The New Orleans Bounty Scandal
BroadwayJoe.tv would like to share with you Joe’s thoughts on the New Orleans Bounty Scandal.
I think it’s over our heads trying to describe the legal aspects of the New Orleans Bounty Scandal. Its semantics the way they’re describing it – the word, ‘bounty’. Bounty was used to describe the price on killing a man in the Old West; this is contact on the football field. In my day, we never had a ‘bounty’ on players. We had bonuses for big plays, big hits and such, but never a bounty for knocking a specific player out of a game. I don’t buy that there were bounties for knocking out specific players. Now, were there rewards for big plays and big hits? Probably, yes. But the gist of it is that none of this–the monetary rewards for big plays–is condoned by the NFL.
One thing to note, however, is that Coach Williams did say Michael Crabtree’s name on that tape before the 49ers game in the playoffs. That’s a frightening thought, and there’s no place in sports for behavior like that. They should penalize specific players for those types of actions; we can’t have that in our game. Whether it was a bounty or a bonus – its all semantics. The issue is that we can’t have players trying to injure other players with a monetary incentive.
Now back when I was getting ready to sign my second contract, the Jets came to me asking if I’d sign a contract filled with incentives. I had no intention of doing such – there’s no need for incentives in these contracts. It takes the focus off of winning and places it on individual accomplishments. I told them, “I play the same way every game and that’s to win – that’s a fact.”
Well back then we had a Kicker names Jim Turner who was a member of the Super Bowl-winning team. He was a good kicker, but couldn’t get the ball past the goal line on kickoffs. We just couldn’t get a touchback. So we had a defensive lineman, a terrific player named Vernon Biggs, who Coach Weeb Ewbank noticed could kick it for a touchback every single time. So coach wanted him to kick off for us. But you see Biggs noted that this wasn’t his responsibility, as he was a lineman, so he asked for $20 for every time he kicked off. That may not seem like a lot but you have to remember the time we were in. Well Coach Ewbank wouldn’t give it to him – so he never kicked off.
I played for my teammates, and these incentive-laden contracts change the motivation of players. But maybe players are different today. Guys are signing much bigger contracts, but maybe they need the extra incentive of bounties and bonuses to give that extra bit of effort. Things change – that’s a constant of us as a society.