Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bounty-shmounty

So the NFL is investigating whether or not certain Packers players violated league rules by offering to pay teammates for some type of in-game performance. Last week, ESPN reported that a couple Packers defensive backs offered to pay the D-lineman $500 each if they held ViQueens running back Adrian Peterson to less than 100 yards. Peterson only had 45 yards rushing in that game, and departed for good in the second half after sustaining a knee injury after being tackled by cornerback Al Harris.

Question: do we expect players to know that they can't, on their own, give a little inside incentive to fellow teammates? Seems pretty natural. We've heard stories of running backs and QBs taking offensive lineman out after they've had great performances. Or players buying other players watches or some other bling as a reward or thank you. What's so different here? All this nervousness dates back to the "Bounty Bowl" Thanksgiving Day game in 1989 between the Cowboys and Eagles. Afterward, Dallas coach Jimmy "isn't my hair perfect" Johnson accused Eagles coach Buddy Ryan of putting bounties on QB Troy Aikman and kicker Luis Zendejas.

In an episode of today's ESPN Sports Center, one of the former football-player-turned-commentator (can't remember which one, they all blend together after a while, don't they?) was asked about this, after being shown a quote from Detroit QB John Kitna saying that if this type of thing isn't allowed it should be. The ESPN talking head said that this type of thing happens all the time across the league. It has happened for years and will continue to. It has nothing to do with hurting someone -- that was Kitna's point -- it's about incentives for performance.

In other words, it seems there is a bit of an over-reaction on the part of the league about this. Why they decided to do this with the Packers when they apparently could have done it with any team in the league? Your guess is as good as anyone's.

If you want to read more about this, check out this article.

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