“I’d rather answer a bounty question,” Payton said, via The Times-Picayune. “Right now my focus is on staying with New Orleans and really getting back on the sidelines.”
A great response to a ridiculous question. Payton might not be the next guy in Big D, but consider it a mortal lock that Jerry Jones opens up the bank vault for a marquee name if Garrett’s Cowboys falter this season.
Source: NFL.com By Dan Hanzus
The 2012 NFL regular season is about to begin, and it promises to be another exciting, competitive, and unpredictable year of football which NFL fans have come to expect every season.
Part of our responsibility in helping teams and players prepare for each NFL season is to make sure they understand and respect league policies and rules. As always, we hold everyone, including ourselves, strictly accountable for protecting the integrity of the game, starting with the health and safety of our players. This year is no exception — bringing with it a clear, consistent, and renewed emphasis on enforcing our longstanding “bounty” prohibition.
Let me be clear: there is no place for bounties in football. No exceptions. No excuses. Bounties are an affront to everything that competitive sports should represent. Everyone in the NFL is responsible for adhering to these rules and we are all accountable for protecting the safety of our players – present and future.
The bounty prohibition forbids offering or accepting any reward — cash or otherwise — for on-field misconduct, plays that incentivize or result in injury to opposing players, or for performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team. The bounty prohibition not only preserves the competitive integrity of our game, but also protects player safety by removing incentives that could lead to dangerous play or unnecessary and/or intentional injury. As a league, we will ensure that the prohibition against bounties is clearly understood and consistently enforced. Period.
We will aggressively protect the health, safety and long-term livelihood of our players, both on the field and off. We can preserve the fierce competition that makes football great, while simultaneously committing to the relentless pursuit of safer play. Our players do not make excuses on the field; we will not make them off the field.
It is our job to protect, preserve, and promote the game of football that we all love. We want an exciting game featuring the world’s most talented football players enjoying long and successful careers. The bounty prohibition plays an instrumental role in achieving that. And we are committed to holding every team, player and owner accountable.
We appreciate your interest and hope you enjoy the 2012 NFL season.
The NFL and it’s $9 billion in revenue and properties is being pushed around and bamboozled by a 6-1 and 230 lb. linebacker named Vilma.
U.S. District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan did not reach a decision on Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s TRO request in Friday’s hearing. However, she did recommend to Vilma and the NFL, to continue discussions to bring a resolution to the matter.
The NFL and most corporations usually have matters of this nature to rule in their favor. The interesting statement made by Judge Berrigan was to the fact she believed NFL’s ”suspension (of Vilma) was neither transparent nor fair.” This places the NFL is a precarious situation on how to proceed.
Since the judge is not certain on rendering a decision soon, how will this affect the NFL and Commissioner Goodell’s PR efforts against Vilma? Can they spin the media and the many NFL fans to consider the NFL was acting in the best interest of the league? If a Federal Judge is leaning towards Vilma in this case, it may be very difficult for Roger Goodell to remain “stubborn” in the matter.
It may be time for the NFL to cut its loses and reduce all players suspensions to one game. It may be time for Roger Goodell to “save face.” He nor the NFL owners want Vilma’s defamation case to proceed. It may be the good for the league to finally apologize to Vilma and move on.
Roger Goodell should immediately resign or be terminated by the NFL Owners. If the NFL has been adamant regarding its stance on the Bounty program and has “EVIDENCE” against the alleged participating parties, then why would they consider a reduction of Jonathan’s Vilma’s suspension at all?
The NFL offers Vilma a Stipulation. Drop your case and we will cut your suspension in half to eight games. In the words of Ochocinco, “Child Please!” This leads most to believe, and what Saints players and fans believed since the “heavy-handed” suspensions were placed against Sean Payton, Saints Players and the coaching staff, the NFL’s case is manufactured.
This reeks of FEAR from the NFL.
The talks could also lead to reductions in the suspensions of the other three players — Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games), Packersdefensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (eight games), and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita(three games).
Settlement talks are expected to continue Monday and sources say that Friday’s next scheduled appearance before U.S. District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan could serve as a soft deadline to reach a settlement. The two sides filed more arguments in the Louisiana court this past Friday in advance of this week’s hearing.
Roger Goodell and his staff created the negative perception through media channels to prove its case against the Saints. However, they cloaked their “EVIDENCE” within the parameters of the CBA. Never considering the fact that the legal system could force them to publicize their alleged findings. This stinks. Fishy. A Con-game. Whatever you call it, Roger Goodell, Greg Aiello and the “Investigators” have plenty of questions to be answered. If not, the owners should be very weary of his antics and call for his immediate resignation.
I believe at the end, not only will Jonathan Vilma be vindicated, but Sean Payton and the other suspended players. This will have a domino effect and it appears Mr. Goodell’s tenure as Commissioner is on very shaky ground.
Check out these links on the developing story:
Keys to the Game:
ESTABLISH AN EARLY LEAD
As I stated in my Playoff Preview, the San Francisco 49ers may just be the most fundamentally sound team in the league. They are built like an old-school NFL team that is a run-first offense, committing very few turnovers and committed to playing very stout defense on the other end. However, they are NOT built like a team that can play “catch-up” such as Detroit Lions team that kept Saints fans on the edge of their seats on Wild Card weekend. If the Niners were to fall down 10-0, or 14-3, for example, they would almost have to completely abandon their offensive game plan, in an effort to keep pace with the points the Saints’ explosive offense put up. It would immediately take Alex Smith out of his comfort zone and could make him force more passes down the field, which could end up being potential turnovers for the Saints defense. But to accomplish this, it is vital that Drew Brees have the offense in sync early and stress not turning the ball over on promising drives as they did (twice) vs. the Lions in the first half.
