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And Another Thing

File / Associated Press

A mutiny on the bounty

Sooo, according to numerous talking heads and fellow columnizers out there, I'm supposed to be shocked and appalled that former Saints and current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had a bounty system that rewarded players for big hits on targeted opponents.

Here's my total, absolute and complete problem with this: A bounty system violates NFL rules against monetary rewards outside established contracts.

That's it. That's all.

As to rest ..... well, let me ask a few questions here:

If you're talking about slipping guys extra dough for big hits on certain players, how is that different than performance incentives in contracts? If, say, Justin Tuck has a clause in his contract that says he gets a bonus for "X" number of sacks, isn't that the same thing?

And speaking of targeting certain players ... isn't that what you do every time you dial up an all-out blitz package?

I mean, you're not just going after anybody in that situation. You're specifically trying to get to the quarterback. And presumably, you're not just doing that to shake his hand and say, "You're playing a fine game, son."

Look, it's one thing if Gregg Williams is paying players to intentionally try to hurt someone. It's quite another if he's paying them for big, but legal, hits. And having watched a series of hits on Brett Favre and others as this issue has been discussed ad nauseum on the talk shows today, I frankly haven't seen anything that looked all that egregious. All I've seen is guys delivering clean licks.

Of course, I grew up in an era when Dick Butkus used to chortle about how much he liked playing on artificial turf because players' heads bounced off it so nicely when he hit them. And in an era when defensive front fours had nicknames -- the Fearsome Foursome, the Purple People Eaters -- and at least one had an official unit motto.

It was "We meet at the quarterback," if memory serves.

Sounds like targeting to me.

Ben Smith's blog.