The Not So Saintly Saints
Ok, I was dead wrong. Peyton Manning didn’t chose the San Francisco 49ers, but he also didn’t chose the Titans or the Jets, or many of the other NFL suitors, he choose the Denver Broncos.
The smart move would have been to go play for a team that was on the brink of a championship, like the 49ers. The logical choice would have been a team with a defense able to keep the 36 year old pocket passer upright.
But Peyton Manning picked the Broncos, maybe he wanted the challenge, maybe he wanted the chance to not just play with a good team but to help make an OK team much better. Maybe he wasn’t in quite the hurry we thought he was to win another Super Bowl ring.
The NFL is nothing if not dramatic. Often not for the right reasons.
Have you been left scratching your head and wondering what the hell Gregg Williams thinking? Yes that Gregg Williams, the former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator, who has single-handidly undone years of image building for a team often called the Aints.
It would be naive to believe that football isn’t a violent game. It would be naive to believe that profanity laced language isn’t as commonplace as sweat in a locker room.
But the average fan doesn’t see that part of the game. The NFL tries to project a certain image and protect the shield. But we all know, that is unless you live on another planet, that this sport is violent and reeks of macho-ism and testosterone.
What we don’t want to see or hear is the reality of that culture. So it is somewhat hypocritical to hear former players say how heinous Williams bounty program was.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the fact that he paid players to injure other players and purposely set out to inflict injury to vulnerable players borders on the criminal, but, I expect he isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. This game after all is predicated on winning. And often winning means stopping the other team by knocking out the players who can beat you. I hope the owners and Goodell and all those who profess to be the gatekeepers for the NFL realize that they have succeeded in creating a successful product, one that brings out the passion in its fans. But that same passion and that desire to win which is so intoxicating, is also what breeds the violence. That violence, even when it is controlled and even when the rules are followed, can never be completely eliminated because by doing that the game of football as we now know it will not survive the test of time.