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Thread: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

  1. #1
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    Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Bernie Bytes: Bounty ball worse than Spygate

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist
    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Rams fans continue to holler about the penalties levied against Gregg Williams, the Saints, and, to a lesser extent, the Rams. The dissatisfaction stems from the severity of the punishment when we compare NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of Bill Belichick and New England in "Spygate" to the New Orleans' Bounty program.

    Just to refresh our memory, in 2007 Goodell determined that the Patriots had secretly filmed opponents' hand signals to steal plays. Goodell moved quickly. He fined Belichick $500,000. He fined the Patriots $250,000. He took away New England's first-round draft pick. That was it. There were no suspensions. Belichick coached all 16 regular-season games, and the 2007 Patriots famously went 16-0 and won two postseason games before losing to the NY Giants in the Super Bowl.

    The Saints were whacked by Goodell. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for a full season. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended for six games, and fined. GM Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games. The Saints were fined $500,000 and stripped of two second-round draft picks.

    And Williams, the former Saints defensive coordinator, was suspended indefinitely for coordinating the bounty system in NOLA. He won't be running the Rams defense this season. And there's no guarantee that Williams will be reinstated by Goodell.

    Rams and Saints fans are complaining that Belichick and the Patriots got off easy. Obviously, the New Orleans penalties were extreme. By comparison, the New England penalties were relatively minor. And for the record, I do believe Goodell should have suspended Belichick if only for a game or two. So I can understand the growling over this, at least up to a point.

    But this isn't as simple as it seems. In my opinion, the Saints' scandal was worse than Spygate. And context is important here. We need to try and understand the differences between the Patriots' cheating and the Saints' scheming to injure opponents. And we need to understand why Goodell was much tougher on the Saints than the Patriots.

    Here we go ...

    1. Bountygate was worse. I know many of you disagree with that. And reasonable people can disagree. But I use this simple analogy. (By the way, my friend Rick Venturi used roughly the same analogy Thursday on 101 ESPN; I didn't want anyone to think I was stealing his idea. You know what they say about great minds ... kidding.) Anyway: if you owned a store and got robbed, what would be your most serious concern? Would it be (A) having to hand over the money; or (B) being assaulted, kicked in the head, and needing to be carted off in a stretcher? Having your cash stolen is bad, but suffering a vicious physical attack is worse. I speak from experience here; in running a family business a long time ago, I was robbed twice. I found that handing over the cash was a better option than being smacked over the head with a gun. And yes, both things happened to me. Again, this is a very, very loose analogy. But Belichick did the football equivalent of stealing money; the Saints were guilty of planning wanton physical attacks in advance, attacks that were designed to injure opponents. Both are wrong. I just think the bounty garbage was more serious.

    2. Do not forget that the Saints lied and lied and lied ... that's a huge difference. Again, Belichick cheated. He broke the rules. But when confronted with the evidence, the coach wasn't happy, and he resisted the idea that he'd gained a major advantage over opponents. But he didn't lie to Goodell. Belichick didn't try to mislead the commissioner. He didn't make it personal. The Saints' people repeatedly lied, repeatedly denied, tried to orchestrate a story "to get their ducks in a row" (Payton's terms) and tried to stonewall to avoid punishment. The Saints' people were warned to stop the bounty junk, but the orders were ignored, and the bounty program stayed in place for three seasons. The brazen defiance was arrogant and stupid. The Saints basically dared Goodell to come after them. Big, big mistake.

    The Saints were walloped for the bounty, yes. But they compounded it by lying to NFL investigators, and showing no respect for Goodell. You know the old saying about how the coverup is often worse than the crime. No one ever seems to learn that, be it Richard Nixon, Michael Vick, Jim Tressel, Bruce Pearl, etc. When you lie to a tough commissioner, you're going to get carted off ... you're going to get knocked out. The Patriots cheated, got caught, and paid the price. They didn't try to pull an end-run. The Saints broke the rules and then stuck their thumb in Goodell's eye. There's no comparison, really.

    3. Not only did the Saints lie and lie and lie and cover up, they also took on Goodell and the league on an issue that's turned into a crusade for the commissioner. Goodell has made it abundantly clear that he's determined to clean up the game and improve player safety and health as much as possible by eliminating cheap-shot hits and dirty play. He's sent the message repeatedly by fining and suspending players that have crossed the line on the field by going after a vulnerable opponent's head or knees. Goodell's passion for this cause is unmistakable. No one can possibly fail to understand it, or misinterpret it. And the Saints messed with the NFL and the commissioner on the one issue that has inspired him the most. Again, Spygate was bad. But it was random. And it didn't go against Goodell's intense and firm efforts to crack down on gratuitous violence in the NFL. The Saints essentially flipped off Goodell on a cause that's become deeply personal with him. How dumb was that?