PRESSURE ALEX SMITH
Although Alex Smith has had somewhat of a resurging season, it hasn’t all been “peaches and cream.” Smith has been sacked an eye-popping 44 times this season, leading the league. The Niners might try to come out and pass the ball early to get the Saints defense off balance so that should open up an early chance for Smith to get pressured. If New Orleans’ blitz-happy defense can hurry Smith early, he can start becoming jittery in the pocket and start throwing errant passes which will play right into the Saints hands (literally).
CONTAIN VERNON DAVIS
The Achilles-heel on the Saints defense this year has been Roman Harper covering tight ends over the middle of the field. A tight end has caught a touchdown pass in nine of the Saints seventeen games this season, a pretty staggering stat. Vernon Davis was the 49ers’ second leading receiver in receptions and yards, and led the team in touchdown passes this season. Davis is definitely a security blanket for Alex Smith, and the focus needs to be on him when trying to defend the pass, especially on play-action plays. Helping Harper blanket Davis in coverage could mean that Smith would be forced to move the ball more vertical with Malcolm Jenkins roaming deep ready to make a play on long passes.
JIMMY GRAHAM/DARREN SPROLES VS PATRICK WILLIS & NAVARRO BOWMAN
There is no doubt that the emergence of Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles have propelled the New Orleans Saints offense to another level this season. In only his second season, Graham just finished up having one of the most prolific seasons for a tight end in NFL History while Sproles broke the record for most all-purpose yards in a season that stood for ten years. And although no team has been able to really contain the duo, the 49ers may have the personnel to get it done. Perennial All-Pro middle linebacker Patrick Willis is widely considered the best in the league at his position in all facets of the game. Navarro Bowman is a budding star playing alongside Willis and proved that he is a legit player when he stepped in admirably for Patrick when he was out for about a month with a hamstring injury. They are extremely athletic, agile, strong at the point of attack, and have great closing speed; all ingredients of being able to keep Sproles and Graham under wraps. That could be a huge bonus for the Niners and somewhat of a setback for the Saints offense seeing that those are Brees’ go-to-guys. The side that dominates this matchup for the majority of the day will have an excellent chance on winning the game.
Player to Watch For:
Marshawn Lynch, who is the main cog on a one-dimensional running offense in Seattle handled the 49ers run defense in Week 16 with his bruising running style. He became the first guy to rush for over 100 yards as well as being the first guy to rush for a touchdown vs. them. The reason I bring up Lynch is because him and Saints running back Chris Ivory have very similar styles of running. They are rarely, if ever, brought down off of first contact, and they always seem to fall forward after being tackled. By no means am I saying that Ivory is on the same level as Lynch, but if he can bring his normal level of toughness and tenacity to the Saints offense like he’s known for, it can really pay dividends for the team. It would loosen up the Niners defense for sure as well as provide great balance for the Saints offense, preventing them from becoming predictable and one-dimensional. If Ivory can consistently gain tough yardage on the ground during the game to keep the 49ers defense honest, it will be another big game for the Saints, and they’ll be most likely on their way to their third NFC Championship game in six years.
Something tells me the Saints wont have as much trouble scoring as people would think early in the ball game, and I think they will take control early. The 49ers simply don’t have enough firepower to keep up with the scoring of New Orleans and will find themselves scrapping near the end of the game for points. Alex Smith has been the mot inefficient quarterback in the league this season in the redzone, leading to kicker David Akers setting the NFL for most field goals made in a season through only 14 games. Field goals just won’t win it vs. the Saints on any football field, indoor or outdoor. With that being said, I predict the Saints will defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Candlestick Park by a score of 34-26.
Does San Francisco have a chance of stopping this juggernaut? We may be able to find an answer in New Orleans’ passing tendencies. At Football Outsiders, we sort passes by distance into four categories: short (within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage), mid (6 to 15 yards downfield), deep (16 to 25 yards), and bomb (26 or more yards). Despite the highlights you’ve seen showing Saints marching into the end zone with long touchdown passes (and there have been many), New Orleans actually fields one of the shortest-passing attacks in the league. The Saints are third in percentage of short passes, but 21st in rates of mid and deep passes, and dead last percentage of bomb passes.
That tells us what kind of passes Brees likes to throw, but it doesn’t tell us which ones he threw well. We can accurately measure Brees’ accuracy using success rate. Unlike standard completion percentage, success rate only rewards teams for plays that gain meaningful yardage towards a new set of downs, and also accounts for pass interference penalties. So at which distance does Brees excel? All of the above – the Saints are first or second in success rate in all four distance categories.
San Francisco’s defense, meanwhile, is softest against those short passes on which New Orleans relies. The 49ers rank ninth in success rate against bombs; sixth against deep balls; ninth against mid-length passes; and 12th against those critical short routes.
Looks like the 49ers will struggle with covering the Saints’ receivers. Can they make up for it by putting Brees on the ground? Not likely. The New Orleans offense ranked third in adjusted sack rate (sacks per pass play, adjusted for down, distance, score, and opponent) this year. San Francisco’s defense ranked 22nd in the same category. Big edge for New Orleans here.