In the wake of the Spygate scandal, one of the defenses offered up on behalf of the Patriots centered on the fairly simple notion that having advance knowledge of a team’s defensive coaching signals really didn’t help win football games.
The fairly simple response? The Patriots wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t think it helped.
That’s the same reaction to the suggestion that bounties in the amount of $1,000 or $1,500 or, in the case of Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC title game, $10,000 would actually make a player play harder.
With a Super Bowl ring and all that that implies firmly within grasp, does a little extra money really matter?
Apparently, it does. Or the Saints wouldn’t have done it.
If there’s any doubt, consider the words for former NFL safety Matt Bowen. He played for the Redskins under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and Bowen not only admits that it happened but also explains why it worked.
“It was our gig, our plan, our way to motivate, to extra-motivate,” Bowen writes in an item for the Chicago Tribune.
As Bowen accurately points out, plenty of other teams do the same thing. Friday’s announcement by the league represents an acknowledgement that the time has come for the practice to end.
And so the worst thing the Saints arguably did was get caught. Still, whether the fact that other teams have done it results in less of a sanction for the Saints isn’t known.
What is known is that the NFL won’t allow any of it going forward, and that the next team to be caught doing it in 2012 or beyond will get a much stiff punishment than whatever the league will do to the Saints.