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The hypocrisy of the NFL’s crackdown on bounties

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:

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2012 NFL Playoff Predictions

Here are my predictions for the upcoming NFL playoffs. Surprisingly, the Broncos don’t make the Super Bowl. What a shocking revelation!

NFC Wildcard Round

5 Falcons vs 4 Giants
I like Matty-Ice and the Falcons but fact is they don’t perform well outdoors in the playoffs. Couple that with the fact that the Giants will be able to get a solid pass rush without a blitz and the Falcons will have a hard time winning this game.

Winner: Giants

6 Lions vs 3 Saints
Safe to say this will not be a defensive struggle, so it comes down to quarterback play and the weapons that each one of them possess. Advantage: Drew Brees

Winner: Saints

AFC Wildcard Round

5 Steelers vs. 4 Broncos
As I mentioned earlier in the season, NFL defenses have figured out Tim Tebow’s gimmicky style. It won’t help that he’s going against the top defense of them all. Despite a hobbled Roethlisberger and no Mendenhall at tailback, the Steelers cruise in this one.

Winner: Steelers

6 Bengals vs 3 Texans
Despite the Texans sucking of late, the Bengals haven’t been able to win against a real playoff-caliber team all year. That doesn’t even include the fact that Andy Dalton is sick with the flu.

Winner: Texans

NFC Divisional Round

4 Giants vs 1 Packers
The Giants won’t have the home/cold advantage anymore when they go to Green Bay. Their team won’t have the advantage either, because they’re just not as good as the Packers.

Winner: Packers

3 Saints vs 2 49ers
The 49ers defense is good and will hold the Saint offense to less than people expect. However, Alex Smith and the Niners offense still won’t keep up.

Winner: Saints

AFC Divisional Round

5 Steelers vs 1 Patriots
Unless the Steelers running game all of a sudden gets effective without Mendenhall, they will not be able to keep the Pats off the field. Despite his ankle likely still hurting, Big Ben will have a big day against the Pats secondary, but not good enough.

Winner: Patriots

3 Texans vs 2 Ravens
The Ravens big signature wins have come against the Steelers this year, They’ve also had some awful losses to the Titans, Jaguars and Seahawks (all on the road). With their aging defense having a week of rest and much of the Texans team injured, the Ravens roll.

Winner: Ravens

Note: If the Bengals pull out a win against the Texans, the Steelers will face the Ravens again. If that happens, the Steelers won’t lose to the Ravens three times in one year.

NFC Conference Championship

3 Saints vs 1 Packers
The Packers defense was exposed a few times this year and the Saints played them close, at Lambeau Field, in the first week of the year. Almost everyone on Earth thinks the Packers are going to the Super Bowl and winning it. Not I.

Winner: Saints

AFC Conference Championship

2 Ravens vs 1 Patriots
The Ravens have been pretty inconsistent on the road against awful teams. What will happen against a high-powered offense with an aging Ravens defense?

Winner: Patriots

Super Bowl XLVI

Saints vs Patriots
Welcome to the new age of the NFL. This season, and the new trend,  is all about high-powered offense and lack of dominant defenses. Drew Brees and his receiving weapons are too much for the Pats’ secondary to handle. Brady will keep pace for most of the game because the Saints aren’t stout either, but the Saints will pull it out.

World Champion: New Orleans Saints

Agree, disagree with these picks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments: