Gregg Williams: Bounty Hunter

The talk of the NFL right now, despite NFL free agency with Peyton Manning possibly available starting in another week, is the “Bountygate” story about Gregg Williams and the Saints.  Williams has apparently had a bounty system in place in which players are paid when they knock a player out of a game (among other things) at basically all of the places that he has coached.  From the sounds of it several former Saints players came forward and blew the whistle on the whole operation.  They even estimated the reward for knocking Brett Favre out of the game at $10,000.  Since then several other players, including former Bills LB Coy Wire who played under Williams when he was the head coach in Buffalo, have come out and said Williams implemented similar systems at his other coaching stops.

Williams keeps looking worse and worse as more details emerge

Now before I talk about what should be done about it let’s get one thing out of the way.  Williams got caught with his hand in the cookie jar but don’t be so naive to think that he was the only one with his hand in the jar.  Was Michael Vick the only NFL player that ran an elaborate dog fighting ring?  Probably not.  Was Bill Belichick’s staff the only one that taped opposing coaches on the sidelines?  Not by a long shot.  Like these others Williams was the first to get caught, and he’ll likely be the only one too.  The first one is always the only one to get caught.  The NFL is almost like the mafia.  It’s like in one of those movies when one guy gets busted all of the other guys promptly burn all of the evidence and whack all of the witnesses.

Now the question is what should the punishment be?  A lot of people are saying that the punishment should be far more severe than when the Patriots were punished for SpyGate.  I half agree with that.  I don’t think the punishment levied on the Saints franchise should be much worse than that what was levied on the Pats.  Maybe a bit of a heftier fine and maybe an additional draft pick but I don’t think it should go any further than that.  Where the punishment should be more extreme is on an individual level.  There were no suspensions levied in the SpyGate case and only Bill Belichick was handed an individual fine.  Gregg Williams should be fined and suspended for his actions.  He should go for at least 6 games and maybe even the entire 2012 season.  General Manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton should also receive fines for their complacency in the situation.  Team captains such as Will Smith, Charles Grant, Scott Fujita and Jonathan Vilma might also be subject to disciplinary action in regards to the situation.

Oops

Things get muddied a bit after that.  Do you fine the ownership of the Redskins, Bills, and Titans for things that happened 5, 10, 15 years ago?  You know that Saints owner Mickey Loomis knew about it but how can you be sure that Bud Adams, Ralph Wilson, or Daniel Snyder knew about it?  Former Bills GM Tom Donahoe has already come out and said that he was not aware of any bounty system while Williams was the head coach in Buffalo.  And what about a player like London Fletcher who captained Williams-led defenses in both Buffalo and Washington?  What about his mentor Jeff Fisher who he just re-united with in St. Louis?  What about his own proteges like Jerry Gray who spent years coaching under him?  Do they get punished or investigated as well?

You can almost make the argument that the whole league has been complacent.  Think about this – Williams has been one of the best defensive coaching minds in football for the past decade plus.  He got one head coaching opportunity in Buffalo, lasted 3 years and was let go.  Since then, despite always coaching productive defenses, not only has he only gotten a handful of head coaching interviews but he’s on his 4th different defensive coordinator job in 9 seasons.  There was something that made a large part of the league not want to touch this guy with a 50 foot pole.  I think it’s pretty clear now what that was.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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