A couple of terms that you may hear frequently associated with the National Football League are “Winning is everything” and, “The NFL is a business.”
It has recently come out that current New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been incentivizing big hits, forced fumbles, interceptions and sacks with cash to his players. According to former Washington Redskins strong safety Matt Bowen in a Chicago Tribune column, this system was in place when he played in DC as well.
No – it’s probably not right to try to knock a player out of a game for money, but try to tell me that defensive players don’t try to knock out key players anyhow. Not only that, they get rewarded by media and fans on highlight reels and Top 10 plays. A middle linebacker leveling a receiver could be the main talk around the water cooler the next day.
Even in a known case of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offering $10K to knock Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship, Favre didn’t seem upset at all.
“I’m not pissed. It’s football,” Favre told Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King. “I don’t think anything less of those guys. Said or unsaid, guys do it anyway. If they can drill you and get you out, they will.”
Enough said – players get it. Players have incentives in their contracts for reaching milestones at the end of the season, why not have a microcosm system rewarding clean, hard play during it? Bowen didn’t seem to have any problems with it and even continues to praise Williams.
“I don’t regret any part of it. I can’t,” Bowen said. “Williams is the best coach I ever played for in my years in the NFL, a true teacher who developed me as a player. I believed in him. I still do. That will never change.”
I’d be interested to get your thoughts in the comments: