So what am I to think about Gregg William, the baddest man in the NFL, and his plan for compensating players for injuring their opponents?
Am I to think this is the most cruel and inhumane thing I’ve ever heard?
Or am I to think this is a logical game planning step useful for motivating his men?
On one hand, it is hard to imagine that a person would intentionally injure another person – and by injure I mean inflicting someone to the point of causing a real, physical injury whereby there are serious ramifications.
On the other hand, though, I do remember this being football.
I began playing football early in elementary school and played all the way through high school. Even though I played at the lowest levels, at each of those levels I remember the rallying cry of making someone on the other team “piss blood.” I always assumed making someone “piss blood” meant hitting them so hard in their lower back region that their kidneys were actually impacted to the point of forcing blood into their urine stream. Later in life I learned that kidneys are a key part to body function and deduced that injuring someone’s kidneys to the point of forcing blood into the urine stream was probably not a good thing.
There were other examples as well.
As an eighth grader, our starting quarterback suffered a broken neck. Though he was looking out of his ear hole, on my way back to the huddle, I encouraged him with these words, “Get up, man. You’re not hurt.” [Note: Though he suffered a broken neck, the quarterback returned to action the following season and eventually made a fine tight end on the high school team.]
In high school, I wound up playing on a state championship team as a junior. That year, our offense was smash mouth and we ran the option out of the I formation. On defense, our plan of attack was simple: pain. In fact, that plan was formed out of the ash heap of a winless season a couple of years before. Even though our team was quite sorry for a couple of seasons, the defensive coordinator was determined to make our opponents’ offensive players cry. And quite literally, those defenses did. The defensive coordinator was later promoted to head coach and a championship soon followed
Now, I don’t actually remember anyone in the locker room or on the field instructing us to actually kill someone in the literal sense, severe body trauma was strongly encouraged. We were too poor to have a pile of cash to split up; our payoff usually came via checking the scoreboard, talking trash or even watching the occasion cry of a running back as he was helped off the field.
Does all of that make me a bad person? (You don’t have to answer that.)
My point is that football is a violent game and effective football coaches have long encouraged their teams to inflict pain and suffering on their opponents. I would guess that every defensive coordinator in America that squared off against an effective offensive wanted to knock the other teams’ producers out of the game. That’s such a given it’s like breathing. It’s like Bobby Bowden coaching his players to play to the echo of the whistle. It’s football.
Now, is it smart to have an official plan for doing this (with remuneration involved) when you are a professional coach? What do you think now, Gregg Williams? My guess is no.
In addition to that, is it cool to intentionally break someone’s knee, ankle or back? Well, no, thats not cool either. And it’s also not cool to twist a players injured ankle while in a pile, but that’s happened for as long as the game has been played, as well.
So where do I stand on the subject of bounties? Well, I’m glad I never seriously injured anyone while playing (and vice versa) and I don’t want that sort of thing to happen to any player. But the NFL has promoted this type of culture for years and is now feigning horror. In reality, they have no choice about how to manage this problem.