    4. Goodell was a younger, less-established commissioner in 2007. He was still building power and confidence. Maybe he wasn't quite ready to totally bring the cudgel down on Belichick. We'll never know. But in 2012, Goodell is firmly entrenched. He's at the peak of power. He just led the NFL owners through a difficult labor battle with the players, and won a long-term collective bargaining agreement that will keep peace in the league for a long time. The owners recently gave Goodell a long-term contract extension that pays him $20 million a year. He's continued to increase the NFL's revenue, making more money for the owners. Goodell in 2012 is arguably the most powerful man in sports, and he has no reason to be hesitant to exercise his considerable authority when warranted.

    5. Money, money, money. Goodell obviously wanted to make an example out of Payton, Loomis, Williams, Vitt. And for good reason. With the player-health issue at the top of the NFL's list of urgent affairs, Goodell wasn't going to fool around. He has sent a strong message to the coaches and players. But Goodell is also protecting the league's interests. We've already seen the league being sued by debilitated former players (or their families) who accuse the NFL of failing to protect them. Goodell and the attorneys know that more lawsuits will be flying at them. The league is playing defense here. By punishing Saints' people so severely, the NFL wants to do away with the notion that the league is neglecting the safety issue. Goodell and the NFL have taken an aggressive, proactive stance that undoubtedly will help them in the court room.

    If you consider all of these factors, it's pretty obvious why Goodell and the league viewed Bounty ball was a much more serious matter than Spygate.


  2. #2
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    On its face, employing a system encouraging players to try and purposely injure someone is more serious than filming an opposing team's practice sessions. Take the emotion out of the equation, and the issue is a no-brainer.

    I have absolutely no tolerance for cheaters, but I'm tired of people crying about how this is the primary reason we lost SuperBowl XXXVI. Baloney. We lost because Mike Martz sucked as a head coach, Kurt threw a pick 6, Marshall Faulk (a Hall of Fame back) was completely underutilized and the Rams' staff made no adjustments throughout the game. Their trademark offense was non-existent for 3 quarters. I watched the game like everyone else and was in the stands watching this horror show.

    One can't in good conscience equate trying to cheat with trying to end someone's career. Come on, now.
    macrammer likes this.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    On its face, employing a system encouraging players to try and purposely injure someone is more serious than filming an opposing team's practice sessions. Take the emotion out of the equation, and the issue is a no-brainer.

    I have absolutely no tolerance for cheaters, but I'm tired of people crying about how this is the primary reason we lost SuperBowl XXXVI. Baloney. We lost because Mike Martz sucked as a head coach, Kurt threw a pick 6, Marshall Faulk (a Hall of Fame back) was completely underutilized and the Rams' staff made no adjustments throughout the game. Their trademark offense was non-existent for 3 quarters. I watched the game like everyone else and was in the stands watching this horror show.

    One can't in good conscience equate trying to cheat with trying to end someone's career. Come on, now.
    Agreed, cheating only impacted a games outcome. This bounty potentially impacted players health and life. If I was a player I would be concerned about being able to think straight for the rest of my life than winning some game.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    It's simple the NFL will not face law suits from players because the league has cheaters.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    I agree Bountygate is worse than Spygate. Still the Cheatriots got off to easy!

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Why is it that the Rams are somehow caught in the crossfire of both of these gates? We lost a Superbowl and now we've lost a defensive co-ordinator to two separate gates.

    IH8G8s.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by Bar-bq View Post
    Why is it that the Rams are somehow caught in the crossfire of both of these gates? We lost a Superbowl and now we've lost a defensive co-ordinator to two separate gates.

    IH8G8s.
    Losing Williams saves you from future fines and lost draft picks. Do you really want him back?

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    There's no comparison to the two "gates", in my opinion. Not even close. In fact, I wish the Rams fans would just shut up about the illegal filming. Although it made things difficult, it was not the reason the Rams lost that game. That game was lost by the HC.
    macrammer and Fettmaster like this.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    On its face, employing a system encouraging players to try and purposely injure someone is more serious than filming an opposing team's practice sessions. Take the emotion out of the equation, and the issue is a no-brainer.

