10 — Tu Holloway (Xavier), Draymond Green (Michigan State)
SportsTalk's Quake — Draymond Green (Michigan State), Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
SportTalk's Cowboy Joe — Brady Heslip (Baylor), Jay Crowder (Marquette)
TFP UT ace Patrick Brown — Jay Crowder (Marquette), Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette)
Follower — D.J. Cooper (Ohio), CJ Leslie (NC State)
wcole777 — Harrison Barnes (UNC), Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin)
Ware — Draymond Green (MSU), Bradley Beal (Florida)
ThatIDoKnow — Harrison Barnes (UNC), Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
dawg747 — Draymond Green (Michigan State), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
Chas9 — Sullinger (Ohio State), Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette)
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III warms up at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
This and that
— RGIII was sharp as a tack in his pro day Wednesday, not that anyone would know it. There has even been some talk that RGIII will pass Andrew Luck on some draft boards. Hey, the 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this. But here’s saying that barring injury, the Colts take Luck. Period.
— If you were a sports executive — college AD, pro GM, whatever — and had some bad news to deliver, can you think of a better day than Wednesday? Seriously, unless you’re announcing a homicide in your athletic department, it would be a blip on the national radar.
— BREAKING NEWS: Chipper Jones will retire at the end of the 2012 season, he and the Braves announced Thursday morning. Good move to get this out of the way now. It allows Chipper a farewell tour and stops the growing questions before they start.
— The concerns for which Jason Heyward will show up in the Atlanta outfield continue to swirl. He’s hitting .208 with 16 strikeouts in 53 at-bats. Ouch.
Speak your mind folks.
Saints’ penalties too much?
Will Tebow succeed?
Is Chipper the best Atlanta Braves player of all-time? Would he be on the ATL Rushmore of pro sports stars?
Get in the Kemba Walker Memorial Shootout. Shoot us a question for Friday's mailbag.
Bring it. We’re spent.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...