    I have absolutely no tolerance for cheaters, but I'm tired of people crying about how this is the primary reason we lost SuperBowl XXXVI. Baloney. We lost because Mike Martz sucked as a head coach, Kurt threw a pick 6, Marshall Faulk (a Hall of Fame back) was completely underutilized and the Rams' staff made no adjustments throughout the game. Their trademark offense was non-existent for 3 quarters. I watched the game like everyone else and was in the stands watching this horror show.

    One can't in good conscience equate trying to cheat with trying to end someone's career. Come on, now.
    and--- if I remember correctly-- didnt we smash the Patriots in the regular season of that year? at NE too..

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    It's simple the NFL will not face law suits from players because the league has cheaters.
    Agreed! To us, the fan, cheating to affect the outcome of a game is the worst possible thing in sports. For the ones on the other side of the fence, words like "litigation" and "lawsuit" have stronger meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    There's no comparison to the two "gates", in my opinion. Not even close. In fact, I wish the Rams fans would just shut up about the illegal filming. Although it made things difficult, it was not the reason the Rams lost that game. That game was lost by the HC.
    Again, agreed one-hundred percent. Some fans really do need to get over it. The Patriots corners were getting away with murder, and Martz refused to put the ball in the hands of his best player. Tom Brady then went on to be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, unfortunately. Them recording some practices didn't change any of that.
    macrammer likes this.


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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by Vis View Post
    Losing Williams saves you from future fines and lost draft picks. Do you really want him back?
    Honestly, I could care less about Williams. It sucks but we move on. Mostly I was just looking for a way to use IH8G8s in a sentence. ha!

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I have absolutely no tolerance for cheaters, but I'm tired of people crying about how this is the primary reason we lost SuperBowl XXXVI. Baloney. We lost because Mike Martz sucked as a head coach, Kurt threw a pick 6, Marshall Faulk (a Hall of Fame back) was completely underutilized and the Rams' staff made no adjustments throughout the game. Their trademark offense was non-existent for 3 quarters. I watched the game like everyone else and was in the stands watching this horror show.

    One can't in good conscience equate trying to cheat with trying to end someone's career. Come on, now.
    The pick six should not have counted, as there was a CLEAR blow to Kyrt's head by a blitzing LB (IIRC). The officials should have called that play back, and assessed a 15 yd penalty on the cheatriots. Marshall Faulk could not be utilized correctly because he was being mugged all game long. Only once did the officials actually call it, and the cheatriots complained that it wasn't a penalty because the officials had been allowing it the whole game (?!?!?!?!?!?!?). I would also disagree with your make adjustments comment, as every adjustment was met with a perfect D alignment because they had recorded and watched the RAMS' walk-throughs. It was not until Kurt, Torry, Ike, and Mad Mike started creating totally new, never seen or executed before, plays on the sidelines. All of a sudden the cheatriots D didn't know what the perfect alignment should be, and the RAMs started marching down the field and scoring. Had the officials correctly managed the game clock, that last FG wouldn't have had time to happen. And to add to that game time mismanagement, there are technically still three seconds on SBXXXVI's game clock. That was how much time was still on the clock when the officials signaled FG. They let the last three seconds run off before blowing their whistle.

    So, yes, spygate (and soo much more) had more imapct on that game, and the league should have given the cheatroits a WHOLE LOT MORE punishment for spygate.


    gap

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    I didn't get to see that Super Bowl (military), but it sounds like the officiating was almost as bad as it was in SBXL*. My sympathies.

    Wasn't that the same post-season that the refs tucked the Raiders?
    THOLTFAN81 likes this.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueTalon View Post
    I didn't get to see that Super Bowl (military), but it sounds like the officiating was almost as bad as it was in SBXL*. My sympathies.

    Wasn't that the same post-season that the refs tucked the Raiders?
    Yeah. Another misuse of a vague rule to hand a win to the cheatriots. Their "dynasty" was built on such judgement calls.


    gap

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Bounty Ball Worse Than Spygate

    Quote Originally Posted by Bar-bq View Post
    We lost a Superbowl and now we've lost a defensive co-ordinator to two separate gates.

    IH8G8s.
    We lost the SB because we didn't let Faulk touch the ball enough. As for the other guy whose name shall never be spoken again, no loss.

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